Repair and disassembly guides for food cooling appliances including refrigerators, freezers and fridge-freezers.

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Frost buildup on freezer back wall in GE Fridge

Hello -- I have frost build up in the back freezer wall of a GE fridge (model; GSH25JSXL SS). As a result, it is preventing any ice cubes to be formed and is causing the refrigerator to be less cold than usual.

I called a local repair shop on the phone and they want to replace the defrost heater, but I'm not sure.

What's the problem cause and suggestions to fix it? Thanks in advance!

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ABCellars answer sounds good but in the search for anytime similar for my GE side-by-side refrigerator #GSS25XSPABS in the freezer parts section I can only find a Refrigerator Temp Sensor and Defrost Thermostat. Would either of these be another name for a defrost heater, limit switch or timer?

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Solution. Store your food in a good quality esky that will keep it cool or switch to non perishable food for a day or two-Turn the fridge off and make sure everything is out of the fridge and freezer including ice build up. If possible leave both doors open -take care if you have small children make sure they can't get into the fridge freezer spaces and close the doors-jam something in the space. Check the back to see if there is any dust on anything - vaccum this up-carefully not to break anything. Once the fridge has been off for awhile feel the outside fridge/ freezer walls to see if there are any cold spots-this is ice build up in the walls. Leave fridge defrost until this area becomes neutral-don't be impatient-this will take a day or two. Voila fridge is fixed. Get a fridge thermometer to check your settings when you switch it back on. Humidity is a bugger.

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Pretty much comes down to 3 items:

1).Defrost heater

2). Defrost limit switch - Usually a bi-metal switch in series with the heater and shuts it down if it goes over a certain temperature.

3). Defrost timer - The "brains" of the refrigerator. Tells the temperature switch when it is allowed to tell the compressor to run. Takes the temperature switch's control away (every 8, 10, or 12 hours depending on the setup) and tells the defrost heater to work for 20 - 30 minutes (depending on setup). Then gives control back to the temperature switch after the defrost cycle.

Slim chance but, still possible, is an ice bullet in the freon line or a burnt wire.

I don't know how anyone could know which is the problem child without going to where the refrigerator is and testing it. I have over 25 years experience repairing refrigerators. If you are handy with a multimeter and mechanically inclined, it is a repair you could do yourself. The repair place isn't really steering you wrong, in my opinion.

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Thanks for your detailed reply! I've ordered #1 and plan to DIY; I checked a YTube video to replace the defrost heater -- any particular things to be careful about? Any guides/videos on how to check for issues with #2 and #3 using the multimeter. For the ice bullet issue in the Freon line, would there be symptoms that I can look out for?

The repair place is asking $$$ just to check the issue + parts and labour so I'm inclined to give it a try myself.

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Thank you bad ass info! I had the problem and felt so empowered calling the repair folks with intel like this so that I didn't seem like a idiot! APPRECIATED you rock! Thanks!

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I Have the same problem and the place I bought it from sent a guy out he said we will unplug it let it sit overnight and he would come back and see what the problem is after the ice build up is gone! I Am no Refrig tech but I would think he could have tested whatever it may be the same day he came out I Emptied the entire Fridge already all he did was look at the board in the back used needle nose plyers and touched something that sparked. It has a warranty still and only almost 3 months old I had the same issue on another Fridge and that tech told me it was the seals on the Doors! On my GE it started out as a noise I thought it was a fan or the compressor rattling am not sure but that stopped after I turned it off and emptied it. I Turned it back on and no noise but it was not cooling or freezing still.

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do u have any videos to show for a 1985 ge refridgerator that has ice buildup back of freezer wall and preventing fridge from getting cold enough

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I've had this problem where the unit behind the back wall freezes up causing water/ice to form in the bottom shelf or developing ice that interrupts the fan. We have called a repair person out 3 times. His comment each time is this is a common problem with GE refrigerators caused by poor design and essentially not repairable. We are finally convinced the only solution short of buying a new one other than GE or to defrost it every one or two months. Repair guy says Samsung is even worse.

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We've had the same problem. The repair guy had us empty it and turn it off overnight. Then came in and installed a heater to prevent it from happening again. That was in April. It's now frozen again. He said the same thing, Samsung is even worse.

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Most modern fridges and freezers are frost-free but older models will need regular defrosting to prevent the build-up of ice. You should always defrost if the ice becomes 3mm or more thick.

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can to much food in freezer tightly packed make the back of freezer freeze up?

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I pay dearly to keep the GE Profile refrigerator that I have in a service agreement because it requires service about every 6 months due to icing up the back panel. Also water accumulates under the produce drawer and freezes so solid that the drawer won't open. The service folks tell me these models were outsourced by GE to Samsung and Samsung will not provide GE with design to remedy the problem that is prevalent in all of these model. This is so wrong! I sure wish someone would initiate a class action suit. Right now we are deicing it to get us through the holidays .

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Add me to the list of people with this same problem. In our case, the fridge side will start warming up first and then the freezer side will rise above freezing. If we don't do anything, after about 4 or 5 days like that -- no "freezer", and using the freezer side as our fridge for those several days -- it will start working properly. First, the freezer side will go back down below 32 and gradually, the fridge side will start cooling, although I don't think it gets back as cold as it should. Then for about a week, it is fine and then it starts all over again. So I don't think it could be the defrost heater itself. So I'm guessing it's an erratic defrost timer. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Incidentally, we did the empty and unplug for 2 days with the doors open to completely defrost it. It worked for about 2 1/2 weeks that time before the ice started building up and it started to screw up again.

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Well had this GE Profile old dinosaur refrigerator side-by-side with the ice maker with the same problem y'all are having but this is the first time I know in 15 years that this thing iced up I wish you all luck with your product. Just remember that even though they're servicemen they can also be salesmen I would get a second and third opinion if possible, and be prepared if you do defrost your refrigerator there will definitely be Bunches of water running out the bottom so keep towels handy

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