How to Defrost a KitchenAid Refrigerator [Quick Guide]

Defrosting a refrigerator should be a simple task. So in this article, we discuss how to defrost a KitchenAid refrigerator.

how to defrost a KitchenAid refrigerator

How to Unclog the Defrost Drain in a KitchenAid Refrigerator

To unclog the defrost drain in a KitchenAid refrigerator, mix warm water with vinegar and pour it down the drain hole. This removes ice or debris from the drain hole. Pour the water until it is clear and runs free.

Alternatively, you can use a turkey baster or a syringe to squirt the water down the drain hole. Also, in place of water, you can use a stiff stick or a screwdriver to clear the drain. But you need to do this carefully and gently.

How to Force Defrost a KitchenAid Refrigerator

To force defrost a KitchenAid refrigerator, do the following:

1. Open the door of the refrigerator and press the button for the door alarm and hold it.

2. Now, press the button that reduces the temperature for the refrigerator section (refrigerator down button) and hold the button.

3. Release the button for the door alarm, and after about 3 seconds, the code Fd will appear on the control panel display on the left.

4. Press the button that reduces the refrigerator temperature (refrigerator down button) a second time. SH will appear on the control panel display on the right.

5. For the third time, press the button that reduces the refrigerator temperature. Fd and SH will start blinking on the panel’s display, showing that the refrigerator has gone into defrost mode.

Note: These steps also apply to a KitchenAid bottom freezer refrigerator.

How to Defrost a KitchenAid Refrigerator – Manual Steps

To manually defrost a KitchenAid refrigerator, take the following steps:

1. Turn the Refrigerator Off

Unplug the refrigerator from the wall outlet to turn it off. If you cannot reach the wall outlet, shut down the circuit breaker for that part of the house.

2. Empty the Freezer

Remove every item in the freezer and store them in another freezer or a cooler. This is to preserve the perishables and retain some of the coldness.

3. Leave the Door Open

For the duration of the defrost process, it is necessary to leave the door of the freezer open. This speeds up the defrost process. Putting a bowl of hot water in the freezer also helps to speed up the defrost cycle. Give it time to work, at least 8 hours. If the ice buildup is high, you may have to leave it for about 24 hours.

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4. Mop Up Water

Place towels around the edge of the refrigerator to absorb dripping water. Also, place a pan at the base to catch any excess water.

When all the ice melts, take a dry towel and clean the inside of the freezer until it is completely dry.

5. Turn the Refrigerator On

Plug the refrigerator back in or turn on the circuit breaker to power the unit. Give it time to resume normal operations, at least 24 hours. After this time, put food items back inside it. These steps apply to all KitchenAid refrigerator models, including the bottom freezer and French-door models.

KitchenAid Refrigerator Freezer Not Defrosting – How to Fix

If you find that your KitchenAid refrigerator freezer is not defrosting, it may be a problem with the automatic defrost system. It may also be due to ice buildup from condensation, a faulty fan motor, or a clogged defrost drain.

1. Defrost System

Start with the defrost timer because it regulates the defrost cycle. Use the manual to find its exact location, although it may be behind the temperature control housing inside the refrigerator or at the back of the unit. Use a small flat-head screwdriver to rotate the timer counterclockwise to see if the refrigerator advances into a defrost cycle.

If the timer does not advance the refrigerator out of a defrost cycle in thirty minutes, it may be faulty. If unsure, use a multimeter to test its functionality. Replace the timer if it has no continuity. But if the timer works well, check the defrost heater. It is attached to the bottom of the evaporator coils.

Use a multimeter to test its continuity. You will find the correct values on the refrigerator’s tech sheet taped to the back of the unit. If the reading on the multimeter is incorrect or the heater has no continuity, replace it. Follow the same steps to test the defrost thermostat if the heater is in good working condition. The thermostat is fixed at the top of the coils.

Another part to check is the defrost control board. Although the board rarely fails, power surges and other factors can wear it out. Since it governs the functions of the system, it is crucial to ensure it is in good order. Otherwise, replace it.

2. Ice Buildup

The refrigerator may have a problem of excessive ice buildup with which the defrost cannot keep up. If that is the case, and you notice a large amount of frost on the evaporator coils, ensure the door gasket seals tightly and, the condenser coils are not significantly dirty.

Clean the gasket and test it with a dollar bill. Close the refrigerator door on the bill and try pulling it out. If you can pull it out, the gasket is weak, and you should replace it. Otherwise, clean the condenser coils with a vacuum and repeat the cleaning process once or twice a year.

3. Defective Fan Motor

The freezer or evaporator fan circulates the cold air in the appliance. If the freezer stops defrosting, it may be because there is too much cold air for the defrost system to handle. Also, the system cannot distribute the warm air evenly, causing a concentration of cold in the freezer, leading to freezing.

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In such a case, replace the fan motor or the entire fan assembly if you test it with a multimeter and there is no continuity or the blade is damaged. Ensure every other part functions well, and there is no ice buildup on or around the coils.

4. Clogged Drain

Food crumbs and other debris can clog the defrost drain and prevent proper drainage. Clear the drain following the steps in this article to encourage proper defrost when necessary.

How to Replace the Defrost Heater in a KitchenAid Refrigerator

To replace the defrost heater in a KitchenAid refrigerator, here are the steps to follow:

1. Turn the Refrigerator Off

Unplug the refrigerator from the wall socket or turn off the circuit breaker. This is the first step for fixing any electrical appliance.

