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Determining if freezer defrost heater is bad

I have a GE GSL25JFPBS side by side where the defrost coils keep freezing up. I changed the defrost thermostat. I checked continuity on the old one and it was continuous below freezing and at room temperature, so I wonder if the circuit stayed closed long enough to burn something out.

Replacing the defrost thermostat alone did not fix the problem. I'm looking at the defrost heater now, which I can see has some carbon buildup in it.

I saw a Youtube video that said check the resistance and make sure it has less than 50 ohms. When I check the resistance, I get about 20 ohms. When I test it for continuity, my multimeter doesn't beep. How do I know if it needs to be replaced?

If it's not the defrost thermostat or defrost heater, what should I check next?

Re: Determining if freezer defrost heater is bad

It could be the defrost element.

How old is the fridge?

Re: Determining if freezer defrost heater is bad

I had a similar experience over a year ago. I took a hair dryer and thoroughly melted the ice, and then checked the fit of the doors. Turns out it was two things: cleaning and lubricating the seals - and reminding my wife to make sure the doors were shut all the way before she walked away.

Re: Determining if freezer defrost heater is bad

Can't help you with the whole problem, but if the resistance is 20 ohms, your meter may not beep on the continuity setting. Usually, continuity testing requires a very low resistance, like a couple of ohms or less.

Re: Determining if freezer defrost heater is bad

Speaking in generalities here, but....

My appliance repairman expert tells me that today's appliances are junk and not to expect them to last, especially the cheaper models. They're not like they used to be no matter who makes them. Defrost timer failures are common and his 'fix' is to tap on them with a hammer which will free up sticky parts and contacts. This will usually get you working for a year or two, and if it doesn't then it's time to replace parts. The defrost element is essentially a high-resistance wire so any continuity check should work, but also check for shorts and that power is reaching it when the timer calls for it. Of course the cheap solution is to defrost it the old-fashioned way when it needs it. I still remember my Granny heating pots of water on the stove for this with her ancient GE fridge :)


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