If you’re always scraping off large blocks of ice to access your frozen food, your Frigidaire refrigerator likely has a defrosting issue. Like most refrigeration systems, Frigidaire refrigerators often fall victim to ice formation on the evaporator coils. This will make it difficult to move things in and out of the freezer and cause it to work harder to keep your food cold.
Frigidaire refrigerator is not defrosting because the defrost heater is not working properly. The defrost heater melts the frost on the evaporator coils. Other times, the defrost timer could be faulty. The defrost timer controls the time the refrigerator spends in the defrost cycle.
In this article, we look closely at the most common reasons why your frigidaire refrigerator is not defrosting and what you can do to fix it.
1. Malfunctioning Defrosting Thermostat
Before we further troubleshoot your unit, make sure you disconnect the unit from the main power supply to avoid electric shocks.
The defrost thermostat controls the amount of frost build-up in your system by signaling the defrost heater to turn on or off. It activates the defrost heater when the unit’s temperature falls below a certain threshold.
When the coil reaches the correct temperature, the defrost thermostat will prompt the heating element to shut down. This prevents your frozen food from getting warm.
How To Fix?
A malfunctioning defrost thermostat needs to be replaced.
- First, locate the thermostat inside the fridge and detach it from the wiring harness. It is usually mounted on control housing in the fresh food section.
- Once you have located it, unplug the fridge and remove the thermostat from its housing.
- Next, insert a new thermostat for your specific unit model into the housing.
- Make sure that it is correctly positioned (preferably at the exact spot you found your old thermostat) so that it can properly sense the temperature inside the fridge.
- Finally, plug the refrigerator back in and turn it on.
The new thermostat should now function properly.
2. Faulty Thermal Fuse
A thermal fuse is a device that protects electrical appliances from overheating. It is a safety device that trips when the refrigerator gets too hot. Thermal fuses are common in refrigerators, as they help to prevent the fridge’s defrost heater from overloading and overheating.
While a thermal fuse can be a lifesaver, it is not infallible. If the thermal fuse trips, you should replace it. Fortunately, replacing the thermal fuse is a simple process that you can do in about 30 minutes.
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How To Fix?
First, you need to test and confirm that you’re dealing with a blown-out thermal fuse:
- Find the fuse at the back of the refrigerator and use a digital
multimeterto test for continuity. Hold the two multimeterprobes against each terminal while set to continuity. Depending on your multimeter, you may register a value of 0 or 1. The latter means there is no continuity, and you need to replace the fuse. Some multimeters display “O.L” to display an open loop (no continuity).
- The thermal fuse may be inside an electrical box or the rear panel, in the control board, or next to the compressor. You will need a Phillips screwdriver to unscrew any screws holding it in place.
- Next, install the new fuse and make sure it is firmly seated.
- Turn the power to the refrigerator back on and test it to ensure it works properly.
If the defrost heater does not restore normal function after replacing the thermal fuse, there may be another issue that needs to be addressed.
3. Faulty Defrost Timer
A refrigerator’s defrost timer is a small device that controls the refrigerator’s defrost cycle. It turns the defrost heater on and off at set intervals to melt any frost built up on the evaporator coils. Without this crucial component, your fridge’s defrost heater would be unable to turn on and off at set intervals.
Fortunately, this is a relatively easy repair that can be completed in a few minutes.
How To Fix?
If you notice that your fridge is not cooling properly or that ice is building up on the coils, it’s likely that the defrost timer has gone bad and needs to be replaced immediately.
- First, confirm that the timer is indeed the problem. You can do this by marking the timer shaft and leaving it for a couple of hours. Watch the movement of the timer’s shaft by observing the location of the mark. Alternatively, you could try turning the shaft with a screwdriver and listen for a “click.”
- Once you’re certain that the motor is the problem, disconnect the unit from the main outlet.
- Next, you will need to purchase a replacement timer. Be sure to get a Frigidaire timer or one that is compatible with your unit.
- Once you have the new timer, connect it in place of the old one and replace the cover.
- Turn on the power to the freezer and check to see that it is now working correctly.
If the unit still doesn’t defrost, you may need to consult a professional for further assistance.
4. Malfunctioning Defrost Heater
A defrost heater is an electrical heating element that helps to remove ice build-up from the evaporator coils in a refrigerator. Over time, ice can build up on the evaporator coils, making it difficult to absorb heat from the refrigerator’s interior compartment.
When this happens, the refrigerator has to work harder to maintain the desired temperature, which can lead to higher energy bills. The defrost heater helps to solve this problem by periodically melting the ice build-up so that it can be drained away. As a result, the evaporator coils function more efficiently, saving energy and money.
How To Fix?
A faulty defrost heater should be replaced. But first, test yours for continuity with a
- Touch your
multimeterprobes against the defrost heater terminals and get a continuity reading. If you get an abnormal reading, it means that electricity cannot pass through, and you need to replace the heater.
- Remove the defrost heater and detach any wire harness connected to it.
- If the heater is held by screws, use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the screws.
- Install the new heater in place of the old one and cover your unit.
Turn the power back on and test the heater. If you place your hand close during the defrost cycle, the heater should feel warm.
A faulty defrost heater can also be the reason why a freezer has frost buildup. Check out my blog post for more information.
5. Damaged Defrost Temperature Sensor
The defrost temperature sensor communicates the temperature status to the control board during the defrost cycle.
This sensor is located near the evaporator coils and monitors the temperature of the coils. If the coils get too cold, the sensor will signal the control board to activate the defrost cycle. The defrost cycle will then raise the temperature of the coils to prevent them from freezing over.
How To Fix?
Luckily, a broken defrost temperature sensor is a relatively easy fix. You only need a Phillips head screwdriver and a few minutes.
- First, locate the sensor near the evaporator coils in your refrigerator and unscrew the head screws that hold it in place.
- Next, remove the wires from the terminals on the sensor and use a
multimeterto test for continuity. If there is no continuity, you should replace the sensor.
- Finally, reattach the new sensor and test it by setting your refrigerator to its lowest and allowing it to run for 24 hours.
If your Frigidaire refrigerator is not frosting, start by checking the temperature control sensors, timers, thermal fuses, and the defrost heater itself. However, don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you can’t pinpoint the problem.