Severe Ice Build Up, But Freezer Temperature Inadequate

ApplianceGeneral Electric Refrigerator


Level of DifficultyReally easy

Time to do repair30 - 60 mins

Age of ApplianceMore than 10 years

Tools Nutdriver
Screw drivers

Randall From Ashburn, VA

Feb 07, 2009

2 out of 2 people found this instruction helpful

I followed the troubleshooting instructions for freezers with ice build-up. First defrost the freezer. This makes a huge mess. The tray for water buildup is very small. I suggest covering the hole so no water gets to the tray and collecting the water as it melts in the freezer. (DO NOT pry the ice off with a knife. I did that when I was 14 and punctured the freon lines.) After the ice was gone inside the freezer, I removed the back panel of the freezer (a pair of 5/16" nuts on the bottom and a pair of #2 phillips screws at the top). The panel will then just pull straight out. Make sure the ice has melted from behind the panel as well before testing any of the components.

First component to check is the defrost timer. Pretty straight forward, using the instructions on the PartSelect home page and a multi-meter (looking for continuity or the lack there of). You need to remove it and check it out of the fridge. In my case the defrost timer worked correctly (bummer since it was much cheaper than the defrost heater kit). Next step was to test the Defrost Heater. I used a common since approach which was not mentioned in the instructions. I manually turned the defrost timer until it clicked. Then I put my hand next to the glass tubes that incased the heater elements. They did not get hot. I then turned the defrost timer until it clicked again. Again, the heater elements did not get hot. Since there are only two setting on the timer, it means the defrost heater was broken. If you can hear the refrigerator/freezer running, then you are not in defrost mode. Turn the thermostat for another click. All noise will stop...and heat should be found at the tubes (behind 6" thin tin covers), if they are functioning.

Removing the defrost heaters and thermostat was simple. There are four #2 screws (2 on each assembly). The thermostat is just clipped on. It is impossible to put the defrost heater assembly in wrong. Put the panel back on and your ready to go. The 30-60 minutes is not repair time but de-ice and repair time. I used a space heater to speed up the de-ice process.

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Diagrams and Parts List for this repair

Part PhotoPart DescriptionPriceAvailability

Defrost Heater with Thermostat

Part Number: PS303933

In Stock