Refrigerator Repair Guide
For the DIY-inclined, the below guides will assist in completing simple repairs on your refrigerator. It is impossible to write guides applicable for every model of refrigerator, so in some cases there may be additional steps required to complete repairs.
DISCLAIMER: Appliance Repair can be dangerous, especially when dealing with electricity. The electrical current generated from wall outlets can be enough to kill someone. Please exercise extreme caution when working with appliances. GSAR cannot be held liable for injuries due to misuse of our repair guides.
How to Manually Defrost a Refrigerator
For the majority of refrigerators, cooling is generated in the freezer section where a fan circulates the cold air to the refrigerator compartment. The refrigerator temperature is controlled by a damper that limits airflow. Most modern refrigerators feature automatic defrost systems. When the defrost system fails, one or both sides of the refrigerator will usually stop cooling shortly after.
A failed defrost system is usually indicated by frost buildup in the back wall of the refrigerator or freezer compartment. If your refrigerator has exposed coils behind it, you may also notice frost buildup on these.
Diagnosing and repairing a refrigerator’s defrost system can be difficult as several parts can be involved, and the repair process is more involved than most appliance repairs. For this reason, we generally do not recommend the average consumer attempt this repair. However, knowing how to manually defrost a refrigerator is useful for ensuring that no food is lost before a professional repair service can arrive.
If the defrost system has failed, manually defrosting the refrigerator may allow it to continue to cool for up to 14 days. The problem will most likely occur again, and when it does, we do not recommend repeating this process more than a few times as running an automatic defrost refrigerator with a failed defrost system will cause additional wear and tear on the internal components of your refrigerator, along with causing it to cool less efficiently.
- Unplug the refrigerator. If the plug cannot be reached, turn off the breaker switched on the circuit breaker panel that is powering the machine.
- Trash any spoiled foods and place the remaining food in a cooler with ice until the manual defrost procedure is complete.
- Place several large, absorbent towels around the base of the refrigerator.
- Open all doors of the refrigerator, placing obstacles in front of each door to prevent them from closing.
- Allow the refrigerator to sit for at least eight hours.
- Clean up and collected water inside of the refrigerator and in your towels.
- Recalibrate the refrigerator’s temperature back to factory settings. For most refrigerators, this is the middle setting.
- Close the doors.
- Plug the refrigerator back in or turn the breaker switch back on.
- Let the refrigerator run for about 20 minutes — then check the temperature. The freezer compartment should have dropped about twenty degrees from room temperature.
- Allow the refrigerator to run for 24 hours before resetting the temperature settings to your preference.