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How to inspect side-b-side freezer ther-stat and tell if bad.

I am cleaning condenser coils, freezer has frost on inside back wall and am going to check thermostat and defrost switch. How can I tell by looking at them
(one of the answers on here said it would be obvious with the thermostat) and tell that they are bad? Does the switch require a tester? or is it one of the things you change because the other parts checked OK? I have background in troubleshooting handheld calculators to component level.
Talk technically as you want and I'll ask questions about the part that's over my head. ;o)

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Good day,
Looking at the defrost thermostat is a waste. It's true the disk will sometimes show a bulge, but not always. It's test is to be in an environment where the temperature is 0 to 30 degrees and have been there for at least a half hour. Then a continuity test with a VOM meter should show zero ohms. No resistance.

If by defrost switch, you mean timer, the basic test is to advance it until the machine shuts off. With the machine left turned on, the machine (if the timer is good) will turn itself back on in no more than 35 minutes. If not, it's bad and needs replaced.

In the real world of appliance repair, it's done the other way around.
First test the main heater with the ohm meter. It should read 35 ohms or less. If it looks good, and tests good, then replace the defrost tstat and timer and call it duty.

Here's an excellent tutorial on defrost systems.

Posted on Apr 22, 2010

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Freezer side not freezing

Check for ice / frosting inside the freezer .... If present you probably have a defrost problem.... This causes the freezer coil to ice up and block the air flow ... the causes could be a bad defrost heater , defrost timer, defrost sensors, or control board. Also make sure that the condenser coil is clean. remove ALL dust with a vacuum and a coil brush .the coil is located either on the bottom or on the back side of the unit... You didn't give the Make and model #

Apr 04, 2014 | Freezers

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My freezer is cold, ice is not melting but "shiney." The rest of the food is cold but thawed. The fridge side seems to be pretty cold. There is frost all up and down the inside back wall of the...

if there's ice on the back inside wall of the freezer you have a defrost problem.bad timer or board depending on the model number and brand name,bad defrost thermostat or have to pull the back inside wall out,melt all the ice on the coil and anywhere else you see it,then see what part is bad,most common is the thermostat,you can unplug the machine,cut the two wires going to the t-stat,wire nut them together so you bypass the t-stat ,plug it back in and put the machine into defrost,if it doesn't have a timer find the tech sheet usually behind the bottom kickplate,it will tell you how to put the machine into defrost,if the heater comes on the t-stat was bad,it's a good idea to change the t-stat out while you're in there anyway so don't be affraid to cut it out and bypass it,you can look at it too,if it has a clear plastic cover on it and it's popped up on one side you can tell it's bad,if the heater doesn't come on,unplug it,remove the heater and check it with a meter,if it's a glass heater you can look at it,if it's all black inside it's no good but you still might get a good reading with the meter,or first check to see if any power is coming to the thermostat wires that you cut,if power is coming there then most likely the heater will be bad because power goes to the t-stat and then to the heater,if no power is coming to the wires then you have a bad board or timer or a loose wire somewhere but that happens rarely,but that's about it,

May 13, 2011 | Refrigerators

1 Answer

Nine y/o GE side by side not getting cold enough

More likely a defrost heater. Look inside the freezer at the back wall. Any frost there? If so, turn off refrig., unload freezer, take back panel off inside freezer, and use a hair dryer to melt off the frost. Replace the defrost heater located at the bottom of the frosted coils. (New heater may appear different than original, but instructions are included) If you don't have the defrost heater on hand, just manually defrosting the coils and re-starting the refrig will get is cooling again for at least a week before problem will re-occur. (this give you enough time to get the replacement part)

Mar 21, 2010 | Refrigerators

1 Answer

Refrig not getting cold ......frigidaire side by side........6yrs old.....freezer temp is fine.......vacuumed coils and rear of fridge...cleared of all collected dust

when you open the freezer door do you hear the fan blowing,could have a bad evap fan motor,also remove the second bin from the bottom and touch the back wall,if there's snow or frost there you have a defrost problem,could have a bad adaptive defrost board in the fridge section or a bad heater,defrost thermostat,take off the back wall inside the freezer,melt out all the ice with hair dryer,check the heater with a meter and t-stat,you should change out the thermostat anyway,you can cut the wires close to the t-stat,connect the wires so you bypass the t-stat,if the heater doesn't come on change out the adaptive defrost board,i think you click the lite switches 5 times to make it go into defrost,if it doesn't it's probably the board,look at the tech sheet behind the bottom kick plate,hope this helps

Mar 20, 2010 | Frigidaire FRS26H5AS Side by Side...

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Refrigerator side of this side by side is not getting cold enough

The frost is on the back wall of the freezer causing poor air flow to the rest of the unit. If you remove the back wall inside the freezer you will find the ice burg that sank the titanic. Using a hair dryer you will need to defrost all of the ice off the evaporator coils. There are 3 things that will cause this, Defrost timer, defrost t-stat or the defrost heater. Usually it is t-stat or heater. Good luck and hope this helps.

Mar 19, 2010 | Kenmore 50522 / 50524 Side by Side...

