Question about GE Refrigerators

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Our side-by-side GE refrigerator is about eight years old, and on Monday, everything in the freezer was melting. Fortunately, we have a second ice box, and we transferred most of the food to it. We then set about to buy a new one, which because of our space restrictions, isn't easy. There is no ice, and the freezer is warm, but the cool side is still cooler than it should be after two days of no cooling. At first, I thought the problem was the compessor. Now I am not sure. The lights are on, establishing that there is power. Can you think of any problem besides the compressor to which this could be attributed? The ice box hasn't made a sound for three days.

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If you are not hearing the compressor cycle on and off in intervals and there is no air flow present inside the unit, this will confirm that there has been a severe malfunction within the units assembly. You will need to check the following areas for faults:

1. Compressor- Make sure this unit is functioning. if it is not cycling as designed, this will be the culprit. If it is cycling but very hot to the touch when operating, check the condenser coils for debris and clean them if necessary.

2. Compressor start relay - This is the main on/off switch that is attached to the side of the compressor. This relay, when energized by the main control board, starts the compressor. if the relay has failed, it will not start the compressor, thus, rendering the unit inoperable. Pull the relay off and shack it. If it rattles, replace it.

3. Evaporator fan - This is a very important part of the evaporator core. This is the principal air mover of the unit. If this fan fails, the inside freezer and refrigerator will not cool, at all. You will need to remove all the freezer shelves and content to access this unit. It is concealed behind a panel inside the back section of the freezer compartment. Once the concealment panel is removed, you will expose the core and fan. the fan can be tested with a multimeter for proper continuity. You can also jump the terminals with a jumper wire to see if it is still in working order. An external power source will be needed for this test. if the fan fails the test, replace the fan motor.

4. Condenser fan - This is also a very important fan. This fan is mounted near the condenser coils and can fail. You can test it in the same manner as the evaporator fan. replace the condenser fan if it proves to be damaged.

5. Main PCB(Printed Circuit Board)- This is basically your main power controller. This board routes power to all the fans and compressor unit located in the assembly. it also routes power to the lights and ice maker/dispenser, as well. This will be the most expensive repair, in this case. If all the above areas prove to be functional, the main PCB will be the culprit. You can easily locate this board. It is usually mounted on a bracket, near the compressor platform, or behind a concealment panel on the rear of the unit. Once you have gained access, visibly, inspect the board for burn markings at the relay mounts and jumpers. check the entire circuit board for discolorations like brown marks or black burn marks at the plug-in connectors. If this refrigerator is totally dead, this will be the cause.

6. Monitoring thermostats - These are located in each compartment. Replace each thermostat if all the other checkpoints prove to be ok and in good condition

7. Condenser coils- The condenser coils dissipate heat. If dust and debris accumulate around the coils, your refrigerator may not be able to cool properly, it may run continuously or it may stop completely as a result of an overheated compressor. You should clean rear-mounted coils once a year. Unplug the refrigerator before cleaning. Refrigerators are heavy, never tip one forward or backward. Never attempt to move a refrigerator without an assistant. Vacuum or brush the coils. If coils have a filmy build-up, use warm soapy water to clean them. Take care not to spill or drip water onto the components of the refrigerator.You should clean floor level coils at least twice a year. Unplug the refrigerator before cleaning. Vacuum or brush the coils. Remove the grill from the front of the refrigerator and use a vacuum with a wand attachment to remove any dust and debris. The grill should snap off and on. Pull firmly toward you and possibly upward to remove the grill. If it does not come off with a modest effort, check for screws or retaining clips that may hold it in place.

You will find the culprit in one or all of the areas stated above.

Posted on Aug 25, 2010

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