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Tool Talk Discussion Forum

Another fridge problem.

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Author  [Modern View]

10-24-2012 18:48:11

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Side by side it is about 10 years old and it is freezing up. The fans are running but I don't believe the heater is working or the timer that runs it is bad. What do I check? After I defrost it, it will run about six days then it starts warming up, & I have to thaw it out again.

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10-25-2012 19:30:24

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 Re: Another fridge problem. in reply to 504, 10-24-2012 18:48:11  
Ok, I have read your posts and I thank you all. I found the timer next to the thermostat in the box and the compressor stopped when I rotated the switch, I don t suppose it will start working again by itself:) How long should----never mind, I need to take the freezer apart and see if the heater is working!

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10-25-2012 20:18:45

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 Re: Another fridge problem. in reply to 504, 10-25-2012 19:30:24  
Here I am again. The timer is running and one element is heating up, but the other one is not. I do believe we have found the problem. I could never found it by myself, Farmall yes, but not a General Electric!

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George Marsh

10-26-2012 04:54:47

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 Re: Another fridge problem. in reply to 504, 10-25-2012 20:18:45  
504, Congradulations, you are officially a HVAC repairman.

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10-25-2012 10:33:18

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 Re: Another fridge problem. in reply to 504, 10-24-2012 18:48:11  
six days? probably not anything in the defrost cycle or you would most likely be freezing up in one or less. check for a stopped up drain maybe.one that drains slow will allow ice to build up and block it.could be low on freon,that would cause it to freeze quickly in one area and restrict air flow.dirty coils undeneath "PROBABLY" wouldnt cause it to freeze,simply because it stops cooling because it cant remove heat.

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10-25-2012 05:14:52

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 Re: Another fridge problem. in reply to 504, 10-24-2012 18:48:11  
Make sure the coils under orbehind the fridge are clean as in blow them out with compressed air. When these become restricted it can also cause a freeze up.

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pete black

10-25-2012 05:09:42

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 Re: Another fridge problem. in reply to 504, 10-24-2012 18:48:11  
Go with george's reply first, mechanical timers typically placed in refrig side. Uses a flat blade screwdriver in a recessed hole.

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George Marsh

10-25-2012 04:55:22

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 Re: Another fridge problem. in reply to 504, 10-24-2012 18:48:11  
Your problem is to first find the defrost timer. They hide them all over the place. Sometimes inside the box and sometimes outside. You can advance the timer manually, clockwise. Advance slowly. When you hear it click, the compressor should turn off and defrost heater turn on. Don't advance it any more after compressor turns off. Measure current with ammprobe. No current means, bad switch in timer, switch is a SPDT, something wrong with heater or defrost switch.

Good luck finding the timer. Timer could be a fancy electronic switch. Those could be expensive. Might be time to wait for a black Friday sale. Many appliances will be on sale soon. Recently I purchased a 22 ft Frigidare side by side with ice and water in door for around $800 from Lowes.

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10-25-2012 02:21:49

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 Re: Another fridge problem. in reply to 504, 10-24-2012 18:48:11  
Make sure that all the little air vents are open, should be something towards the bottom at the back of the box. Best thing to do before sinking a lot of time and money into it is just empty it, unplug and let it set a day or so to completely thaw out. While you're at it, use a vacuum cleaner and give it a good cleaning around the motor area....

Was getting ready to replace ours when we found this out. Unplugged/emptied it on Sunday morning, stopped monday evening to pick up a new one on sale. Wasn't there so backordered.. Went home and plugged the old one in with the idea of just switching off and on as needed and it's been fine the last 3 years......

If that don't work and you wanna milk the one you have, just get a cheap plug in timer and play with it til you get it right (20 minutes every 2 hours for example)...

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10-24-2012 21:14:30

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 Re: Another fridge problem. in reply to 504, 10-24-2012 18:48:11  
I assume from your description that the refrigerator section is frozen. On most side by side, the compressor cools only the freezer side and uses an adjustable vent opening to cool the refrigerator side. When this slide fails open, your refrigerator side will freeze solid. It is a cheap solenoid activated plastic slide part located in the top left hand side of the refrigerator.

Hope this helps.

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10-24-2012 20:48:52

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 Re: Another fridge problem. in reply to timcasbolt, 10-24-2012 18:48:11  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see6 hours is too quick for the defrost timer to be the problem, as it only operates once in 24 hours. Probably lost some refrigerant, so it freezes up......typical condition. Cost too much to find & fix leak, so time to replace, sorry.

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10-24-2012 19:29:56

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 Re: Another fridge problem. in reply to 504, 10-24-2012 18:48:11  
If you do an internet search, you'll find some good ideas for troubleshooting your problem. And you'll have some knowledgable guys from this board check in with good advice for you. Our side by side did the very same thing as yours a couple of months ago, and with the help of the folks on here, I fixed it myself. The faulty part in ours was the thermostat that kicks off the defrost heater. It was stuck in the "open" mode and wouldn't allow the defrost heater to come on. It was cheap - mebbe $15 or so. There's a defrost timer that can go bad, and the defrost heater itself could be the culprit. You said the fan(s) are running. To check the defrost thermostat, you have to check continuity while it's iced up. It should have continuity while it's iced - no continuity when it's thawed. You will have to isolate it from the circuit to test it (clip one wire).

You'll get some good advice on this board - lots of helpful and knowledgable folks here (and I'm not talking about myself!).

Good luck.

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Charles (in GA)

10-24-2012 19:24:19

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 Re: Another fridge problem. in reply to 504, 10-24-2012 18:48:11  
Find the timer, probably down in the bottom. It will have a shaft sticking out the front slightly, make some pencil marks and check to see that it is actually turning. If not, unplug fridge and remove timer (leave wires connected or make a diagram of them) and google the p/n it will have changed, there are a couple of good appliance parts places on Ebay. I bought one on Ebay, OEM superseding part number with diagram of how to hook it up. There is also a thermostat that goes bad, clipped to the heating element. I pulled out enough plastic pieces to find the wires to the element and disconnected them and wired a plug and pigtail to them to verify the element worked. Some elements are made of glass inside and break easily if the fridge has been transported recently.


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