There are few components to troubleshoot and fix if a GE refrigerator and freezer are not getting cold. This article discusses the issue and how to fix it.
Table of Contents
GE Refrigerator Not Getting Cold – What to Do
Do the following if your GE refrigerator is not getting cold at all or is not getting cold enough:
1. Set the Temperature
Check the setting of the temperature of your refrigerator. The freezer section should be at 0 degrees F while the refrigerating section should be at 37 degrees F. The freezer should not exceed 40 degrees and the refrigerator should not exceed 5 degrees F.
How you set the temperature of your refrigerator will depend on the model. Therefore, consult the user manual for the unit or check out this article here to learn how to perform this task.
2. Clean the Condenser Coils
Disconnect the refrigerator from electric power and move it to access the bottom back panel. Open the panel and, with a vacuum cleaner, remove dust and dirt from the coils.
If the vacuum cleaner does not get all the dust, use a condenser brush or soft cloth to remove the rest. Then, clean up the floor around the refrigerator to remove any trace of dust and dirt. Otherwise, it will find its way back on the coils.
Reconnect the refrigerator to power and wait to see if there is any change in its cooling capacity.
The coils cool the refrigerant so that it doesn’t transfer heat to the refrigerator. But if they are dirty, the heat from the refrigerant will transfer to the unit. You may end up with a refrigerator that is not cooling, even if the freezer is cold.
This step also applies when a GE refrigerator and freezer are not getting cold.
3. Inspect the Door Gasket
Open the door of the refrigerator and check the gasket. It should lie tight to the door edge, without shifting. But if any part of it is loose, you don’t need to replace it. Simply adjust it with a small screwdriver.
With the screwdriver, push the loose part of the gasket into the door frame. Do this until it sits tight.
However, if you suspect the gasket is weak or damaged, test it to be sure. Get a piece of paper or a dollar bill and close the unit’s door on it. Then, see if you can pull the paper or bill out without opening the door.
If you successfully pull it out, it is time to replace the gasket because it is weak. A weak or damaged gasket easily compromises the temperature in the refrigerator. Over time, the unit may stop cooling altogether.
In addition, ensure that there is no large item inside the refrigerator keeping the door from closing and sealing properly.
We would like to point out here that a refrigerator with poor leveling can also stop cooling. This is because the door won’t be able to swing shut on its own. As a result, you may find the door partially open most of the time.
Adjust the rollers or legs of the refrigerator in such a way that the front of the unit is slightly higher than the back. Do this until you find the door closing automatically when it is opened at an angle of 45 degrees, which is halfway.
As with the others above, this troubleshooting step applies to the problem of a GE refrigerator and freezer not getting cold.
4. Replace the Thermistor
Check the continuity of the thermistor by attaching a multimeter to it. When you do this, you should find the resistance of the component changing. That is as long as the temperature in the refrigerator keeps changing. With this, you know the thermistor is in good working condition.
However, if the resistance remains the same and there is no continuity, replace the thermistor. In this case, you may have to rely on just checking the continuity because the refrigerator is not cooling.
The thermistor keeps an eye on the internal temperature of the refrigerator. What it finds is what it sends to the control board. And with the findings of the thermistor, the board is able to tell how much power to regulate to the evaporator fan and compressor.
So if the thermistor fails, there would no temperature reading. Even if there is one, it may be wrong. As a result, there won’t be enough cold air from the cooling system and the refrigerator will stop getting cold.
5. Rearrange the Content
Take a look inside the refrigerator. If you overstuffed it, take some of the items out and store them elsewhere. It is possible that some of them are blocking the air vents so no cold air is able to enter.
In the same vein, check the freezer. Overstuffing will reduce the amount of cold air circulating and entering the refrigerator. Don’t pack the compartment too full so that there will be better air circulation.
Otherwise, the refrigerator won’t cool as it should or even at all. This is especially true where there is no twin cooling system.
Doing this may solve the problem of a GE refrigerator and freezer not getting cold.
