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Fridge isn't cooling and has ice build-up. How do I fix it?

Hi,

We have a GE Monogram Refrigerator model ZFSB25DTG SS. Not sure how old it is, it came with the house and we moved in a few weeks ago.

The fridge initially wasn't getting below 45 degrees (set to 37) and the freezer was at about 5 (set to 0). After a few days I did some poking around and discovered a lot of ice completely clogging what I think are the evaporator coils at the bottom of the fridge (behind the fresh food drawers). There was also a small amount of ice built up on the back of the freezer, but I didn't dismantle anything in the freezer.

After unplugging the fridge and letting it defrost overnight the temperature was perfect (freezer and fridge) for nearly two weeks, but then jumped back up again, and of course the ice had returned. Defrosted it again (with a hair dryer this time) and it OK for now, but I obviously need a more permanent fix.

From what I've read it sounds like it's probably a problem with the defrost system, but I can't find any specific information for this model of fridge, so I'm not exactly sure how to proceed. Can anyone give me some direction?

Thanks,

Rob Wilson.

Edit:

Top freezer, bottom fridge (can't remove styrofoam due to ice, so can only see bottom two coils).

Fridge seems to be a lot more iced up than freezer if you can see all the white behind the two coils.

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I have removed the defrost heater and measured the impedance at 20 ohms.

I have checked the thermistors and heater in diagnostic mode and they all passed.

I have followed the instructions in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrSQz-5F...

to check

1. the defrost heater and defrost thermostat (checked OK ~20 ohms).

2. the evaporator thermistor (checked OK ~ 12kOhms)

Note I'm using an analog MM not a DMM, so my measurements aren't very precise, but I'm clearly not getting an open circuit.

At this point it seems I should probably replace the main board. Is there anything else I can check before I do that?

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I have similar issues and most of the blogs I've read state the first thing to do is make sure dust and pet hair aren't thickly covering the condenser coils at the back bottom of refrigerator. I have yet to purchase a condenser coil brush to do that, but you might want to read up on that solution. Sounded as if the questioner hadn't tried that. Defrosting worked for me, also for about 2 weeks.

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I have a Jenn-air Refrigerator in side the fringe is warm but the top is cold and ice build up on the back freezer

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Is the defrost timer working. Does it go in to defrost on it's own?

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all the components ckeckout o.k.still theevaporator freezes in a short time.not cooling enough

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I couldn't find anything wrong, and didn't want to go to the trouble and expense of replacing the main board when there was no direct evidence that there was a problem with it, so I called in a repair person.

He didn't initially know what the problem might be either, but he called the manufacturer (GE) and they suggested replacing two thermistors in the fridge (fresh food compartment). I was skeptical since I'd tested the thermistors and didn't see anything wrong, but told him to go ahead since there was no charge if it didn't work. It worked.

So, if any one else has this model of fridge - or any model where the fresh food compartment (fridge) has its own evaporator coils but not its own defrost heater, then my suggestions are a) don't go messing around in the freezer, that's not where the problem is, b) make sure the evaporator fan in the fresh food compartment is working c) replace all the thermistors in the fresh food compartment.

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in the picture you submitted is that what the coil looked like when you first removed the evap cover before doing anything else. if so you have an incomplete frost pattern which points to a refrigerant leak in the system. but without looking at it in person it is hard to determine. even with a leak you can still have a "functioning" refrigerator but the compressor will be running a lot longer in order to reach those temperatures. ge uses an adaptive defrost system (comp run time, door openings, evap/cabinet temp) to determine the length of defrost. but the defrost cycle is controlled by the evap thermistor which if it is out of spec can't properly defrost unit. they are cheap cut the wires and splice a new thermistor in.

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Most Helpful Answer

Defrost Heater Assembly

Mfg Part # WR51X10055

If the refrigerator is not defrosting the defrost heater assembly might be burned out. Several times a day the defrost heater assembly turns on for a few minutes to melt away any frost that may have accumulated on the freezer or refrigerator evaporator coils. If the defrost heater assembly has burned out, the frost will build up on the coils and eventually no air will be able to travel through the coils to provide cooling. The defrost heater can be checked for continuity. If it doesn't have continuity it should be replaced.

Main Control Board

If the refrigerator is not defrosting, the main control board might be defective. A few times a day the control board is supposed to turn off the cooling system and turn on the defrost heater to melt away any frost that may have accumulated on the freezer evaporator coils. If the control board is defective it could cause the system to never cycle into defrost.

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Thanks Mayer!

