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GE Refrigerator Not Cooling Troubleshooting and Repair

by The Handyguys

in Audio Only Podcasts

This is an audio only podcast

The Handyguys discuss modern refrigerator troubleshooting. Many of these tips apply regardless of who makes your refrigerator.

GE Refrigerator Not Cooling Troubleshooting and RepairPaul’s GE side by side refrigerator is not cooling correctly (model In this audio podcast The Handyguys discuss how to track down the issues.

Some common problems with modern refrigerators include:

  • Ice maker does not work
  • Water line for ice dispenser freezes up
  • Water line or water tank leaks
  • Water valve unit on back of refrigerator can go bad
  • The main control board can go bad or just do dumb things.

Paul’s GE refrigerator not cooling was a big issue. His freezer temperature rose a little above freezing and his refrigerator was not keeping the milk cool. Paul looked to the back inside wall of his freezer for a solution. A panel can be removed to expose the evaporator coil. When his refrigerator was not working well he noticed that these coils were frozen which prevents the fan properly cooling the freezer (and therefore the refrigerator as well).

The initial fix was to melt the ice on the evaporator coil to allow the unit to operate. This fix lasted about a month before it froze up again. The reason the defrost unit fails is usually the result of a bad defrost heater, defrost thermostat or thermistor. Some older models also have a defrost timer but this feature is handled by the main control board on his model (at least he thinks it is…he’s just a handyguy!).

Paul tested the heater for continuity and it appeared to be working fine. He also tested and replaced his thermistor. He has a new thermostat if needed but could not wait for this problem to occur again so he just went ahead and replaced the entire control board. Time will tell if this fix worked (it has been about 3 weeks).

Paul highly recommends the forums at for advice and feedback on your appliance repairs.

Listen to the podcast for all the gory details.

Please keep in mind, The Handyguys are NOT appliance repairmen, we don’t have schematics for your appliance, and we can’t come out and repair your fridge. We just share what we know with out listeners. Good luck on your repair.

Need appliance parts? Just enter a part or model number:

{ 72 comments… read them below or add one }

NJ Cellulose Insulation Installer February 6, 2012 at 6:23 pm

Excellent podcast. Many homeowners assume it is time for a new refrigerator when something stops working. Often times they do not realize there is a simple fix to their dilemma. Thanks handy guys!


sean blume February 8, 2012 at 8:02 pm

nice blog and nice refrigerator


Duvall Aguiar June 26, 2012 at 9:00 am

MY freezer is icing up at the back and then doesnt cool properly until I defrost it and then its good again .Whats causing this iceup I think the seal is good. Email back with the solution please.


Cherie August 25, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Hello, I’m having a big problem with my GE Refrigerator. It is leaking from the inside freezer side. It is not a build up, I have cleaned that out and it continues to leak. It’s leaking from the back panel of the freezer, but there is no access from the back of the refrigerator. I have had to turn off the water to the fridge.


Handyguy Paul August 26, 2012 at 4:51 pm

It sounds like it is coming from the defrost coils. They are accessed from inside the freezer. You have to remove the panel on the back side (but inside the freezer) to access. HOwever, since I don’t know everything about this refrigerator, I would encourage you to check out the forums at (no connection to our site). These guys know their stuff and I found some good information there when I was troubleshooting my issues.


Jennifer October 19, 2012 at 9:49 pm

Hello, We are having a major issue with our GE refrigerator. It is not cooling properly although the freezer works perfectly fine. Having guests over tomorrow and everything is slowly warming to room temperature! We have tried moving the temperature setting to the coldest (9) from where we normally keep it (4). This has been happening since earlier this morning with no change. No fridge repair places have appointments by tomorrow. Any thoughts are much appreciated!! Many thanks!


The Handyguys October 22, 2012 at 10:21 am

Your fridge likely has one compressor that cools the freezer with a fan to blow the cold air into the refrigerator compartment. The fan could have failed or the thermostat or a circuit that controls the fan. It could also be something simple. Look for the passageways between the refrigerator and the freezer and make sure they are not blocked. This can happen when things are over filled. Good luck.


judith November 14, 2012 at 11:38 am

my side to side freezer and fridge is not cooling. No ice build up but the fan work.


The Handyguys November 14, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Could be many things. Sorry I dont have anything specific for you. Its probably time to call a repair person.


