ApplianceGeneral Electric Refrigerator
Level of DifficultyEasy
Time to do repair15 - 30 mins
Age of Appliance1 - 4 years
The freezer in my side-by-side kept warming up -- often 20 degrees or more, which of course caused the fresh food side to warm up also. I do a lot of jump-in-with-both-feet home repairs, but never on a large appliance. Not having an ohmmeter, which cost about $100 for a reliable one, I took the symptoms to the internet. Countless self-help sites and U-Tube videos later, I was positive it was one of two possible problems, either the defrost thermostat was broken and the defroster wasn't coming out of its cycle or the temperature sensor wasn't reading the correct temp and thus kicking in the fan motor when needed. Fortunately I found both parts easily on PartSelect.com and the total cost for both, including shipping, was $30, less than 1/3 of the cost of an ohmmeter. Not knowing for sure which part it was that was bad, I ordered both, figuring, since I had to pull out the panel anyway, I might just as well replace them both ... the price was right. (In retrospect I should have order 4 Temperature Sensors as my fridge has two in both the freezer side and the Fresh Food side. Any one of them being bad could have caused the same problem. Fortunately, I was lucky because it was either ONLY the Defrost Thermostat or I just happened to pick the right Sensor, but the repair worked.)
The repair was easy: Unplug the power. A Nut Driver removed the four screws holding on the panel in the back of the freezer. A screw driver removes the one screw holding the lamp cover in place. Remove the light bulbs, pull off the panel and right above the freezer coils you'll see both parts -- plain as day. (If your coils are clogged with ice, you will probably need de-ice first.) Cut the wires to both parts as close to the parts as you can to leave as much wire exposed as possible. Strip the ends of all four wires about 1/2 inch and also on the new parts. Match up the wires in the fridge to the wires on the parts and twist the ends together (Note: both wires on the Sensor are white so they match up either way, but the two wire on the thermostat will need to match up orange to orange and pink to pink.) I used silicone filled wire nuts, which you can buy at any hardware store or use your own wing nuts and fill them with silicone or shoe goo which works just as well ... anything to keep the moisture out and prevent the wires ends from corroding. Tuck the wires up and replace the panel, light bulbs and light cover That's it. Very easy. By far the hardest part was wedging my wide body into the narrow freezer compartment. Some one-handed work added a little extra time to the project.
In my case the freezer fan didn't kick in for about twenty minutes after I plugged it back in, but I assume that it either begins in the defrost mode or it takes that long for it to reset itself ... either way the repair worked great.