Maytag Refrigerator Defrost [Problems & Solutions]

A Maytag refrigerator defrost function keeps the unit from freezing. But it is crucial to ensure the function works for the refrigerator’s optimal performance.

Maytag refrigerator defrost

Maytag Refrigerator Defrost Drain Clogged – Quick Fix

Locate the defrost inside the freezer section and see if anything is clogging it. Most times, ice covers the drain hole and prevents water from flowing out. Other times, dirt clogs the drain. Check out this article on how to unclog the defrost drain on a Maytag refrigerator to help you fix the unit.

Maytag Refrigerator Defrost Not Working – How to Fix

If the defrost system in your Maytag refrigerator is not working, the first step is to check the defrost system. Start with the defrost timer and move to other components of the system. Consult the user manual to determine the exact location of the timer in your specific model. Typically, it should be in the control panel, behind the toe grille at the bottom front, or at the back of the unit. When you find it, slowly turn it to advance it manually into its defrost position.

The refrigerator should automatically go into a defrost cycle if the timer is in good working condition. But if the timer does not advance the refrigerator into the defrost mode, which is the defrost heater turning on as the compressor goes off, or advance out within thirty minutes, you may want to test it with a multimeter to check for continuity. Replace the timer if there is no continuity.

The next component to check is the defrost control board. The control board governs how the defrost system runs. If the board shows signs of arcing or burning, or if the little relays are no longer working, consider replacing the board. But use a professional technician to check it properly because control boards are easy to misdiagnose.

Other parts to check are the defrost thermostat and the defrost heater. Run a continuity test on the defrost thermostat to see if there is continuity. The same goes for the heater. Replace both components if there is no continuity. 

The thermostat keeps an eye on the evaporator coils’ temperature and when it becomes too cold, the contacts in the thermostat close. When this happens, voltage flows to the heater so that it can warm the coils. But if the thermostat is not working, the contacts do not close and the coils freeze. For the heater, it may have a loose connection and if that is the case, it cannot function.

Other Parts to Check

There is a sensor attached to the thermostat that helps it monitor the coil temperature. The sensor comes with a fuse to act as a backup for when the sensor fails. The fuse may blow to turn the heater off if it does not automatically shut off, and if the fuse blows, the defrost system stops working. You cannot replace the fuse without replacing the sensor.

Also, check the main control board, but only do so if nothing else seems to be causing the defrost issue. Typically, the control board hardly fails but because of its central function, it is pretty easy to diagnose it wrongly. However, if the board is the problem, do not hesitate to replace it. You may need help from the Maytag Service Center, so reach out to them for further assistance..

How to Manually Defrost a Maytag Refrigerator

To defrost a Maytag refrigerator manually, open the door of the refrigerator and locate the door switch. It is the switch that controls the internal lights. Press and hold and simultaneously press the button to lower the refrigerator temperature three times in ten seconds. The unit should begin to defrost if the defrost system is in good working condition.

Another way to defrost the refrigerator manually is to disconnect it from electric power for some hours. If you have issues with ice in the freezer section and the defrost system does not seem to be working fast enough, remove the food stored in the freezer and put them in a cooler with ice packers.

Next, unplug the refrigerator from the wall outlet and open the doors. Give the unit some time so that the ice can melt. It may take some time, depending on the level of ice in the freezer. Also, be ready to catch the excess water from the melting ice. Once done, clean the refrigerator, reconnect it to electric power, and allow it to run until it achieves a food-safe temperature before the food back in it.

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How Long Does a Maytag Refrigerator Defrost Cycle Run?

The defrost cycle in a Maytag refrigerator typically runs for about twenty-one minutes. The cycle turns off the cooling system and turns on the defrost heater at specific times every day. This process happens a few times daily.

If your refrigerator is stuck in defrost mode and always seems to be defrosting, check the entire defrost system, especially the timer. Also, check the door gasket and replace it if worn. Furthermore, check the door hinge, especially if the unit is a recent installation or you recently had to remove the door. Finally, check the refrigerator’s leveling using a level. Make necessary adjustments if it is not level.

Maytag Refrigerator Defrost Heater Test

Before starting the test, ensure you disconnect the refrigerator from electric power. This may mean unplugging the power cord from the wall outlet or turning off the circuit breaker. Find the defrost heater in your specific model; due to the nature of its responsibility, the heater is usually attached to the evaporator coils.

Reaching it will mean emptying the freezer because the evaporator coils are behind the inside back access panel in the freezer section. Store perishable foods in an ice-packed cooler and remove the shelves, racks, and other things in the way. Unthread the screws holding the back panel in place and carefully lower it because the evaporator fan is usually attached to it.

There are three main types of defrost heaters in refrigerators, no matter the brand: an aluminum-covered metal rod, an exposed metal rod, and a wire coil in a glass tube. The testing method is the same for each one.

Hold the wire connectors for the heater and separate them from the terminals. If they are hard to separate, you may need needle-nosed pliers. Next, get a multimeter and set it to the scale of R X 1. Place each probe on the heater’s terminals and check the reading; it should be between infinity and zero. But if the reading is infinity or zero, the heater is defective and needs a replacement.

How to Replace the Defrost Timer on a Maytag Refrigerator

To replace a Maytag refrigerator defrost timer, unplug the unit from electric power. Find the timer using the user manual for the location in your specific model. It typically has four terminals that are metallic, protruding from its bottom.

Next, find the screw or screws securing the timer to the refrigerator and unmount them. Remove the timer and disconnect the wires at the back. Lay the old defrost timer aside and fix the wires to the new one using the wire harness. Put it in the place of the old one and thread the screws in the designated holes. Finally, reconnect the refrigerator to electric power and test the timer.

Maytag Freezer Keeps Defrosting – What to Do

The set temperature may be too low or the door seal is compromised, causing the evaporator coils to freeze too often. And if the coils freeze, the thermostat triggers the defrost heater into action. So, check the temperature on the thermostat or control panel and adjust it; keep it at a minimum of 0 degrees Fahrenheit or -18 degrees Celsius.

If the freezer temperature is not the problem, check the door seal. Open and close the freezer door and observe how well it seals. If the door does not gravitate to close by itself when it is at an angle of 90 degrees, the unit needs to be leveled. But if so, the seal may be worn and in need of a replacement. However, if none of these applies, the door hinge may be out of position. Tighten the bolts if necessary, especially if you recently had to remove the door.


The defrost function in a Maytag refrigerator plays a vital role in the unit’s optimal performance. So, if a Maytag refrigerator defrost system fails to function, the evaporator coils freeze and the unit stops cooling. This can cause other refrigerator issues. Therefore, it is crucial to check and fix defrost issues as quickly as possible.

The Maytag Service Center may be in the best position to fix the refrigerator, especially if you have an active warranty. However, you can also use the services of a professional appliance technician for further assistance.

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