John December 2, 2012 at 10:01 pm

My GE GSL22JFPH BS side-by-side keeps intermittently getting warm in the top of the freezer and freezing the produce drawers in the bottom of the frig. simultaneously. Any thoughts?


Handyguy Paul December 3, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Did you listen to the podcast for this post? Just curious because I think I explained in this podcast of a similar issue with my fridge. My fix was to replace the control board.


tajuana edwards December 26, 2012 at 8:11 pm

have a G E side by side and having trouble with the freezer not freezing and the refrigerator is not keeping cool everything ia always at room temperature needs some helpasap


joe February 24, 2013 at 9:43 am

side bye side has been stored two years . working fine when stored now nothing any suggestions. [ not working] Fan runs and compresoir are running. still not cooling


Nathan October 13, 2013 at 10:05 pm

Joe, how did you fix your side by side that fan runs and compressor runs but not cooling? my GE side by side having same problem. Thanks


Joe April 29, 2013 at 2:10 pm

My GE Profile has eratic temperatures. It gets really cold (-4 freezer and 35 in the fridge) Then the temperature goes hig ( 16 degrees in freezer and 45 in fridge ). I changed the motherboard twice within a year. At times the fan makes a lot of noise. Any ideas


Michael May 21, 2013 at 10:23 am

Very nicely done! This helped me tremendously – the same issue happened on my GE side-by-side model GSS23WSTA just this weekend. It turned out to be the defrost heater coil, a $40 part. Much better news than the $800 my girlfriend thought it was going to be!

I had a repairman do the swap this time, as I had limited time to tackle it myself, but now I’ve had a primer on dismantling the refrigerator and plan to do future repairs myself.

Thanks a million for the blog!


Dee August 10, 2013 at 9:34 am

My side by side fridge digital control buttons won’t turn on. The lights work but nothing else anything I can do to resolve this


The Handyguys August 12, 2013 at 8:07 am

If the symptoms are the same as in this video you can try the control board replacement. If the compressor turns on but doesnt cool you have a different issue.


Charlie July 16, 2014 at 7:11 pm

Were you able to solve this problem with a new board? We had a power interruption and are now experiencing the same: lights are on but no digital display for temp control and nothing is running. Only lights


The Handyguys July 17, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Yes, new board and thermistor fixed the issue Paul was having. Listen to the podcast for the discussion if you have time.


helen lester August 21, 2013 at 8:39 pm

my frigidiare side by side refrigerator isn’t cold enough in refrigerator side but freezes solid in freezer. fan seems to blow good but a rattling sound to fan from time to time.


The Handyguys August 22, 2013 at 7:42 am

Are the passage ways between the freezer and the fridge blocked?


Kathryn August 27, 2013 at 3:17 pm

The refrigerator in our GE side-by-side is working fine, but the freezer can only freeze water — everything else is soft.

The repairman came to take a look today. My husband reported back: “Your fridge needs a new coil; the Freon is leaking. It will cost about 650 to fix.”



Fran Smith December 28, 2013 at 8:24 pm

I have a GE refrigerator with the freezer on the bottom that pulls out like a drawer and the fridge on top with side bye side doors. First the ice maker just stopped working. I checked and there is good water flow. So I need advise on that. My new problem is the fridge just stopped cooling period. The freezer works perfectly fine. But the fridge is room temp. Please help. Thank you


The Handyguys December 30, 2013 at 1:29 pm

I think there is a fan to move cool air from freezer. Could be faulty fan, blocked passageway or a bad circuit board. Look to see if you can figure how the air moves between the two and look for ice or other blockage.


Linda January 12, 2014 at 3:50 pm

thank you for sharing what you know. If it’s alright I would to link to you in a post about this kind of stuff


Cathy March 4, 2014 at 3:24 pm

I have a GE that the dispenser for water and ice intermits, I have checked and redid it just incase and it made not differents… next suggestion would be ??? please get back to me.
Tthank You Cathy


Kbeck April 10, 2014 at 11:13 am

I have a side by side GE elite and there is a slow leak coming from the main frig side and settling on the bottom of the inside of the unit. It appears it is coming from the area behind the Express Chill drawer on the bottom of the frig where there is a screened in area that house the light bulb and something else related to the Express Chill. Any thoughts?