6. Check the Evaporator Coils
Open the inside back wall of the freezer compartment and inspect the coils. While it is normal for them to be cold or even have a light coating of frost, it is abnormal to have too much frost.
So if you find an accumulation of frost or ice on them, thaw it immediately. You can opt to use a hair dryer or simply defrost the freezer manually.
But that would mean turning off the power supply to the unit, storing food in another freezer and leaving the door open for more than 12 hours.
However, this takes care of the frost but only temporarily. A component in the defrost system has failed, causing the frost to build up.
Due to the importance of the coils, it is important to find the defective component and replace it. If you are not sure about how to do this, have a refrigerator service agent assess and fix it.
The evaporator coils cool the air which the fan passes over them. If they are frozen, they cannot cool the air. Consequently, even though the freezer may remain cold, you will find that the refrigerator is not cooling.
7. Change the Evaporator Fan Motor
If the blades of the fan don’t turn smoothly, the motor is probably faulty. And if the motor is unusually loud, replace it because it has failed.
However, if you want to be absolutely sure, check the motor for continuity using a multimeter. If there is no continuity, replace the motor as soon as possible.
When the cooling coils cool the air, it is the evaporator fan that spreads it inside the freezer. Then, the air goes into the refrigerator through the vents or damper.
Now, if the fan motor becomes faulty, the fan cannot work. So, the refrigerator will get no cool air. Sometimes, even the freezer stops cooling as well.
8. Check the Ambient Temperature
The temperature surrounding the refrigerator should not go above 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, it should not drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. These are the best temperature ranges for the refrigerator to work.
Otherwise, you may find that the GE refrigerator and freezer are not getting cold properly or not cooling at all.
9. Be Sure Lights Go Off
Slowly close the door of the refrigerator. When there is about one inch of space left between the frame and the door, you should see the lights go off. So if this does not happen, the refrigerator will have a hard time cooling due to the heat from the light.
Additionally, if you uninstalled and reinstalled the door of the unit, you need to check if you aligned it properly. Poor alignment can affect whether or not the lights go off. Therefore, check the user manual for instructions on proper door alignment.
10. Ensure Air Clearance
There should be, at least, one inch of space between the refrigerator and the surrounding walls and roof. This is a general rule that helps air clearance around the unit.
But specific spacing varies from one model to another. Therefore, it is important to check your unit’s manual to know how to correctly create space for air clearance.
If the Refrigerator Is New…
Give it time to cool properly, about 24 hours. Be sure to set the temperature according to the manual.
Contact GE Cares to report the issue and request service if 24 hours elapse and the unit still is not cooling.
However, if you recently serviced the refrigerator, it may be in diagnostic mode. Unplug it from power, wait 30 seconds and reconnect it. Doing this resets the control panel.
Note: These troubleshooting and repair steps apply to different refrigerator problems, including the GE refrigerator and freezer not getting cold. And it works for all models of GE refrigerators.
Here is a video showing common reasons why a GE refrigerator is not cooling and how to fix them…
Check out these other articles…
GE Freezer Not Getting Cold – Solutions
If you find that a GE freezer is not getting cold or is not cold enough, do the following to solve the problem:
1. Check the Evaporator Fan Motor
Since the fan is in the freezer section, you will have to activate the door switch. That is after opening the door of the freezer.
When you open the door, the motor should go off. That is automatic. But the activation of the switch should turn the motor on again, even with the door open. So if this does not happen, replace the motor.
The fan takes air and pulls it over the cooling coils to cool it. Then, it circulates the air throughout the freezer when it becomes cold. If the fan stops working, the freezer stops getting cold.
2. Check the Condenser Coils
Shift the freezer to check the coils. Remove the grille that covers them, as well as the compressor.
If the coils are dirty, use a vacuum cleaner to remove the dust and dirt. For further cleaning, use a damp soapy cloth to wipe them. Doing this also removes grease.
Dirty coils affect the ability of the unit to work in removing heat from the refrigerant. So if they are dirty, the heat goes into the unit, causing it to stop cooling over time.
