How to Fix GE Refrigerator Not Cooling or Freezing Issue




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GE refrigerators are one of the most durable brands alongside Samsung, LG, and Whirlpool. But eventually, they also break down. A broken GE refrigerator seems like an expensive and technical repair. Thankfully, it’s often not the case.

You can often solve your GE refrigerator not cooling problem by cleaning dirt or dust stuck in vents, condenser and evaporator coils, and fans. Other than that, improper temperature settings, damaged door gaskets, or thermostats can be the issue.

If you’re afraid that repairing your GE refrigerator will cost you an ungodly amount, calm down. These refrigerators are hardy and often need a little elbow grease to get working again. So, you should read through the fixes I’ve talked about here and give it a go.

GE Refrigerator Not Cooling or Freezing Fixing

GE Refrigerator Not Cooling But Freezer Is Fine

You’ve noticed your GE refrigerator isn’t cooling, but the freezer is still working. Some very common issues can cause this to happen:

  • Overstocked fridge.
  • Cracked or broken door gaskets.
  • Frosted over evaporator coils.
  • Broken evaporator fan motors.
  • Faulty defrost thermostat.

Here’s how you can diagnose the problem and attempt a fix.

Overstocked Fridge

The simplest problem that you can overlook is your fridge is too full. If your fridge is overstocked, it blocks the airflow. And the result is the fridge not cooling or cooling unevenly.

The easiest way to check for this is to see if things are of uneven temperature in your fridge. Clear out your fridge a little to make way for the air vents and see if the situation improves.

Cracked or Broken Door Gaskets

The door gasket on your GE refrigerator is a seal that keeps the internal environment isolated. If the gasket is somehow broken, the cold air will flow out.

In most cases, the door gasket is most likely crumpled up or bent. Use your fingers or a tool to set it right, and your fridge should work fine.

If the gasket is broken or cracked, however, you need to replace it. You can get replacements by the model on Amazon. And you can replace it yourself with these simple steps.

  • Disconnect the fridge from power.
  • Grab a corner of the gasket and slowly pull it off.
  • Clean up the groove the gasket was in with a rag. You should use a specialized fridge cleaner.
  • Firmly push the new gasket into the groove starting from a corner.
  • If the new gasket is a bit squashed, you can help it back in shape. Hold a hairdryer 20 cm away from the spot for a minute.

Frosted Over Evaporator Coils

The evaporator coil is a heat exchange unit that removes heat from the inside of your fridge. If the defrost unit of your GE refrigerator is not working properly, then you can have frost on the coils. Frosted over coils can’t function properly and leads to the GE refrigerator not cooling.

Here’s how you can find the evaporator coils.

  • Disconnect the power.
  • Take out the shelves from the inside of the fridge.
  • Unscrew the thin plate on the inside of the fridge.
  • Taking out the panel will reveal the evaporator coils.

If this is the case, you shouldn’t try to fix it yourself. This will require expert attention and trying anything might lead to more problems. However, you can still pinpoint the exact cause.

Broken Evaporator Fan Motors

If the evaporator fan is stuck or faces resistance while rotating, the motor can wear out. If the fan isn’t running, then cold air from the evaporator won’t disperse in the fridge. If you want to access it, you’ll have to reach the evaporator coils.

Before taking the fridge further apart, you should check if the fan is working properly. There are two ways you can do so.

  • You can listen for it by turning the fridge back on. There might be a noise that sounds like a fan is struggling to move or stuttering.
  • You can take apart the lights above the evaporator coils directly and look up through the gap. You’ll be able to see if the fan is moving sluggishly, or not moving at all.

If you need to access the evaporator fan, follow these steps.

  • Make sure that the power is removed.
  • Remove the ice maker by taking unscrewing a screw on the left from the ice auger system.
  • Detach the wire harnesses and gently pull the system out.
  • Remove the two screws on the rear of the fridge. This will loosen the fan cover.
  • Take off the four screws that hold the top shelve harness in place to finally remove everything from the fan.

You can press on the door switch to see if it messes with the fan. If it stops running, then this is your problem.

If you have a multimeter, you can check for continuity otherwise. Detach the fan wires and use your multimeter’s DC function to check it. It should get 8 to 14 volts.

If it’s getting power and still not running, then the motor is at fault. In case of wrong voltage, the board supplying power is to blame.

Faulty Defrost Thermostat

The defrost thermostat is right above the evaporator coils. The switch is supposed to turn on the defrost heater at the bottom. You can check for continuity to see if it’s working. Set your multimeter to continuity and follow these steps.