CassyL April 14, 2014 at 10:15 am

I have this same issue and need help too! Except that the leak was slow before, and now every morning I have a puddle in the front. It’s clearly coming from the Express Chill, which sometimes has a thin layer of ice on it. It’s causing the produce drawer to freeze too. I need this resolved so I can sell the fridge and buy a new stainless one to match the rest of my appliances.


LaDana July 23, 2014 at 12:36 pm

The food in my crisper drawer & stuff on the shelf above crisper drawer is freezing. Also water line behind crisper drawer is frozen solid. Ice in freezer will thaw & refreeze too. I have had the repairman out & he replaced the thermistors in the fridge & freezer & then replaced the control board & it is still doing it. Any suggestions on what else it could be?


The Handyguys July 23, 2014 at 2:02 pm
Josiane Eid July 25, 2014 at 10:51 pm

I have a 10-year old GE refrigerator. It has been working fine until suddenly this morning, the water dispenser stopped working and the dispenser light was weak and started flashing, then stopped. I emptied the ice maker which later made a few more ice cubes. Then later in the evening, the freezer made a clicking noise for a few minutes (looked like a defrost cycle), then stopped. Now the fridge is silent, but I am suspecting that the cooling in the fridge and freezer is weakening.
Do you think there is a common problem that would explain all of today’s events?


John Berrios July 28, 2014 at 12:56 pm

My GE side by side fridge is not cooling, lights on but fan seems to not work,when plug in power LED lights on in the freezer outer door. When pushing in the dispencer LED light fades out.Mod. # GSH25JSRFSS


Deverene Nelson July 30, 2014 at 12:03 am

My refrigerator is a side by side but with a deep freezer draw at the bottom. Its not blowing air nor getting cold but everything still seems to work what could this be and what do you think the cost would or should be.


Lewis July 31, 2014 at 4:55 pm

I have a GE refer mod # GSH25JSDBSS and the off gas smell from the refer smells really bad. could it b the r-134 refridgerant ? and the fridge and freezer fluxuate in temp. Any ideas?


The Handyguys August 5, 2014 at 10:50 am

Its not likely the refrigerant, if it was leaking you would have no cooling.


Trevor August 13, 2014 at 7:19 pm

My little refrigerator(small one) is not cool. When I plug in , I hear it click, but it not cool and the tank at the back is hot. I do not know what wrong and how to fix ? Would you please help me , tell me what to do?
Thanks a lot.


The Handyguys August 14, 2014 at 10:27 am

Its probably ready for the trash (or recycle). Only suggestion, if it was recently moved, let it sit a day or two then try it again. If nothing then its probably time for a new one.


Ty August 14, 2014 at 7:30 pm



crazycraigwv August 22, 2014 at 7:25 am

check to see if the defrost heater is bad. My GE side by side started getting warm in the fridge and then in the freezer. i took everything out, and let it thaw. When i plugged it back in, hours later, it worked great for a month, then started warming again. I took off the inside panel on the freezer side(five minutes work) and noticed ice over all the coils. Hair dryer melted it out, and then i found the defrost heater on the bottom was bad, since the element was broken. I wound the element around itself where it broke, and got another 6 months out of it (i had the new heater, it was 15$), then replaced. Worked fine for 6 months, and burned out.(bought generic chinese heater that fit, so thats what i get) the new heater came with dual coils, and a lil wiring job. I’m here cuz my fridge/freezer started fluctuating in temp, and now the fan is hitting ice.


Gloria November 23, 2014 at 3:48 pm

My GE Profile refrigerator went out yesterday with the blinking “hrs” in the refrigerator section. I assumed it was the main control board. Today it came back on but there is a burnt smell when I open the refrigerator door. It’s been on for 5 or 6 hours and the freezer is at 16 degrees and the frig at 47 degrees. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.


The Handyguys December 2, 2014 at 8:36 am

The issue sounds different then the one we fixed in this video. The fix might be the same though.


Tara December 3, 2014 at 10:23 pm

My ge profile pds22mbsaww seems to continuously run and then quit. If you unplug it for a couple hours it will start again. I changed the main board and fridge and freezer thermistors. The condensor fan won’t spin. The temp display quit after changing the board. Getting frustrated.


The Handyguys December 4, 2014 at 8:51 am

Ugg that stinks. If the display stopped after the board swap I would be concerned you have the correct board or a faulty board. If you got the board through our Repair Clinic partner they are very good about exchanges and returns. I would try another board.


