Question about Kenmore 20.6 cu. ft. Top Freezer Refrigerator

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Coils in frezer keep frezing up - Kenmore 20.6 cu. ft. Top Freezer Refrigerator

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  • Mark Egan May 11, 2010

    You either have a bad defrost heater, defrost temperature sensor, or defrost timer. It depends on the Model of refrigerator. Will need a Model number to confirm what to look for, and where it can be found.



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Good day,
The reason for this conditi0on is the defrost system has failed.
It is made up of 3 components,
The main heater, a calrod unit mounted under the evaporator coil, a defrost thermostat, which is a small round disk, mounted on the top of the evaporator.
The third is the timer, either mechanical, or adaptive(electronic) which is mounted in the roof of the fresh food compartment.

The main heater can be tested for continuity with an ohm meter, as can the defrost thermostat. The defrost thermostat must be tested before it reaches 50 degrees since it may open above that and give you a false reading.
The timer, if it's mechanical has a slot in the housing where it's mounted. To test, with a small screw driver, until the machine turns off. Wait 35 minutes. If it turns itself back on, then it is good.
If not, it must be replaced.

To test the adaptive (solid state) timer, the test is different.
There will no slot for advancing it.
With the machine running, unplug it from the wall. Turn the thermostat completely off. Wait in excess of 30 seconds, and then plug the machine back in. It will defrost the coils if it is working.
Caution: this will not work, if the defrost thermostat is bad.

Below is a good explanation with pictures to help you out.

Posted on Dec 09, 2009

  • John Hall Dec 09, 2009

    Hello again,

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Normal 0 MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} The evaporator coil behind the cover on the back wall inside the freezer will ice up under normal conditions. Every 8 to 10 hours for around 20 minutes the defrost timer (or in most newer models the electronic adaptive defrost control) will turn the defrost heater on to melt the built up ice. There is a defrost thermostat which prevents the heater from overheating the freezer by breaking the heater circuit when the temp reaches close to 32 degrees F. The entire cooling system shuts off during the defrost cycle and starts back when the timer advances through the cycle.

If this ice is not melted it will continue to build up until the air can’t flow over the coil to circulate the cold air through the freezer and into the fridge. The temperature change in the fridge is usually noticed first followed by the freezer.

If the defrost thermostat is bad it can prevent the heater from coming on OR it won’t turn the heater off when it gets too warm. It is clamped to the evaporator coil at the top to sense the temp. If it appears to be misshapen it is bad.
With an ohm meter it should show continuity when cold and none when warm.
You can also bypass the thermostat to see if the heater comes on then. If it does then you know the thermostat is bad and needs replaced.

The defrost heater is located on the evaporator. It is in a tube which is at the bottom and can also go up the sides of the evaporator. On some types you can see a burnt spot if it’s bad. With an ohm meter it should show continuity from end to end when disconnected from the wiring in the freezer. You can also test the wiring for voltage when it’s in the defrost mode.

If you have a defrost timer you can test it. It can be located under the fridge behind the kick panel on the front. Some are in the fridge with the controls at the top. You can turn the defrost timer till it clicks and everything shuts down. The heater should now come on. If it does, replace the timer because that means the timer is not running. If it doesn't, check the heater and defrost thermostat. Turn the timer again till everything starts back up to end the defrost cycle.

If you have an adaptive defrost control instead of a timer, replace it if the heater and thermostat test good. It is located in the fridge with the controls in some models and on the back in others.

Posted on Dec 09, 2009


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stuck defrost timer/ thermostat. id go with both stuck because I'm looking at a diagram of your fridge now and there wired together.

i'd recommend changing both of them.

hope to be of any assistance.

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