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GE Refrigerator Not Cooling Troubleshooting and Repair

by The Handyguys

in Audio Podcasts, Radio

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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 gss25tsre.ss). 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 stopped cooling correctly. 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 http://www.applianceblog.com/mainforums/ 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:


{ 49 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!

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sean blume February 8, 2012 at 8:02 pm

nice blog and nice refrigerator

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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.

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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.

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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 http://www.applianceblog.com/mainforums/ (no connection to our site). These guys know their stuff and I found some good information there when I was troubleshooting my issues.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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!

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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The Handyguys August 22, 2013 at 7:42 am

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

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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.”

Thoughts?

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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?

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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.

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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?

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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?

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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

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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.

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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?

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The Handyguys August 5, 2014 at 10:50 am

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

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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.

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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.

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Ty August 14, 2014 at 7:30 pm

I have a GE profile 21.5 cub ft. Model. TBX22PRB THAT ICE CREEM IS SOFT IN FREEZER AND MILK IS NOT COLD ANOUGH IN FRIGE I THINK I KNOW WHAT’S WRONG I’M JUST POSTING TO GET MORE INFERMATION I HAVN’T YET TOOK IT APART CAUSE FOR ONE I DON’T HAVE A READER AND NO WHERE TO PUT FOOD IN EVERYBODY IN MY FAMILY THINKS IT’S LOW ON FREON I DON’T THINK SO

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crazycraigwv August 22, 2014 at 7:25 am

TY-
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Tara December 4, 2014 at 4:34 pm

Ok thanks for your time…

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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?

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The Handyguys December 15, 2014 at 10:21 am

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

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