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GE refrigerator is warm on top shelves

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Our side-by-side refrigerator is not cooling properly on the top shelves. Bottom drawer regularly freezes items. Top shelf is around

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Old 08-05-2013, 08:26 PM
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Default GE refrigerator is warm on top shelves
Model Number: TFX22PRXB AA   Brand: GE   Age: 5 - 10 years   

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Our side-by-side refrigerator is not cooling properly on the top shelves. Bottom drawer regularly freezes items. Top shelf is around 40-45 degrees. Bottom shelf (middle of the fridge) stays mid-30's. The fan in the top of the freezer compartment is working. I can feel cold air being blown into the fridge on the top shelf where the fan is blowing.

Any suggestions on what the problem might be?

I also just checked the door seal using a dollar bill. Oddly enough, the worst part of the seal is the very bottom of the fridge - where it's cooling the most. The seal along the top edge isn't great, but it isn't horrible either.


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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 08-06-2013, 09:57 AM
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You seem to have an airflow issue, which most likely originates in the freezer. Take the back cover out the freezer and look for ice that is blocking airflow through the freezer coils. This could be just a block of ice or the coils could be completely chocked with ice. If it is just a block of ice see if it looks like it is coming from the icemaker. If so, remove all the ice, replace the water valve and clean the ice out the icemaker fill tube.

If the block of ice has nothing to do with a leaking icemaker it could indicate a major refrigeration issue. If this is the case describe what you see or post a pic.

If the coils are completely chocked with ice you have a defrost issue. On this model the heater is the most likely culprit but this page will help with troubleshooting

Refrigerator Defrost Problem Diagnostics

Also look to see if the return duck (air duck that returns air from the fresh food section to keep airflow) at the bottom of the freezer is blocked with ice.
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Old 08-06-2013, 10:59 AM
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The coils do have some ice buildup, especially on the lower half. Here's a picture.

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Old 08-06-2013, 04:31 PM
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I located the defrost timer and turned that clockwise until the fan stopped running. The defrost heater melted all of the ice from the coils. Incidentally, the ice had gotten worse since the time I took that picture. Does the ice pile up faster with the freezer wall removed?

Since the heater seems to be fine, does that mean my defrost timer is the culprit? Or is my problem possibly caused by something besides the heater or timer?
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Old 08-06-2013, 05:49 PM
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frost will build faster when the cover is off. by the looks of your evaporator, you have a sealed system problem. do the coils frost all the way up? they look as if they frost about half way. this would explain the lower part of ref. getting so much colder than the top. if the coils do not frost over completely, you have a Freon leak, or a partial Freon flow restriction, or a compressor that is weak. let us know about the coils.
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Old 08-06-2013, 06:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scott5495 View Post
frost will build faster when the cover is off. by the looks of your evaporator, you have a sealed system problem. do the coils frost all the way up? they look as if they frost about half way. this would explain the lower part of ref. getting so much colder than the top. if the coils do not frost over completely, you have a Freon leak, or a partial Freon flow restriction, or a compressor that is weak. let us know about the coils.
I've had the back cover on for the last few hours. I just pulled it off again to see how the coils look now. There's frost on them all the way up, but much less frost at the top than at the bottom. At the top I have to look quite closely to see the frost. At the bottom it's immediately apparent that there's frost as soon as I pull the cover off.
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Old 08-06-2013, 07:11 PM
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o.k. it sounds like your ref system is fine. so it comes down to airflow. is the evaporator [coil] fan running? is the condenser fan running, this is the fan underneath and in the back of ref. also check the condenser coils underneath, if they are stopped up with lint, dust, dog hair, etc. they can cause the ref. not to cool properly. since you feel air at the top of refrigerator section we know that the air passage at the top is open. take the pans out of the bottom of refrigerator section and you will find another opening at the lower back. make sure this airway is open and nothing is obstructing the air. also make sure your settings are at c and 5. always leave the freezer control on c. you can turn up the ref control if you like. the freezer control is just a flap that lets air through. c is the middle section and will provide the right amount of airflow.
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Old 08-06-2013, 08:30 PM
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Evaporator fan is running, yes. Condenser fan is running, yes. I just cleaned the condenser coils about one month ago. I took the bottom drawer out of the fridge and am not seeing an opening in the back at all. There is one in the left wall of the fridge where the bottom drawer is, though - and it goes directly to the freezer compartment. It has a levered opening that allows it to be completely opened, closed, or somewhere in the middle. The icon next to the lever appears to indicate that it allows some extra temp control for the bottom drawer itself. I have that lever completely open right now. I don't remember how we've had it for the past couple of weeks.

I set the freezer to C. I'll be gone all day tomorrow and so won't be able to work on it then. Family will be home all day though. I've told them to avoid opening the fridge as much as possible, and we'll see how the temp does. I'll also check it in the morning before I leave for work.
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Old 08-06-2013, 09:58 PM
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I am still not convinced you don’t have a sealed system problem the bottom of your coils have a lot of frost (meaning the compressor had been on for a while) the top should have been frosty as well. It may even be enough at the bottom to block airflow give it a closer look to see if you think air can move freely through the coils at the bottom (this would explain everything). Going by that picture I would say you have a sealed system issue but it is hard to say because you say the frost has moved to the top as well.

Also if you are trying to let it run to check things out you must have the back panel of the freezer in place for proper airflow.

The adjustable air duck isn’t the one we were talking about checking there is another one but I think it will be easier to access it from the freezer side. It is under the defrost heater on the right wall.

Last edited by applianceman : 08-06-2013 at 10:02 PM.
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Old 08-07-2013, 07:52 AM
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What is generally the average amount of time between defrost cycles? I'm sure it varies with usage and settings and so on, but is it generally measured in minutes, hours, days?

After sitting closed all night (from ~midnight until 7:30am) the temp on the bottom shelf (a little lower than middle of the fridge) was 38 degrees. Temp on the top shelf was high 40's.

applianceman, yes, there was frost on the top but very little. Describing it differently than I did previously, I would say the top had a very light dusting of frost, while the bottom had it caked on.

If it is a sealed system problem, is that generally an expensive fix?

I'll check for another air duct this evening after I get home from work. Or maybe see if my wife or son can look for it today.
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