  • Take off the thermostat and place it in a working fridge. Once cool, check the outlets with the meter probes. It should have continuity and the meter should beep.
  • At normal temperature, the switch shouldn’t have continuity. The meter won’t beep.

If it fails these tests, the switch is the culprit.

GE Refrigerator Not Cooling or Freezing

You’ve noticed your GE refrigerator not cooling or freezing. You can still solve the issue and find the problem if not. Here are some common reasons why this might happen:

  • Incorrect temperature settings.
  • Dirty vent system.
  • Dirty condenser coils.
  • Dirt on the condenser fan.
  • Worn out compressor relay.

Incorrect Temperature Settings

Before anything else, you should check if the temperature is set low enough. The USDA recommends a below 40  Fahrenheit temperature to store food. You can also check your owner’s manual.

Once you’ve set the temperature, wait for 24 hours to see if there’s any change. If it doesn’t, proceed to check for the next issues.

Dirty Vent System

You can find the vent system on the rear bottom of your fridge. If it’s dirty, it can’t pull or push air. You can clean out the vent system and turn on the fridge to see if it’s working again.

Dirty Condenser Coils

The coils are responsible for the fridge’s air exchange. But if they have too much dust or dirt on them, they can’t function properly. If you want to check and clean the coils, you should follow these steps.

  • Disconnect the freezer first, or you might get electrocuted.
  • The coils are behind the vent, so use a screwdriver to remove the plate.
  • Clean the coils out with a vacuum with a narrow hose. You can also use a condenser brush to dust it off.
  • Put the cover back on.
  • Reconnect the fridge power.

Dirt and dust will gather on the coils again, so remember to clean periodically. Using a condenser brush before vacuuming is the best way to get rid of the dust. You can get condenser brushes for cheap on Amazon.

The coils may also run to the front, underneath the kick plate. So, you should remove the plate and clean it out thoroughly. Remember to remove the dust on the floor afterward, or it’ll simply go back on the coils.

Dirt on the Condenser Fan

The condenser fan is next to the condenser coils. It’s responsible for supplying fresh air to the coils and the compressor.

Check the fan for obstructions, or dirt. If it’s still not running after you’ve cleaned it, then seek expert help. Replacing the fan motor is rather technical, and it’s better left to a professional.

Worn Out Compressor Relay

The compressor is the roundish casing beside the condenser fan. To check if it’s running, touch the casing while the fridge is on and check for movement. If you don’t feel any, then you have to check if the compressor relay is bad.

The relay is a smaller component right next to the compressor. Follow these steps to check the relay.

  • Detach the fridge from power.
  • Gently shake the relay. If it rattles, or you see particles fall out, its contact points have worn out.
  • You can take it out and check for continuity with your multimeter. If there’s any continuity, then it’s still functional.

Replacing the relay should also be left to a professional. But you can check how much any of the parts cost by looking it up on Amazon.


Q. How much does it cost to replace a compressor on a GE refrigerator?

The cost of a reconditioned unit is around 35$, and a new compressor can cost 100$. The total cost with labor can be 300$ to 550$ depending on your refrigerator model.

Q. Why would my GE refrigerator stop cooling and then start working again?

If there’s dust in your vents, compressor coils and fan, it won’t cause your compressor to completely stop working. The fridge will struggle and stop and start cooling randomly until it becomes unable to. Slightly worn compressor relay contacts and faulty thermostats can also cause the same issue.

Q. Why are items freezing in my GE refrigerator?

Your refrigerator can be too empty. With less objects in the way of airflow, the temperature can drop much quicker and freeze everything. Try to keep your fridge ¾th way full, or check if the damper control is damaged and always open.

Q. What are the symptoms of a dirty condenser coil?

You’ll notice that the fridge won’t cool as effectively or will randomly stop cooling. The compressor will run longer and struggle. So, you’ll hear noises from the back. Finally, you can check the vent system for dust and confirm it visually.

Q. What is the most common problem with GE refrigerators?

Like other brands, GE refrigerator faces water leakage from the ice make, excessive noise, and temperature control issues. Fortunately, users can fix these issues without expert help with a few fixing tips.

Final Word

In most cases, cleaning out any dust or dirt and clearing any obstructions will get your fridge working again. If it’s a problem that you can’t fix, now you can explain exactly what happened and make the repair cheaper and faster.

It’s fine if you feel that you shouldn’t proceed any further. Just stay calm and call for professional help if you can’t solve your GE refrigerator not cooling problem.

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