I found and tested the defrost heater - it measured about 2 ohms so I assume that means it's ok.

I've read elsewhere that a thermostat might be a problem in a case like this, is that possible also?

Are there any other tests / diagnostics I can do to narrow down the root cause?

By the way, it seems to me that a lot more ice is building up in the fridge than in the freezer, I don't know if that means anything. I tried to add a couple of photos to my original post - they're a bit small and I can't get the styrofoam off from around the fridge coils right now without breaking it because it's iced up, so those coils are hard to see.

Best Regards,

Rob Wilson

P.S. There's only one defrost heater in the freezer, right? Not a separate one in the fridge?

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If it's iced up, nothing is going to work correctly. Get a fresh start, unplug it and let the ice melt, then test.

http://www.repairclinic.com/PartDetail/b...

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I had let it defrost overnight, so I unplugged the defrost heater again this morning and tested continuity again and it still seems fine to me. I did mis-speak yesterday - the impedance is about 20 ohms, not 2 - I forgot about the x10 factor on the MM.

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OK, I tried some diagnostic codes I found for a different GE monogram model and tested the defrost heater. Heater came on and the frost that had built up on the freezer evap coils while I'd been standing there with the door open all melted away. This would seem to explain why I don't see much frost/ice on the freezer coils, only on the FF coils. Are the FF coils supposed to EVER have frost/ice on them? There's no defrost heater for that side, so I would guess not? I also ran the thermistor self-test and all passed. I have no idea where to go from here...

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Hi having the same problem ...any ideas how much it cost to fix

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I have a GE side by side model gss23wstass about 8 years old. The freezer temp started going up. I took off the back panel inside the freezer and noticed the defrost heater would go on but only melt the bottom part of the evaporator coils. I replaced the thermistor that clips on to the top tubing of the evaporator. I got it on ebay for about $7. It did the trick. It has been working great for the last couple weeks. Completely defrosts the evaporator. So if you have a partially melted evap. coil it could be due to the thermistor.

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I was having sort of similar issues with with my Whirlpool WRF989SDAM00. It's a French door fridge on top with the freezer on bottom. The issue I was having was the evaporator in the freezer was freezing up until the circulation fan blades were contacting the ice, making noise and not properly cooling the freezer. There was a visible amount of ice in the back of the freezer near the air circulation vents. I defrosted that thing twice until I called a service company. All the guy did was run a self diagnosis and program the fridge to increase the defrost time (and charged me $150). Within about 3 months, the thing froze up again. After that, I pulled the grate off of the back of the freezer, chipped the ice off of the evaporator (wear gloves, the fins on that thing are sharp!) and deduced that the humid climate I live in (Houston, TX) and the lower settings that I had programmed into the fridge were not compatible. I went back to the original factory settings. The factory settings on my fridge are 37degF (Fridge) and 0degF (Freezer) as you have posted. It may be worth increasing your settings a degree or two if you live in a humid part of the country. This may help the defroster keep up.

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Did did it work or are you still searching for an answer?

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I have a side by side top fridge with freezer bottom. The right hand side of the freezer is not defrosting. The left side works fine. It is a whirlpool. The drain tube has been cleaned & working. Why is one side of freezer not defrosting & other side is when both in same compartment?

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I have the exact same model with the same exact problem. Mine starts to make noise every 4-6 weeks. After the 4th manual defrost, I called a repair man from Whirlpool and he said it's the freezer door not sealing correctly but I cannot replace the seal and have to buy a new door for $800. I said I will buy a new fridge for that price. So I continue to defrost every 6 weeks until I am tired of it. I live in Virginia so it's humid in the summer. Will try increasing the temperature setting as suggested and see. I usually don't have much food in the freezer.

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A few weeks ago, I had a locally recommended repair company come out to take a look at the fridge. The issue is th bi-metal switch in the freezer. When this switch warms up, it kicks the fridge out of the defrost cycle and prevents the freezer from getting too warm and defrosting the food. The bi-metal switch in my fridge is opening at too low of a temperature, therefore the defrost cycle isn't on long enough to fully defrost which results in build up on the top side of the evaporator, furthest away from the heating element. The moisture was said to be coming from a poor door seal, however we were unable to identify where there was a gap in the seal. The crappy thing about the problem is that the bi-metal switch isn't adjustable and can't be ordered as an individual piece, only part of a full heating assembly. My temporary work around was to install a toggle switch in parallel with the bi-metal switch. This way I can let the fridge fully defrost over a week or two then flip the switch back.

