Refrigerator Issue (Cold Freezer-Warm Fridge)

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Kywildcat
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Refrigerator Issue (Cold Freezer-Warm Fridge)

Post by Kywildcat » Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:45 pm

I have an older GE fridge that came with my house (guessing it’s around 20 years old). It’s worked fine, but now has an issue that I am trying to diagnose/fix. It’s a unit with the freezer on top.

Due to age, I went ahead and ordered a new fridge, but would still like to fix this one for my garage.

Issues/Observations:

1. Freezer is cold and has cold air being blown into it, but fridge is warm with no cold air being blown into it
2. Compressor will run as long as it’s plugged in, never turns off
3. I had fridge unplugged for a week when I was out of town and issue remained when I plugged it back in
4. Evaporator fan is working with no visible issues


Any suggestions on next things to check?

KlangFool
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Re: Refrigerator Issue (Cold Freezer-Warm Fridge)

Post by KlangFool » Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:49 pm

OP,

Looks like the cold air from the freezer section is not getting into the fridge section. There is a sensor to sense whether the door is closed. You can press on that and leave the fridge door open and see whether the cold air is getting into the fridge section.

Goto youtube and search on your fridge model and look for instruction to solve this problem.

KlangFool

Masterblaster
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Re: Refrigerator Issue (Cold Freezer-Warm Fridge)

Post by Masterblaster » Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:56 pm

I assume you have tried the adjustment inside the refrigerator that lets more cold into the refrigerator.

If that doesn't do it check the thermostat(or timer) that controls the de-icing circuit. When that doesn't work right ice builds up blocking airflow from the freezer compartment. The cheap way to check is to (remove all the food) then unplug the unit with both freezer and refrigerator doors open. Let any ice drip away that has built up in the refrigerator. If the unit then works well for some period before reverting to its bad ways then replace the thermostat (or timer) for de-icing.

neilpilot
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Re: Refrigerator Issue (Cold Freezer-Warm Fridge)

Post by neilpilot » Mon Jul 09, 2018 8:00 pm

A cold freezer & warm refrigerator section is very often a sign that the auto-defrost function isn't working.

However you indicated that the refrigerator was off for a week and the problem was evident on startup. If it was the defrost, then in a week the ice buildup on the evaporator coils would have melted and the refrigerator should have been cold on startup, until the ice has time to reform (typically about 1 week). When it was shutdown, did you happen to see a puddle at the bottom of the unit and/or bottom of the freezer compartment, which would point to an ice buildup?

GE units typically have one electronic thermostat in the freezer. The refrigerator thermostat is usually a damper control that regulates circulation from the freezer compartment. Confirm that the circulation damper is open (it's usually in the top left, behind the plastic temperature control panel. Also confirm that the circulation fan, in the freezer above the evaporator coils is running when the compressor is on.

Neutron
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Re: Refrigerator Issue (Cold Freezer-Warm Fridge)

Post by Neutron » Mon Jul 09, 2018 8:11 pm

I had the exact same problem with a Kenmore Refrigerator, the fan that draws air from the freezer section and cools the refrigerator section had stopped rotating. Internet search of your model should provide location of fan.

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whodidntante
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Re: Refrigerator Issue (Cold Freezer-Warm Fridge)

Post by whodidntante » Mon Jul 09, 2018 8:26 pm

Neutron wrote:
Mon Jul 09, 2018 8:11 pm
I had the exact same problem with a Kenmore Refrigerator, the fan that draws air from the freezer section and cools the refrigerator section had stopped rotating. Internet search of your model should provide location of fan.
Yep. I believe it's called a mixing fan. Mine is at the top of the refrigerator.

neilpilot
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Re: Refrigerator Issue (Cold Freezer-Warm Fridge)

Post by neilpilot » Mon Jul 09, 2018 8:31 pm

whodidntante wrote:
Mon Jul 09, 2018 8:26 pm
Neutron wrote:
Mon Jul 09, 2018 8:11 pm
I had the exact same problem with a Kenmore Refrigerator, the fan that draws air from the freezer section and cools the refrigerator section had stopped rotating. Internet search of your model should provide location of fan.
Yep. I believe it's called a mixing fan. Mine is at the top of the refrigerator.
Actually the typical GE side-by-side unit only has 2 fans. One is the compressor fan; it's under the unit and cools the compressor.

The other is the evaporator fan. It's is in the freezer section, above the evaporator coils. This fan circulates air across the coils, and a portion of that flow is then diverted thru a temperature cooling damper into the top of the refrigerator section.

adamthesmythe
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Re: Refrigerator Issue (Cold Freezer-Warm Fridge)

Post by adamthesmythe » Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:28 am

Some of the websites that sell appliance parts have advice on repairs.

Before you keep the old refrigerator- it is now more difficult to dispose of a refrigerator. Consider having it hauled away when you get the new one.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Refrigerator Issue (Cold Freezer-Warm Fridge)

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:02 pm

adamthesmythe wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:28 am
Before you keep the old refrigerator- it is now more difficult to dispose of a refrigerator. Consider having it hauled away when you get the new one.
Locally, the electric company will pick up running refrigerators and give you like $50 credit.
This week's fortune cookie: "Your financial life will be secure and beneficial." So I got that going for me, which is nice.

kaudrey
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Re: Refrigerator Issue (Cold Freezer-Warm Fridge)

Post by kaudrey » Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:15 pm

This happened to us recently, and we had the defroster panel replaced (I think that's what it was called).

jchris
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Re: Refrigerator Issue (Cold Freezer-Warm Fridge)

Post by jchris » Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:24 pm

Very high likelihood that this is either your defrost timer, defrost thermostat, or defrost heating element needing replacement. If it was the circulation fan, the compressor would still turn off when the freezer went into defrost mode. On older GE model refrigerators,the defrost timer is like a $10-$15 dollar part, the thermostat can range up to about $35, and the heating element is about $15. You can get them on amazon or at one of the on-line appliance parts retailers. Easy do it yourself repairs. Just replace all three and you cover all bases. Youtube it to see various videos.

neilpilot
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Re: Refrigerator Issue (Cold Freezer-Warm Fridge)

Post by neilpilot » Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:33 pm

jchris wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:24 pm
Very high likelihood that this is either your defrost timer, defrost thermostat, or defrost heating element needing replacement. If it was the circulation fan, the compressor would still turn off when the freezer went into defrost mode. On older GE model refrigerators,the defrost timer is like a $10-$15 dollar part, the thermostat can range up to about $35, and the heating element is about $15. You can get them on amazon or at one of the on-line appliance parts retailers. Easy do it yourself repairs. Just replace all three and you cover all bases. Youtube it to see various videos.
Agree with your suggestion, except that the OP said that after being off for 1 week the unit was turned back on and the problem persisted. If it is the defrost system, then the unit should have defrosted while down and the refrigerator section should have initially been cold shortly after restart. An ice buildup due to a defrost issue typically takes at least 1 week after startup.

Of course it depends on the specific model, but many GE defrost elements come complete with a new thermostat.

Also, most GE defrost timers can be advanced using a screwdriver. I'd suggest a slow manual advancement, waiting to see if the compressor shuts off as the defrost cycle is activated. If this happens, a careful observation can sometimes determine if the heating elements energize (start to glow). You can also observe the screwdriver slot on the timer to determine if the timer is actually running. IIRC the timer does a complete rotation in 15-20 hours, during which the defrost is activated for 15-30 min.

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