Having problems with your Refrigerators ?

I HAVE A 1998 MODEL , FREEZER HAS HAD NEW DEFROST UNIT INSTALLED, HOWEVER IT IS STILL NOT GETTING COLD ENOUGH TO FREEZE AFTER 1 WEEK. REFRIGERATOR IS NOT GETTING COLD ENOUGH TO STORE FOOD AT A SAFE TEMP. WHAT COULD BE THE PROBLEM? THIS IS A SIDE-BY-SIDE MODEL WITH ICE AND WATER ON THE OUTSIDE DOOR OF FREEZER. WE HABE NOT HAD IT CONNECTED TO THE WATER SUPPLY FOR A FEW YEARS. REFRIGERATOR IS 17.0 CU FEET. ALSO I CAN NOT FIND MY MANUAL AND THERE ARE NO LOCAL SERVICE SHOPS IN MY IMMEDIATE AREA.


Answers :

The defrost system consist of a defrost heater, a defrost thermostat and a defrost timer or adaptive defrost control depending on the model you have. If yours didn't freeze from the start you need to see if both fans are running. One at the compressor area behind the cardboard cover at the back. It should run when the compressor is running. Another fan is in the freezer which should also run when the compressor runs. It blows cold air into the fridge while it circulates the cold air in the freezer. It's located behind the back inside wall of the freezer with the evaporator coils. Inspect these coils for frost. A light even coating is normal. A heavy buildup indicates the defrost system isn't working. No ice or just a partial covering of frost indicates the system is low on freon and has a leak which would have to be repaired by a qualified tech. You can order parts online with your model number. Post the number and I can try to find diagrams and parts list. The following is info on how the defrost system works.

The evaporator coil behind the cover on the back wall inside the freezer will ice up under normal conditions. Every 8 to 10 hours for around 20 minutes the defrost timer (or in most newer models the electronic adaptive defrost control) will turn the defrost heater on to melt the built up ice. There is a defrost thermostat which prevents the heater from overheating the freezer by breaking the heater circuit when the temp reaches close to 32 degrees F. The entire cooling system shuts off during the defrost cycle and starts back when the timer advances through the cycle.

If this ice is not melted it will continue to build up until the air can’t flow over the coil to circulate the cold air through the freezer and into the fridge. The temperature change in the fridge is usually noticed first followed by the freezer.

If the defrost thermostat is bad, it can prevent the heater from coming on OR it won’t turn the heater off when it gets too warm. It is clamped to the evaporator coil at the top to sense the temp. If it appears to be misshapen it is bad.
With an ohm meter it should show continuity when cold and none when warm.
You can also bypass(disconnect the two wires plugged into it and twist them together) the thermostat to see if the heater comes on then. If it does then you know the thermostat is bad and needs replaced.

The defrost heater is located on the evaporator. It is in a tube which is at the bottom and can also go up the sides of the evaporator. On some types you can see a burnt spot if it’s bad. With an ohm meter it should show continuity from end to end when disconnected from the wiring in the freezer. You can also test the wiring for voltage when it’s in the defrost mode.

If you have a defrost timer you can test it. It can be located under the fridge behind the kick panel on the front. Some are in the fridge with the controls at the top. You can turn the defrost timer till it clicks and everything shuts down. The heater should now come on. If it does, replace the timer because that means the timer is not running. If it doesn't, check the heater and defrost thermostat. Turn the timer again till everything starts back up to end the defrost cycle.

If you have an adaptive defrost control instead of a timer, replace it if the heater and thermostat test good. It is located in the fridge with the controls in some models and on the back in others.

Repair Help & Product Troubleshooting for Refrigerators
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