Question about Whirlpool GR9SHMXLB / GR9SHMXLL Top Freezer Refrigerator

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I have a Whirlpool Gold Series... Mod #GR9SHMXKQ00, S/N EL4824839 The freezer works fine, but builds up frost in the back blocking the downward flow to the refrigerator section. the doors seal fine and the light goes off. The fan in the back of the freezer is working. the back of the equipment is riveted except for the except for a small section at the bottom. Can you help?

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  • pab917 May 21, 2011

    I know I can defrost it, but what is making it not work???

  • pab917 May 21, 2011

    So do I have two thermostats? one for normal control and one for defrost?

  • pab917 May 21, 2011

    I have found the thermostat and timer...Now how do i test them?

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Hi pab917,

This problem is usually the result of a defrost problem. What is going on, and what is a defrost problem?

The coils inside the freezer are the only part inside the whole refrigerator that "get cold". They need to stay free from excess frost build up so that air can pass through the coils and reach the refrigerator section of your refrigerator. Every eight hours or so, depending on the type of defrost timer or control you have, the compressor and fans will shut off and the machine will go into defrost mode.

When the refrigerator is in defrost there is a heater that is tied into the evaporator coils inside the freezer that comes on. This heater is behind the rear panel inside the freezer where the evaporator coils are located. It melts the frost that has accumulated over the course of time. After about thirty minutes the machine comes out of defrost and goes back to normal operation.

The first thing you can do to get the machine running is to remove the rear panel of the freezer. From there you will want to remove all the frost and ice that has built up. Pouring hot water over the coils is the best method. The water will drain out of the freezer through the drain hole in the bottom of the freezer under the evaporator coils. Once all the frost is gone, you could put the machine back together and it would work fine.

Remember your safety, unplug your appliance or disconnect power to your unit before you begin any repairs.

Hope it helps.

Thank you for using FixYa.

Posted on May 21, 2011

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  • Reynaldo Labaguis Jr.
    Reynaldo Labaguis Jr. May 21, 2011

    Hi pab917,

    There are three components that you need to check.

    1. Defrost control or timer

    Some refrigerators have a defrost timer. This type works like a clock. Every eight hours or so the machine hits the defrost spot and that's when defrost occurs.

    Some refrigerators have an Adaptive Defrost Control. This is what makes a refrigerator energy efficient. It varies the length of time it takes the machine to go into defrost. So instead of the energy hogging heater coming on every eight hours, it may be 24 hours, 18 hours, 10.5 hours, who knows. It depends on how many times you have opened the doors, how long the compressor has run. This is good because the refrigerator may not need to go into defrost every eight hours.

    2. Defrost Thermostat

    This is the component that controls how long the heater stays on when the machine is in defrost mode. Say the defrost cycle is thirty minutes, the heater may only be on for ten of those thirty minutes on the timer controls. On Adaptive Defrost Controls, when the heater shuts off, shortly after the machine exits defrost mode. Basically if the heater only stays on for ten minutes, the whole defrost cycle will only be about 12 or 13 minutes long.

    Basically when the heater comes on, it starts to melt the frost on the evaporator. Once all the ice and frost is gone, the temperature behind the panel will start to rise. Once the temperature behind the panel rises to a certain temperature, the thermostat will break the current of electricity going to the heater. It shuts off and prevents your freezer from becoming a sauna, or an oven. I'm sure you get the drift. The heater is on the bottom of the evaporator coils and the defrost thermostat sits on top of the evaporator coils.

    3. Defrost Heater

    This is the last component in the defrost system. This one should be pretty simple. By now if you have read this far you should already know what this does and how important is it. Some defrost heaters are a coil of wire in a glass tube under the evaporator coils. Works like a light bulb basically. The other style looks like the bake element in your stove. They both get red hot either way and melt the frost.

    Hope it helps.

    Thank you for using FixYa.

  • Reynaldo Labaguis Jr.
    Reynaldo Labaguis Jr. May 21, 2011

    The unit has only one thermostat.

  • Reynaldo Labaguis Jr.
    Reynaldo Labaguis Jr. May 21, 2011

    Here's how to test the Defrost Thermostat and Timer.

    The thermostat is connected by two wires. The wires are connected with slip on connectors or a wiring harness. Firmly pull the connectors or harness off of the terminals (do not pull on the wire). You may need to use a pair of needle-nose pliers to remove the connectors. Inspect the connectors and the terminals for corrosion. If the connectors are corroded they should be replaced.

    Test the thermostat for continuity using a multitester. Set the multitester to the ohms setting X1. Place a probe on each terminal. The multitester should display a reading of zero when the thermostat is cold and a reading of infinity when it is warm (40 to 90 degrees F depending on the model). If the thermostat does not pass this test it should be replaced.

    Test the timer for continuity using a multitester. Set the multitester to the ohms setting X1. The timer has four terminals. Locate the common terminal, it should be labeled "3" or "C". If the terminals are not labeled, determine which terminal coincides with the white wire in the connector plug.

    Once you have located the common terminal, touch one probe to it. Touch the other probe to each of the three remaining terminals. The multitester should display a reading of zero or near to zero ohms (which indicates continuity) for one pair of the terminals and possibly two pairs. The third pair of terminals should show no continuity (infinity).

    Locate the timer switch and turn it clockwise until you hear it click. Now retest the timer as you did above. One pair of terminals should indicate continuity (possibly two pairs). At least one pair should give a reading of infinity. Note however, one of the pairs that showed continuity in the first test should now read infinity and one pair that read infinity should now show continuity. If the defrost timer does not pass these tests, it is likely that it should be replaced.

    Hope it helps.

    Thank you for using FixYa.

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