Freezer coils get covered in ice about once a month
About once a month I notice my refrigerator start to run constantly. I notice that the cool air is not making it to the refrigerator. When I remove the back panel in the freezer, the coils are covered in ice. It seems like the freezer is not going through its normal defrost cycle. Model # FRT18G5AW
What is going on?
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You probably have one compressor that cools the freezer section and the refrigerator section. Usually the freezer gets cooled directly with the cooling coils. A fan blows cool air to the refrigerator section. The air flow to the refrigerator may be modulated with some time of "air door". What you have written says to me, is that the fans and air doors are working but there is enough cold for the refrigerator but not enough for the freezer.
Here is what I would do:
Put a thermometer in the refrigerator and in the freezer.
Be sure the coils underneath or behind the refrigerator are clean. If they are very dirty, clean them.
Keep the doors shut for at least 12 hours and then read the thermometers and write down the temperatures.
If the freezer has started freezing again, you fixed it by cleaning the coils
.If the freezer temperature is between 0 deg F and 32 deg F, consider putting the food in a cooler and packing in some dry ice to try and save it.
If the freezer is warmer than 32 deg f, throw away the food.
Doctors and hospitals are pretty expensive. I would throw away the food no matter what the thermometer read.
Look inside the freezer at the cooling coils. See if they are ice coated or not.
If the freezer is above 0 deg F, and the coils are ice covered, the defrost control is not working. Unplug the refrigerator for 12 hours and let the ice melt. (Keep the doors shut.) Then, plug in the refrigerator for 12 hours and check the temperature like in step 3.
If the freezer is above 0 deg F, and the coils are NOT ice covered, the compressor is not working.
Call the service technician. When she comes out show her the temperatures and tell her what you found out about the ice on the coils.
There is a fan that blows air past the coils in the freezer. Either the fan is not working or the coils are blocked with ice. Sometime ice stops the fan from turning. listen for the fan spinning by turning the thermostat down. Defrost the coils and fan and see if the frig returns to normal. Sometimes the drain tube is clogged causing ice buildup.
the evaporator coil is frozen over and cant release cold air due to this,defrost the unit remove rear panel inside freezer and troubleshoot the defrost heater and thermostat and also make sure the fan near this coil is running, on the evaporator coil as,you cant blow cold air thru a coil covered by ice
Many times a freezer and/or refrigerator do not work right because of
a dirty condenser coil...there are also many other things that can go
you are hearing a clicking or buzzing then check out the last two
If your refrigerator is running but warm, then...
out these tips that I wrote about that... it is a great place to
start trouble shooting your unit...and something that you can do
rather then calling a repair person to do a simple thing for
The refrigerator compartment is cooled by the cold air from the freezer. This air is blown in through a vent between the freezer and refrigerator compartment by the evaporator coil fan in the freezer. If the vent is blocked or the fan is not working would be the reason that the freezer is cooling but the refrigerator is hot.
To troubleshoot, you must remove the panel that covers the evaporator coil in the freezer. You will need to remove the contents of the lower section of the freezer to get access to the panel near the bottom of the freezer. Once the panel is removed, you should be able to confirm whether the fan is spining. If it does not turn and it is plugged in and the refrigerator is not in defrost mode, then the problem is with the fan motor.
If the fan is spinning but you notice ice buildup on the coil, the problem is with the defrost circuit. Typically the failures are with the defrost timer not functioning or that the defrost heater has failed. Hope this helps you.
This has happened in my GE side-by-side (model GSS20IEMDWW). For me,
the problem was caused by a faulty temp sensor in the fresh food side.
That sensor never signalled the computer that the temp in the fresh food side was cool enough, so the compressor ran constantly.
the compressor was running constantly, the evaporator coils (back wall
of the freezer compartment) eventually iced over (took about a week).
Since the fan that draws air over the evaporator coils could no longer
move any air (due to the icing), the temperature in the fresh food side
continued to climb. (The fresh food side is chilled through a hole with
a motorized door at the top of the dividing wall, so if no air is
moving in the freezer compartment, temps in the fresh food compartment
I replaced the temp sensor in the fresh food side and
solved the problem for a while. About six months later I had the same
problem again, so I replaced both temp sensors in the freezer
compartment - which solved the problem again. (My fridge is about seven years old.)
you are going to replace any of the temp sensors, replace them all
under the principle of "if one failed, the rest will soon fail too".
most fridges have a evaporator dish or container. it must be emptied ...and cleaned and disinfected.
now-a -days they are usually mated with the compressor and cool this unit down. notice there is no coil along the back of the fridge...it is usiually behind the fridge at the bottom with a cardboard or plastic access cover... this will make the unit cool better and return the cooling to normal.... \next clean out your freezer...i bet it's full of 4 month old packs of something you'll never eat....this will let the freezer breathe and circulate air to the coil ...i bet it has 3 in of ice on it...yikes...your not alone...most people do this...\ get a freezer if your getting ready for the apocalypse and liberate some room. good luck
Generally, icing is the result of too much water vapor inside the unit, blockage of the circulation channels and too much packing in of the box. The water vapor is generally caused by: uncapped items in the fridge, opening the door too often, humid conditions, bad door seals. There is of course, there is a possibility that the defrost cycle on the unit is not working. About once a day, depending on the brand, you should notice that the fans and compressor don't run and you should hear a bit of creaking, sloshing or other strange noises as the ice melts. If this is not happening, your defrost timer or the coil it heats could be bad.
It was determined to be a malfunctioning defrost timer. The freezer box bottom was removed (not an easy thing to do) and the coils found to be a solid block of ice. The timer would not start the defrost heater, hence the freeze up. The timer was replaced and the chill box is back in action.