Note: If the coils are are within the walls, there’s no need to check them. Some models have coils that are located within the walls of the freezer.
3. Check the Start Relay
Disconnect the freezer from electric power and detach the relay from the side of the compressor. Test it with a multimeter to check for continuity between the two terminal points.
If there is no continuity or it rattles when shaken, replace the component. Additionally, if it smells as if it is burnt, replace it.
The compressor gets power from the relay to run. Now, if the relay fails, the compressor is likely not to run. Even if it runs, it may run only intermittently. And if the compressor does not run, the freezer won’t get cold.
4. Check the Condenser Fan Motor
Turn the blades of the fan to be sure they turn smoothly. If they do, the motor is likely working well. But if they don’t, it is likely the motor is bad because the bearings are worn.
To be sure, test the motor with a multimeter to check for continuity. If there is no continuity, replace the motor.
The condenser fan pulls air through the condenser coils to cool them. It also cools the compressor. If the fan motor fails, the coils will overheat and transfer it to the freezer.
5. Check the Evaporator Coils
If the coils, which are behind the inside wall of the freezer, have ice or frost on them, melt it. Do this by defrosting the freezer manually or using a hair dryer.
Frozen coils cannot release cold air. If the evaporator fan passes air over them in the frozen state, they won’t be able to cool the air. As a result, the freezer won’t have the cool air it needs to work.
However, check the defrost system in the unit. Ice on the coils means something has failed in the defrost system. Troubleshoot different components – defrost timer, defrost thermostat, defrost heater and defrost control board – to see which one is bad. Then, replace it.
6. Check the Temperature Control Thermostat
Turn the thermostat, taking it to the highest point from low. If there is an audible click when the thermostat gets to this setting, it is working well.
But if there is no audible click, the component is likely defective. To be sure, test it with a multimeter to check for continuity. And if there is no continuity, replace the component.
The freezer is likely not to get cold if the thermostat malfunctions. This is because the component is responsible for directing voltage to the fan motors and compressor. So a bad one can’t power the cooling system, making the freezer not to get cold.
Other components to check in the freezer are the compressor and main control board. While they may fail, it hardly happens. Therefore, ensure you troubleshoot other components first before checking the compressor and control board.
In the event of not finding any fault in the other components, consider the sealed system. It may have sprung a leak.
To determine this, check the evaporator coils. If just one section has ice on it, it is a pointer that the system may be leaking. The same is true if only one freezer shelf is cold.
However, find a certified refrigerator service technician to check the freezer. This way, you will be sure it is a leak. You may have to replace the freezer if this is the case. But let the expert advice you on the best solution.
GE Fridge Top Shelf Not Cold – Quick Fix
If you find that the top shelf in a GE fridge is not cold, it could be a problem with the sealed system. One of the tell-tale signs of a leak in the system is the top shelf alone cooling or not cooling.
But before checking the sealed system, check the air vents to see if anything is blocking them. Move items around to make for better airflow and be sure nothing is resting on the back wall.
Also, ensure the evaporator coils and fan are not frozen. If they are, defrost the unit manually to thaw the ice. Then, check the defrost system components to determine which of them has failed. Replace any defective component.
At the end, you may have to replace the freezer if a leak in the sealed system is the problem.
To fix a GE refrigerator and freezer that is not getting cold, check the following:
- Condenser coils
- Fan motors
- Evaporator coils
- Start relay
- Door gasket
- Temperature setting
- Food load
- Ambient temperature
…and other things as listed in this article.
If you are not sure of troubleshooting and fixing the unit yourself, contact GE Cares to report the issue and request service. This is especially if the refrigerator still has an active warranty.
But for an independent and affordable service, use the chat box to your right to chat with any of our appliance technicians. There is no need to make an appointment or wait. Best of all, there is no need for an expensive in-house call.
Finally, remember to unplug the refrigerator or freezer before fixing any part of it if you are doing the repairs yourself. Doing this keeps you safe from electric shock.