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Ice clumps in icemaker bucket

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After replacing the defrost heaters, the ice now melts and refreezes. After emptying the ice bucket, newly-made ice feels loose

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Old 02-04-2008, 08:01 AM
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Default Ice clumps in icemaker bucket
Model Number: TFHA22RRAAD   Brand: GE   Age: More than 10 years   

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After replacing the defrost heaters, the ice now melts and refreezes. After emptying the ice bucket, newly-made ice feels loose and normal for the first two days. By the third day large clumps begin to form in the now higher levels of ice. By the fourth day the ice clumps are higher than the ice eject level and block the icemaker from ejecting any new ice. The large clumps at and above the top of the bucket extend partly over the icemaker and have to be broken up with an ice pick before the bucket can be removed. When emptying the bucket, I found 1-2 rectangular lumps (no longer crescent-shaped) of ice in the bottom of the bucket. The most recent defrost cycle began with an air temp of -1F above the ice in the bucket and rose to 27.5F at the end of the cycle which lasted approximately 33 minutes. When the defrost cycle ended and the compressor kicked in, the air temp had dropped to 5.2F within 5 minutes. The air temp one hour later was -2.2F. I have observed a few refills of the ice freeze chamber and saw no spraying or leaking into the ice bucket. I placed a paper towel over the ice during one refill and immediately removed it. No water or moisture was visible on the towel. Temp in the fridge section is holding at a fairly constant 33-35F. Help!


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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 02-04-2008, 04:15 PM
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There is a mold heater on the bottom of the ice maker.

It should be hot for a few seconds only to release the ice cubes. Check if it stays on longer.

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Old 02-07-2008, 08:55 PM
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Probe of a digital thermometer in the freezer gives continual freezer temps. Today the defrost cycle ended with a temp of 66 F. Could the defrost timer must be sticking intermittently? This is the first time I've noticed a temp this excessively high. Whatever the cause, this does explain the infrequent ice clumping in the ice bucket. How can I eliminate the mold heater or identify the culprit? Is there anything else that would cause the freezer temp to spike this high? Or should I replace the defrost timer first? Help!

Last edited by dennisj550 : 02-07-2008 at 09:48 PM.
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Old 02-08-2008, 12:32 PM
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The problem is not the defrost timer.

Turn off the ice maker by lifting up the arm on the side of the ice maker and check the temperature in the freezer like you did it before.

Make sure the evaporator fan in the freezer is not running during the defrost cycle.

Measure the temperature in the freezer during the defrost cycle like you did it previously.

Post the results, please.

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Old 02-10-2008, 06:32 PM
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I ran my hand through the ice Friday afternoon to make sure it was loose and not clumped together anywhere. Then I raised the arm and shut off the icemaker. The freezer air temp at this point was -2F. I went out of town for two days (no one else is in the house). In returning this afternoon, the arm was still up and no additional ice had been made. The ice now was refrozen together which made even removing the ice bucket difficult. Obviously the freezer temp had spiked at some point over the last two days. Once the ice bucket was removed, I was able to free up individual crescents by beating the frozen chunks with a metal meat tenderizer. The freezer went into a defrost cycle approximately an hour after I reinstalled the bucket with the freed-up chunks of ice. When I noticed the cycle, the freezer air temp had already risen to 25F. The compressor and fan were off. When the cycle ended about 10 minutes later and the compressor and fan restarted, the freezer temp had reached a high of 28F and was down to 4.4F within 5 minutes. This was in line with previous observations except for the one 66F high noted in a previous post. I ordered a defrost timer before you posted your last response. According to tracking it should arrive Monday afternoon. Should I install it or will that just cloud the problem? Your thoughts?
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Old 02-11-2008, 10:00 AM
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I do not think the problem caused by the defrost timer.

Most likely the failure suspect is the defrost thermostat.

The defrost timer is just a timer. If there is nothing wrong with the defrost cycle goes "on" and "off" then there is nothing with the defrost timer.