Tara December 4, 2014 at 12:16 pm

The temp display worked before I switched the board. I tried putting the old one back on and it doesn’t come on with that one now too!! I bought the board off amazon.


The Handyguys December 4, 2014 at 4:32 pm

I’m at a loss. Maybe its time to call a pro or get a new fridge.


Tara December 4, 2014 at 4:34 pm

Ok thanks for your time…


Rusty December 14, 2014 at 7:37 pm

I have a mini GE. It’s quit cooling. The compressor was hot and there was ice on one of the lines in the back. I unplugged in overnight and when I plugged it in, it did the same thing. Is there a fix for this?


The Handyguys December 15, 2014 at 10:21 am

Its probably a bad compressor or leaked coolant. May be cheaper to replace it.


Julie December 27, 2014 at 10:25 pm

I got up this morning and my fridge was really warm, so my fiancée thawed the motor and fan. Now the fridge is working fine, but the freezer is 27 degrees, and things are starting to thaw out. Any suggestions?


The Handyguys December 28, 2014 at 8:52 am

Make sure all the coils are clean. You may have a Freon leak or a bad compressor.


jim meyer January 20, 2015 at 11:29 am

I have a GE profile arctia model # PSS27SGMD BS that is icing up in the back of the freezer. It is not cold enough to freeze anything. Should I thaw everything out and try it again??? Does the control panel have to be replaced? Is there somthing that I can do to repair it or do I have to call a repair man.????


Mike February 2, 2015 at 3:22 pm

Sounds like a failed hearing element to me! You can buy them online. The fix is do-able if you’re relatively handy; I had mine done by a repairman for about $150, but I wish I’d done it myself.


Nancy February 16, 2015 at 5:11 pm

We were just given a GE Profile Arctica model PSC23SHRCSS. My friend says it was working fine. She cleaned it out and threw out all the ice. When we connected it at home, the lights turned on inside, but the compressor and fan won’t turn on. What should we be looking for to get it to work?


The Handyguys February 19, 2015 at 4:12 pm

There could be an on/off switch along with the temperature settings. Check the obvious stuff first, lol. After that, I would be suspicious of damage during transport. If they are transported on their side the compressor can be damaged. Things could also be frozen if they are outside in the cold. If its could during transport or in a garage, I would try again when the fridge gets to room temp.


Dave March 4, 2015 at 5:21 pm

Hello, looking for some help please. Same issue as others have had on here, the freezer would be too cold with the fridge not being cold enough. I replaced the motherboard last night and when I was finished it was telling me that the freezer was 0 and the fridge was 14, before starting the repair the freezer was at 0 and the fridge at 37. Now its showing me that the freezer is at 0 and the fridge is 32, how ever inside of my fridge is actually more like room temperature. Any idea’s….. Thanks


Terry March 18, 2015 at 12:43 pm

GE Side-by-Side GSS22JEMC WW freezes up on the rear panel of the freezer and gets warm. Replaced mother board, replaced heater element, replaced thermostat, replaced three temperature sensors. Side-by-Side runs fine for a couple of months and then freezes up on the rear panel again. Turn off fridge and defrost it and it repeats in working good for a couple of months and then the rear panel of the freezer again freezes up. Noticed that both the fridge and the freezer appear to get colder just before the freezer rear panel frosts over again.


Dianne April 29, 2015 at 11:57 pm

I have a GE fridge about 10 years old, freezer on the bottom. The display settings for the temperature of the fridge and freezer are not working. I tried unplugging it for a few minutes and when I plugged it back in the settings came on but when I tried to reset the temperature the settings disappeared again. I tried the unplugging again but the settings did not come back on…..suggestions? ??


Joel May 23, 2015 at 7:31 pm

Hi handyguys.

Was working with electrical stuff in house. Everything was working normally . Turned off breakers while working. Finished work and turned breakers back on. Everything came on except fridge – GE Profile upper compartment is side by side and lower is a fridge drawer about 4 years old. Pulled it out and unplugged it. Checked to make sure outlet was powered – it was. Looked for a reset switch but could not find one. Plugged it back in and checked cord -powered…checked back of fridge electronics – powered….pulled board on front (temp control/door alarm/etc – powered….ice maker light is green -powered….BUT nothing on the display lights up…no cooling going on throughout top/bottom and no lights on on the inside…this seems like a control board problem, but would that happen simply because of the breaker being turned off then on again?? Seems oftly fragile for something that should be able to withstand power disconnection. Any thoughts?? Thanks for any help you can bring!