2. Empty the Freezer

Open the door of the freezer. Remove the food baskets first. Then, detach the shelves from the spacers and holes and take them out.

3. Expose the Evaporator Coils

Unscrew the four screws holding the top panel at the back of the freezer in place and remove the panel. Then, remove the bottom panel by rotating it and pulling it out. Once they are out of the way, you will see the evaporator coils. The defrost heater is found at the bottom of the coils with its wires wrapped around their right side.

4. Disconnect the Wires

Disconnect the wire harness that holds the heater to the thermostat and the wall of the freezer and unthread the wire of the heater from around the right side of the coils. With a needle-nose pair of pliers, detach the aluminium clip that holds the heater secure to the bottom of the coils and pull the heater out.

5. Install the New Heater

Put the new heater in the place of the old one. Replace the clip with the pliers and thread the heater up the right side of the coils. Clip the thermostat to the copper tubing at the top and reconnect the wire harness attached to the heater.

6. Put the Freezer Back Together

Mount the bottom back panel back in place and secure the top panel with the four screws using a ¼ nut driver. Slide the shelves back in and replace the food baskets.

7. Turn the Refrigerator On

Plug the refrigerator back in or turn on the circuit breaker to power the refrigerator. Contact the KitchenAid Service Center to buy an original defrost heater for your KitchenAid refrigerator model.

This video shows, in detail, how to replace the defrost heater in a side-by-side refrigerator…

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KitchenAid Refrigerator Defrost Water Leak – How to Fix

If your KitchenAid refrigerator is leaking water during the defrost cycle, check the following:

1. Defrost Drain

If the defrost drain is frozen or clogged with dirt, it will stop water from melted ice from leaving. Instead, the water will back up into the pan and overflow, leaking out from under the refrigerator.

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Therefore, check the defrost drain and clean it if it is clogged or frozen. With warm water in a syringe or turkey baster, squirt it into the drain to defrost the ice. You can also mix some warm water with vinegar and pour it down the drain to clear dirt or ice.

Alternatively, clean the drain with a stiff wire or a screwdriver to clear it of debris. Then, pour warm water down the drain to further clean it. Keep pouring the water until it is clean and runs without restriction.

2. Drain Pan

Inspect the drain pan to see if there are cracks in it. Also, check to see if it is frozen. This will explain why there is a water leak.

If the pan has any crack on it, then it can no longer hold water and needs to be replaced. But if it is frozen, pour hot water into it to defrost the ice and check the defrost drain line to be sure nothing is causing water to back up into the pan and freeze there.

KitchenAid Refrigerator Stuck in Defrost Mode – What to Do

If a KitchenAid refrigerator is stuck in defrost mode, check the defrost timer. It is the most probable reason for this problem. If it is broken, then it could be stuck in the defrost cycle and not advance into the cooling cycle so the unit can cool.

Locate the defrost timer for the KitchenAid refrigerator model you have. Using a flathead screwdriver, rotate it counterclockwise until it clicks. If it clicks, then it is defective and needs to be replaced. This is because it should advance automatically; it should not have to be moved manually before it advances.

KitchenAid Refrigerator Will Not Defrost – Solution

One or more of the components of the defrost system is defective if a KitchenAid refrigerator will not defrost.

Check the defrost heater. With a multimeter, test the heater to check for continuity. If there is no continuity, replace the defrost heater.

But if the heater is working fine, then check the defrost timer. Turn it counterclockwise with a screwdriver until you hear a click. If you hear the click, then the timer needs to be replaced because it is defective. Normally, it should advance into the defrost cycle automatically if it is working fine.

However, if the heater and the timer are not defective, it is time to check the defrost thermostat or the defrost control board. You will find the thermostat at the top of the evaporator coils, right where the defrost heater is connected with a wire harness. And you will find the defrost control board in the control console inside the refrigerator.

Quick Note

It is important to consult the owner’s manual of your KitchenAid refrigerator if you find it difficult to defrost the unit. You can also contact any of our experienced refrigerator technicians or call KitchenAid service center to direct on what to do.

Stop! Before repairing your appliance, unplug it from the wall socket. If the wall socket is out of reach, turn off the circuit breaker for that part of the house. Doing this protects you from electrocution.

Additionally, wear work gloves if you have any, to protect your hands while working on any electrical appliance, especially if the appliance is a refrigerator or a freezer.

How to Defrost a KitchenAid Refrigerator – Related FAQs

1. Where Is the Defrost Drain on a KitchenAid Refrigerator?

The defrost drain on a KitchenAid refrigerator is found at the base of the freezer, right at the back of it.

2. Where Is the Defrost Thermostat in a KitchenAid Refrigerator Located?

The defrost thermostat in a KitchenAid refrigerator is located at the top of the evaporator coils, where the wire harness of the defrost heater is connected.

3. Where Is the Defrost Timer on a KitchenAid Refrigerator?

The defrost timer on a KitchenAid refrigerator is behind the utility panel. It is either at the bottom front part or the top of the unit. This is dependent on the model of the KitchenAid refrigerator you have.

4. Where Is the Location of the Defrost Control Board in a KitchenAid Refrigerator?

The defrost control board in a KitchenAid refrigerator is found within the control console inside the fresh food compartment.

5. How Long Is the Defrost Cycle of a KitchenAid Refrigerator?

The defrost cycle of a KitchenAid refrigerator is at least 18 minutes long. The defrost heater turns on and warms the cooling coils for about 18 minutes or until the bi-metal thermostat opens.

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