On other side the defrost thermostat opens or closes the circuit to the defrost heater according to the evaporator temperature and most likely it stuck in the "closed" position.

- The part number for the defrost thermostat is AP2639498

Here are the break down diagrams for the GE refrigerator Model TFHA22RRAAD

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Old 02-12-2008, 05:30 AM
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Gene is right....if a defrost heater stays on for 33 min. there is a problem with the defrost thermostat, that,s way to long for the heater to stay on.15 to 18 min I would say is ok,depending on how much snow there is on the evaporator.Change the defrost thermostat this will solve your problem.
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Old 02-14-2008, 10:38 AM
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Default Ice still clumping. This problem will not go away!

Monday –7pm - I replaced the defrost thermostat, emptied the ice bucket and thawed the pooled water that had frozen at the bottom of the bucket.

Tuesday- 8am – the ice bucket is full enough to block the control arm and stop the ice maker. The crescents were loose. I was out of the house all day and returned at 7pm to find the ice had clumped (thawed and frozen together) –had to use a meat tenderizer to break up the clumps. The full ice bucket with loose ice was returned to the freezer. The ice maker cycled a couple of times and then was stopped by cubes caught between the arm and the body.


Wednesday From 10:30am I started a log of the freezer air temp (external gauge with the probe above the ice maker): Of 12 temps observed the highest was 34.5F, the lowest –8.8F. The the compressor and fan would typically cut on when the temp reached 28F and the temp would drop below 0F in 3-4 minutes. The crescents remained loose through the last observation at 1:20am Thursday. 30 hours had passed since I had broken up the last clumps (Tuesday pm).

Thursday 10:10am I noted the temp at 18F. The icemaker control arm was still blocked so the icemaker was off. I touched the mold under the icemaker and felt no heat. The crescents were still loose. By 10:16 it had risen to 49.7F. I watched helplessly as the air temp rose to 73.4F until the compressor and evaporator fan finally cut on at 10:32am. The temp then dropped in a straight line to 0.7F by 11:44am (72 minutes to recover). The ice had definitely ‘clumped’ again.

Notes: The 73F seen today is higher than the 66F hit before replacing the thermostat. But both seem quite unacceptable.


What else could be causing this intermittent temp spike? HELP!
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Old 02-14-2008, 12:08 PM
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DENNIS ...The next time the temperature rises and you hear the compressor off,go to the fridge side and tap on the thermostat knob,if the compressor and fan comes on,then replace the thermostat.GE are known for bad thermostats.
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Old 02-17-2008, 04:17 PM
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Default Still same problem - ice clumps

The defrost timer and defrost thermostat have now both been replaced. The ice bucket was emptied. It filled back up within 24 hours, Then sometime in the next 24 hours, the freezer temp spiked to over 70F which partly melted the ice. During this temp rise, the ice maker was shut off. Over an hour was required after the compressor restarted to drop the temp below 0F. The ice then refroze into clumps.
In light of this, I tried to record temps more carefully. Over the last 24 hours, the compressor cut off approx every 3 hours and stayed off for roughly 25 minutes. In every observed case, this allowed the freezer temp to move up from below 0F to approx 29F before the compressor and fan restarted. Then the freezer temp dropped in minutes to below 0F. The fresh food section temp moved from 31.2F to 37.7F during this same 25 minute period.

THEORY: If the defrost timer just happens to start the defrost cycle beginning at this high temp point, wouldn't the freezer temp spike like I'm seeing? This would explain the randomness of the clumping.
Websites for the timer (WR9X489) indicated this has a 16 hour/35 minute cycle. Is the 30F rise in the freezer in 25 minutes normal? Certainly if you add defrost heaters for 35 minutes on top of an unheated 30F rise, there will be problems. Seems to me either the compressor needs to run longer or the freezer temp rise has to be reduced. Somebody out there has seen this. Is there a solution? Help!
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