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Norfolk, Virginia- my whirlpool has ice build up at the orifice that cool air flow from the freezer, this has prevented to cool the refrigerator. This happen 3 times already every time it's cold like 60 deg temp weather. 1st time: I defrosted it for 24 hours and clean evaporator coils under the unit and lasted for a year. 2nd time: defrosted, clean coils but defrosted for 8 hours only and lasted 2 months. Nov 2016- defrosting again, but will try to defrost it for 24 hrs.

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I'm having the problem with a Whirlpool Gold in the coils just behind the drawer that's for meats, poultry and drinks just above the lower freezer drawer, but in the main part of the fridge. I've tried clearing the drain with no luck. This time when I defrosted it, I notice that most of the fins on the coil were bent over. I straightened them with the hard part of a Q tip. I just restarted it. It takes about a week to ice up. I'll let you know if it helped.

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Having an appliance breakdown can be an extremely frustrating situation to find yourself in, particularly if it happens at an inconvenient time. It's probably fair to say that some appliances are not so sorely missed as others when they break down, this usually depends on how essential they are to your day-to-day routine. http://www.truerefrigerationparts.com/

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Well, I haven't had the issue again, but it's only been about 6 weeks since I last defrosted. Guess I'll have to wait and see.

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That particular fault could be a number of things such as faulty fan motor, defrost or thermal issue or even lack of refrigerant. contractor http://www.agsrefrigeration.co.uk. sent out by manufacturer solved a similar issue we were having with our american style refrigerator.

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I have also a related problem with our refrigerator.

Our refrigerator is a two door panel (Top part - freezer , bottom part - cooling part. I don't know how you call that bottom part)

Yesterday, our ref is going smooth and freezing/cooling is good. Then around late afternoon, the freezer (top part of ref) got like defrosted. The frost (i don't know what you call that thing) is melting slowly and there is build-up of water in the freezer but it is plugged and not in defrost that time.

Here are the things present before this problem came out:

a) Thermostat set on normal level

b) There is somehow a big build-up of frost in the bottom part

c) Few stored foods inside the refrigerator

If anyone know this, can you please lend me some help. I'm just worried that our will eventually broke if this problem continues. I don't know what is the cause and what to do with this. Responses is much appreciated. Thank you in advance!

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DEFROST TIMER ! I Have a Whirlpool (model # WRF560SMYB01) that's about 3 years old. French door refrigerator, bottom freezer. It started frosting up on the back panel of the freezer & icing up around the fan making a horrible noise, caused by the ice build up behind it. Took the fan cover off, defrosted it several times with a hair dryer, like every 2-4 days, than I created a system of my own with hot water & tubing which made it faster but didn't fix the problem.... Found the wiring diagram in the bottom part of the refrigerator rolled up in the back that actually has diagnostic instructions to test your compressor, your fans & your heaters to tell you if they are working properly. All controlled by the digital control panel in your refrigerator that allows you to increase or decrease your temperature in your freezer & your fridge, also tells you when to replace your filters & such.... After I found that & figured out the coding of it, I was able to manually defrost my freezer without pulling it out away from the wall & making a big mess with the water & tubing! I figured out it was my defrost timer because I could manually put it in defrost from the control panel in the refrigerator but it wouldn't go into defrost by itself. After that it was a matter of finding the defrost timer on the refrigerator, which I was unable to find anywhere online....So, That's why I'm here now to tell you that your Defrost timer is located in the back, bottom part of your refrigerator on the left hand side, in a white box attached to the side by a metal plate. Unscrew the metal plate pull out the entire box. (You can take the plate off , I did) There are 4 screws, remove the top of that box, inside there is a control board & it controls the defrost system, Which I just replaced & it took about 10minutes after I got the new control board. The problem would be to find a company that will sell you the control board without having any kind of license. We used to have a company called Johnstown? that would sell us parts but now for some reason, they will, but it's twice as expensive if you don't have a license. Found a place called Dey Distributors that will for a reasonable price, but not everyone has one in there area & not everyone knows or will tell you where to go, just because they want you to call a refrigerator repair company so they can charge you an arm & a leg. My Dad was in the Heating/ Cooling

business & I would never think to call someone without looking at it myself first. Unless your Refrigerator needs Freon you can do it yourself for under half of what those guys Charge! They will charge you 60$ just to walk in the door! If I helped just one person fix there refrigerator today that would be GREAT! I was ready to push mine out the door to the curb. Good Luck to all of you!

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Robert Wilson will be eternally grateful.
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