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Freezer defrosting too much

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I have an older (circa 1988) GE fridge, freezer on top and fridge on the bottom. The unit works well

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 07-14-2010, 03:08 PM
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Default Freezer defrosting too much
Model Number: N/A   Brand: GE   Age: More than 10 years   

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I have an older (circa 1988) GE fridge, freezer on top and fridge on the bottom. The unit works well except for the fact that when it initiates it's defrosting cycle, the freezer gets too warm and the food within it partially defrosts. The freezer then gets cold again but the food has ice crystals on it. I have a wiring diagram for the fridge and want to fix it myself, but I'm not sure which part to replace. I assume it's the defrost thermostat or the defrost control. Any other ideas? Thanks for the help!


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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 07-22-2010, 03:22 PM
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It may be the defrost thermostat. Some of the older ones would open at temperatures upwards of 90F, while the newer ones in energy saving refrigerators open somewhat lower, around 50F. If the thermostat contacts are welded, it will never open and the defrost heater will run as long as the defrost timer allows it, typically 30-35 minutes. A properly working defrost thermostat will cut power to the defrost heater when it has warmed enough to assure all the frost is melted off the evaporator coil. If you can locate the defrost thermostat (after unplugging the refrigerator), warm it gently with a hair drier until it feels warm to the touch, i.e., is 90F or higher, then measure its resistance with a multimeter or continuity checker. It may be helpful to unplug the defrost heater element to make sure you aren't measuring the continuity through a stray path. The contacts should be open, i.e. the resistance should read infinite and a continuity checker should show no continuity. If it reads as a short circuit, this is the culprit. Defrost thermostats can fail either open or short. Since it appears that the defrost heater in your unit is getting power, I'd guess that the defrost thermostat has failed short.

Another possibility is a sticky defrost timer motor. As noted above, the defrost cycle should go no more than about half an hour. If it goes longer, the defrost timer is the culprit.
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