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Power went out for a couple of hours yesterday and when it came back on the fridge was totally defrosted and now the fridge won't get cold at all

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If it doesn't fix itself in a couple of hours, the defrost timer may be stuck on (defrost) can you give it a partial turn? (located at bottom of fridge near floor, has about 5 wires - size of pack of cigarettes. Let me know?

Posted on Apr 21, 2008

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If both section are not working as required then its compressor fault.The noise you noticed must be from compressor related parts,that are fan,the motor and relay.But If freezer is getting over cold and friezed and fridge section not getting cold then Its defrost problem. Try manual defrost by unplugging the refrigerator from main power outlet for 4 hours then reconnect it and check, if the same problem is noticed again,. If yes then its defrost board problem. The defrost board located in the back of fridge section. You can get required parts from www.repairclinic.com or from online sears part site. ------------- Thank you.

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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.

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if you try to fix it yourself the warranty will be void ...it may be in defrost..let it run a couple hours if it doesn't start the timer is probably bad.....take the fridge back or get it fixed on warranty

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Here's what I did, I defrosted! I found out that the fridge temp is monitored and maintained by the freezer. Because we had a power outage one night, my freezer thawed while we all slept and then when power came back on, freezer re-froze but this cause an ice build up on the vent on the back wall of the freezer. Well, ice must have been in one (or more) vents, causing blocked air flow in my top half of the refrigerator. I turned the dial in the freezer to "off" which also shuts down power to the fridge half. I then unplugged the refrigerator, hauled all my food items into coolers, opened the freezer door and refrigerator doors and left them open for a little over six hours. I took advantage of this empty fridge and freezer and wiped everything down. After this time frame passed, I plugged the fridge back in, turned the freezer dial to my preferred freezer temp, and wah-lah! Within two hours I had a cold fridge and solid ice cubes in the freezer. I then put all my food items back into their appropriate compartments, and went to work. Bear in mind, a total 24-hour period is needed for the fridge to re-set itself, but still, after two hours the fridge was noticeably cold. Who knew, besides our parents' generation: DEFROST!

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Fridge is warm, freezer is cold!


The defrost cycle is not happening like it should, that's what causes the block of ice (and poor air flow). If you have all that defrosted look at the defrost bi-metal, it usually is a small round disk with a couple wires coming out of it and it's clipped on the coils. When it's cold enough, it passes electricity to the heat elements, when it gets hot enough it "opens" and kills power to the heat elements. If that is bad (swollen cracked or bloated) and not passing electricity to the elements that's the problem. Another item would be the defrost timer itself, if it doesn't work (no clock motor turning) then it will never go into defrost. And the last and usually least expected failure would be the heat element themselves no working. Good job trouble shooting!

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