Repair and disassembly guides for food cooling appliances including refrigerators, freezers and fridge-freezers.

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GE refrigerator PGCS1RKZASS getting warm intermittently

Our refrigerator is getting warm intermittently. Fridge gets warm and freezer mostly seems to stay working, although has warmed a little a couple times but we have not had to pull the food out of it yet (can’t keep perishable food in the fridge. The compressor seems to be working, as well as the fan that blows on it (fast enough that can’t really see the blades). The fan in the back middle of the freezer seems to be spinning well enough too. There are two vents on the left side of the fridge that connect to the door with the ice maker, these vents sometimes get very warm (almost hot to the touch) as well as the area around them. It seems like this is connected to how warm the fridge is getting. When it warms up, it does it pretty quickly and gets to high 60’s by morning (happens often at night). I can usually get the refrigerator working again by messing with it, but haven’t found a consistent method. Sometimes I unplug it for a bit, sometimes just using “turbo cool” for a little while seems to get it going again. I have also put it in diagnostic mode and tried reset and a few other things. I have tried the command to toggle defrost cycle, but it is difficult for me to know what the current state is. Usually some combination of these things gets it working again. I thought it was the thermistor in the fridge but it seems to read the temperature okay and the diagnostic test for those said pass for all of them. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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Todd, did you ever resolve your issue with your fridge? I have the same model GE fridge and have been experiencing exactly the same problems (warming of the fridge coinciding with warming of left side vents). I have now had GE servicemen here ~5 times without any resolution (the fridge always starts working by the time they get there and then they think I am crazy!!). Would love to know how this issue worked out for you?

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Climate, Weather and Indoor Environment

Most refrigerators are in the kitchens of air-conditioned homes. You might expect a refrigerator to be mostly unaffected by exposure to extreme shifts in temperature and humidity. However, the regional climate, weather events and your indoor activities in the kitchen can greatly influence how often your fridge needs to go through a defrosting cycle. A humid climate near bodies of water, such as the seacoast, can cause a buildup of moisture in your home that turns to frost when you let that moisture inside the freezer. A stationary front can dump record amounts of rain as well. Indoors, if you generate a lot of steam while cooking, that moisture will enter the freezer, causing frost buildup.

Automatic Defrosting Capabilities

Many modern refrigerators automatically control how often the defrost cycle takes place. A defrosting timer is very common to make sure frost removal happens on time, every time, no matter if it is necessary. However, high-tech refrigerators have sensors that can intuitively detect when there is frost buildup and then turn on the heating coils after powering down the compressor. The computer programming in these appliances is so advanced that it keeps record of the number of times you opened and closed the freezer door -- which, again, contributes to frost buildup.

The Numbers

For the refrigerators that use basic automatic defrosting technology, with a timer, the compressor turns off after cooling the refrigerator and freezer for 8 to 12 hours. The heating coils turn on and remain on for about 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the brand, model and general cubic-foot capacity (size) of your freezer compartment. Again, adaptive fridges are autonomous.

Troubleshooting

The unusual frequency of the defrosting cycle in your fridge might be the result of a defective or malfunctioning freezer. Use a wet cloth or paper towel to wipe gently around the seal on the freezer door. This action removes dust and food debris that is preventing a lock-tight seal. Use a flashlight to inspect the seal for cuts or tears. You may have to replace the seal or contact a service technician. If your fridge doesn't return to normal defrosting time cycles, you may have internal mechanical issues that need professional repairs.

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Thanks for your reply. I did the suggested cleaning. Nothing seems very dirty and the seal seems pretty good. I also set the temperature lower than the suggested ( I set it to 34) and between those two things it seems to be holding steady. Is it the regular defrost cycle that puts so much heat out at the vents near the ice maker or is there some other heater for the ice? It was getting pretty darn warm at those vents. Thanks again.

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I’m having the same problem with a GE Profile refrigerator. First time it happened, a repair man came and said someone left the freezer open. But now it happens intermittently. Those vents stay very hot, sometimes all day.

Did you find a permanent fix?

Main board?

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Todd will be eternally grateful.
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