Freezer working fresh food refrigerator not cooling. Fresh food section running around 50 degrees. Freezer compartment back wall covered in ice. Behind the freezer back wall the coil was completely frozen with ice.

ApplianceKenmore Refrigerator


Level of DifficultyEasy

Time to do repair15 - 30 mins

Age of ApplianceMore than 10 years

Tools Nutdriver
Screw drivers

Cheryl From Tulsa, OK

Jul 16, 2012

I am a 57 year old woman that is handy with tools. After reading other stories on this site I ordered the 3 parts most likely to be the problem. Defrost timer, Defrost Heater Kit and Defrost Thermostat. Turns out the heater kit included the thermostat so I ordered an extra thermostat part by accident. Got the parts in 2 days. To repair I first unplugged the refrigerator. Then I removed the inside back cover of freezer wall by removing 4 screws. I placed a couple of heavy towels in the bottom of the freezer to soak up melting ice. Set a fan in the open freezer door to blow hot air into the freezer to melt the ice on the coil. While waiting for the ice to melt I decided to go ahead and replace the defrost timer. It is located in the top of the fresh food side of the refrigerator behind the plastic cover to the light and damper door to the freezer. You need a long stemmed nut driver to easily get the screws off and back on although I was able to do it using just a magnetized nut holder and finger tightening the screw before using a regular screw driver. Remove the light bulb. The plastic cover will not come off before you remove the knob covers for the freezer and refrigerator temperature control sliders. They just push on and pull off the control levers. Remove the top screw holding on the plastic frame. There is a foam gasket on the plastic frame on the opening to the freezer be careful not to damage or lose it. Remove the 3 wires from the old timer - and place them on the new timer one by one to be sure they are correctly connected. Remove the 2 screws holding the old timer onto the plastic frame then replace the old timer with the new and screw the 2 screws back in to hold the new timer. Carefully slide the foam gasket back onto the freezer opening in the frame and position the frame back onto the refrigerator wall. Replace the one screw holding the frame on the wall. Before replacing the cover put a screw driver in the slot on the new timer and turn the screw a quarter turn - if you do not do this the compressor and fans will not start again when you plug the refrigerator back in. Put a new light bulb in the frame. Replace the plastic cover by gently hooking it over the top of the frame. Replace the temperature slider knobs. All of this took about 10 minutes. So, my coil had not completely defrosted yet so I went to lunch for an hour or more. When I came home the coil was free from ice. I unscrewed the 4 screws holding the 2 defroster heaters in place - replaced them with the 2 new heater defrosters carefully put the wiring harness in place making sure I would not pinch the wires when I replaced the back cover. I plugged the new heaters in and snapped the thermostat back onto the coil where the old one had been. Viola. I replaced the back cover with 4 screws and put the shelves back in (the cover has to be in place before the frig will work again so the fans push the cold air into the refrigerator). It has been a week and the refrigerator is working like new! I set the temperature sliders back to the center settings to begin with - labeled initial setting. The bottom heater element was completely burned and the glass was charred so I am sure it was the problem - but I replaced the thermosts and time anyway - spent $100 on parts for what Sears wanted $125 to come out to look at... I am happy! Anyone need a thermostat I have an extra? Total repair time 25 minutes - wait 2 hours for coil ice to melt.

Help other customers find the most helpful instructions.

Were these instructions helpful?

Diagrams and Parts List for this repair

Part PhotoPart DescriptionPriceAvailability

Defrost Thermostat

Part Number: PS303471

In Stock

Defrost Heater with Thermostat

Part Number: PS303933

In Stock

Defrost Timer

Part Number: PS310858

In Stock