Question about GE GSS20IEP Side by Side Refrigerator

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Red glow (from defrost heater?) at bottom of rear panel in freezer

I saw a red glow at the bottom rear panel of freezer portion of GE side by side refrigerator. It was the sound of the water dripping and hitting the heat coil? that drew my attention..then I saw the red glow and felt the heat. Not knowing anything, I unplugged the refrigerator and removed all contents. Now what? Is this actually part of the auto defrost cycle that I just happened to witness for the first time, or is this an issue? 12 year old GE TPH21PR Profile if I read the number correctly.

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  • mekjdk Aug 18, 2008

    Same thing tonight - not sure how old our refrigerator is but saw a red glowing light in the bottom of our freezer of our GE side by side...what is it???

  • Papjm7 Jan 08, 2009

    I opened my freezer and heard a sizzling sound in the back so I looked in the back and saw a red glowing light in the back by the rear panels. Is this normal and is it ok to leave it pluged in?

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1 Answer

This is from the GE Appliance "Knowledge Database" Web site:

Refrigerator - Explanation Of Red Glow

In a no frost refrigerator, the defrost timer activates defrost heaters in the evaporator section (rear of freezer) which heat up and melt the frost off the evaporator coils. This process lasts for approximately 25-45 minutes and usually happens up to twice a day.

During this time, there will be no running sounds, no fan noise, and you may hear water dripping or sizzling as it hits the heaters. On side by side models, you may even be able to see an orange glow at the bottom of the freezer.

This is normal.

Posted on Sep 10, 2008

  • 3 more comments 
  • gina_brogan
    gina_brogan Jan 24, 2012

    Thanks so much for posting this... You solved our mystery..lol

  • gina_brogan
    gina_brogan Jan 24, 2012

    Thanks so much for posting this... You solved our mystery..lol

  • Christine Sep 13, 2012

    We smelt a burning smell and went in the freezer to investigate. There was a red glow in the bottome and water dripping.After reading this i have learned that this is the defrost process happening. But my question is....what is the burning smell?

  • court Jul 08, 2013

    ty!! i was worried my freeer was going to catch on fire lol. ty for the helpful info

  • serinastewar Apr 22, 2014

    after the defroft (red glow in bottom of fridge and water that has been leaking on and off for almost a year this time as said i seen the red glow and smelled the burning did not unplugg my fridge but in is warm now actually was getting hot so unplugged it today ..Should i just buy a new one or have someone out does anyone know ?Don't want to pay someone to tell me it's poched then buy another one.thanks.

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