1 Answer


If the freezer is getting a lot of frost on the back wall you have a defrost problem going on. This will be 1 of 3 things. The defrost timer, the defrost t-stat which is attached to the evaporator coils, or the defrost heater. To remove all ice from coils you will need to remove inside back panel of freezer and gain access to the coils. Then using a hair dryer you will need to melt all ice off of the coils. Usually the problem is the defrost t-stat. a round disc like item with 2 wires going to it attached to the evaporator coils. Good luck and thanks, Rick

Feb 28, 2010 | Hoover Refrigerators

1 Answer

I have a Frigidaire side-by-side refrigerator model FRS26ZNHB1. The blower is running continuously and the temperature in the freezer is not as cold as it should be. (Ice cream is soft - things are...

bad door seals, frosted up coils, low refrigerant, dirty/clogged condenser coils (under fridge), bad condenser fan. check the fan in the back. clean out the coils with a vacuum under the fridge. see if there is frost on the back wall of the freezer. if there is, you'll have to remove the back wall and defrost the coils with a hair dryer. check the door seals for leaks. replace if necessary. if all is well and still warm, you have a freon leak. call in the pros.

Nov 13, 2009 | Refrigerators

1 Answer

Freezer no longer freezing and refrigerator is not cold enough either.

  1. check if the evaporator fan motor is running (inside the freezer)
  2. Same for the condenser fan motor on the bottom in the back of the fridge
  3. Clean condenser coils underneath or in the back of the fridge
  4. if there is a frost on the back wall in freezer - you've got the defrost problem, check defrost heater, defrost bimetal thermostat, and defrost timer

Oct 14, 2009 | GE (PSS26MSRSS) Side by Side Refrigerator

1 Answer

Cleaned the coils but freezer not freezing and inside not getting cold what is wrong

5 reasons for fridge and/or freezer getting warm: 1- the evaporator coils are icing up and won?t let air circulate. 2- the evaporator fan is not working to circulate air. 3- there is no refrigerant in the system. 4- no power to fridge or compressor. 5- the condenser coils have no air circulation check under the fridge behind the vent. if it is too dusty or the fan isn?t working, it is not getting enough airflow to cool down. replace fan and/or vacuum out the dust. if there is no power to the fridge, the light will be off. if the compressor is not running, there is a defrost timer that cuts the power temporarily to the compressor to melt ice on the coils. it?s located under the fridge behind the bottom vent. If the timer is off and the compressor is not going, the compressor or the main board is bad and needs replacing. there is also a temperature sensor on the evaporator coils that tells the defrost coil to turn on and when to turn off. if the defrost timer is on but the coil is not heating up, replace the sensor. if it still won?t heat up, it?s the timer or the coil. the easiest way to tell if there is no refrigerant- the freezer wall is warm and the compressor is loud. if there is no refrigerant, it may be more cost effective to replace the fridge. if you feel no air coming from the freezer vent, the fan needs replacing. If you feel air moving in the freezer but not the fridge, the channel from freezer to fridge is blocked. if the freezer has air and the rear freezer wall has frost on it, the evaporator coils are iced up and need defrosting. causes: 1. low refrigerant 2. no fan 3. too much humid air in fridge/freezer due to door open or bad door seals 4. the condensate drain tube is clogged 5. defrost cycle not functioning properly if the seal around the door is ripped or not completely sealing, or there is condensation at the bottom or the walls of the fridge, replace the seal(s). no air, no fan. Replace if the refrigerant is low, it just needs a top off. but you need to be certified by the epa to move refrigerant, so get a professional. there defrost cycle starts with the timer. at a certain time of day for a specific time, the timer turns the compressor off and turns on the heater element located at the bottom of the evaporator coil. this stays on until the coil temp sensor reaches a certain temperature to let the timer know that the coils are defrosted and turns off the power to the element. the defrosted water drains to the condensate pan. if the timer is bad, it will never go into defrost, or never get out of it. if the element is bad, the coils will never defrost. if the temp sensor is bad, it?ll go into defrost, but it will either tell the timer that it?s always frozen or already defrosted, resulting in the element never turning on (stays frosted) or never turning off (eventually burning out the element). defrost solutions: unplug the fridge. remove the wall of the freezer that is frosted/icing up. use a hair dryer to melt the ice. do not get too close. you will see a drain under the evaporator coil. make sure it is not blocked. the water should run freely to a condensate pan under the fridge that evaporates the condensation with the hot line from the compressor. once the coil is free of ice, frost, and water, replace the panel and repair any of the problems that caused the icing up. plug the fridge in and turn it on. If it frosts up within a week, there is still an issue that not been taken care of.

Sep 03, 2009 | GE (PSS26MSRSS) Side by Side Refrigerator

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Refrigerator is barley cold, still makes ice, condensation inside of frostless freezer

Hi: The fact that it still makes ice tells me the freezer is a zero degrees. When you said condensation in the freezer did you mean frost? If your defrost heater fails it will cause the frost free freezer to build up frost. The frost will build up and block the vent that supplies the cold air to the fresh food. The defrost heater is behind the metal wall at the back of the freezer, at the very bottom. A glass tube with a metal coil in it. The coil can break and stop the defrosting. Replace that. Use a hair dryer to melt the frost from behind the panel. All of it top to bottom. You need to remove all the frost to free up the airways. I hope this helps, Jeff

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