Ken Braden June 21, 2015 at 5:46 pm

I had the same experience as Joel. Cycled my home power off and back on. Now the lights on the control panel will not come on. The lights inside the unit are on, but the control panel does not seem to be working. What is the solution?


Tom May 31, 2015 at 5:36 pm

I have a G.E.profile french door fridge. The fridge stays cold but the freezer temp. goes up.


huaibin lu June 13, 2015 at 11:17 am

i have a ge profile (17 years old). the compressor stopped running though the lights are on.


The Handyguys June 15, 2015 at 3:47 pm

Probably time to go shopping.


Melissa June 16, 2015 at 10:20 pm

I have a GE Profile Artica with the freezer on the top. It is probably over 20 years old.
The digital display shows the freezer at 11 degrees and was 15 degrees earlier. It is set a zero but won’t go below 9. The fridge is at 38 which is where it is set. The panel with this display all the way to the bottom of the freezer from the top of the fridge is hot to the touch.
The fridge will run and turn off regularly. The fridge items are cold but the freezer items are always soft with ice cubes taking over half a day to freeze.
Do you know what may need to be fixed on this?


The Handyguys June 17, 2015 at 11:43 am

It could be many different things. The easy things to check would be.
1) The door gasket – Is it clean and in good shape or is it cracked and damaged not making a good seal.
2) The coils – are the coils clean? Usually the coils are on the back of the fridge. Clean them with a vacuum with brush attachment even if they look sort of clean.
3) the fan (Under neath near the back) – make sure the fan blades are clean and not obstructed. You may also have a kick plate at the bottom front that allows air circulation, make sure that is clean too.

The above things are easy and do not cost anything. Clean up everything you can see and then report back. Did this help any?


Jenny June 17, 2015 at 11:08 pm

We have a ge pds22sfsaraa today the fridge stop cooking and the freezer as well, you can feel the cool air blowing in but frezzer is 28, took the back off and cleaned compressor is hot hot and so are coils, all fans seem to be running. Too fridge bottom pull out freezer, I noticed set lights only stay on for a second after I change temps I’m sure before they stayed on, any help would be appreciated


The Handyguys June 21, 2015 at 8:15 am

check the coils are clean.


Russ June 27, 2015 at 5:21 pm

My GE model GTS201CNAWW trips the breaker. I removed lower rear cover and disconnected the wired connection to the black “compressor”? Still trips. Disconnected wired connection on right side next to water connection. Stil trips breaker. No fan, no motor runs. Only interior light works.


bill p July 13, 2015 at 8:01 am

I have an ice cream truck with a three compartment nelson freezer, The problem is all three compartments are registering temps. and freezer is not shutting down. i had a local vendor install guages to confirm there was no leak and i installed a neww thermostat. Issue is still happening where i have thermostat almost up to its highest setting and comparment closest to freezer is 5 below (leaving ice cream soft) middle compartment is 20 below and compartment furthest away is 15 below.. freezer constantly runs because it hasn’t been temp. satified any thoughts


Kate July 13, 2015 at 2:45 pm

We have a GE side by side. Freezer works fine, but ‘fridge side doesn’t get cold enough. Repair man changed the fan today. He thought that was the issue. It’s been 2 hours, temp put up to 7 and it’s still not as cold as it should be. Ideas?


Mike July 21, 2015 at 6:02 pm

I have a GE side by side model # PSB42YSHSS. I came home from vacation and the fridge and freezer were warming up. I turned it off over night and turned it back on in the morning. The fridge will cool fine when the power is initially turned on, but once it shuts off automatically it won’t come back on and start cooling. We had a lightning storm and think there may have been a power surge because my stereo won’t turn on as well. Does this sound like I need to replace the control board, or is it time to get a professional out?


heather July 23, 2015 at 7:15 pm

I have a GE side by side. We had a brown out (lights flickered probably six or seven times) recently and woke up the next day and the fridge had stopped working but the lights still come on. Tried unplugging and took the panel off to look at the fuse where the controls are because it wasn’t displaying anything. Help Handy mom on a tight budget


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