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Frost in your 'Frost-Free'?

Frost in your 'frost-free' refrigerator - freezer?

A snow-like frost caking in the back wall or floor of the freezer compartment? Frost build- up on the vent holes in the food compartment? The refrigerator seems to run all the time? Food just not as cold no matter where you set the dial? Frozen food is still 'sort-of -frozen' but not 'frozen-hard' like it used to be. . ." ?

These are classic symptoms of the failure of the defrost cycle. Don't worry. It is not the end of the refrigerator. It is a fairly common problem and is reasonably inexpensive to repair.

'Frost-free' refrigerator/freezers aren't really 'frost-free' at all. They just hide the frost where you can't see it. The main cooling coil for most side-by-side frost-free refrigerator/freezers is located behind the back wall of the freezer while the cooling coils freezer-over and freezer-under refrigerator models are frequently located in the floor or back wall of the freezer compartment.

Because the coil is hidden from view, a fan is needed to draw air across the cooling coil and circulate inside the freezer compartment to cool the food. A tiny amount of this very cold air is deflected through ductwork to a baffle at the top of the food compartment to cool the refrigerator side. But, it's important to realize that all the working refrigeration is done inside the freezer compartment.

If the cooling coils are clogged with frost, the air can't flow to cool the food.

Actually, the cooling coils do get pretty clogged with frost every day. But, every day, the refrigerator performs defrost cycle to melt the ice and frost. If the defrost cycle doesn't happen, ice and snow build - up to cripple the 'frost-free' refrigerator/freezer in only a few days!

The good news is that this problem can be easily repaired. It is caused buy the failure of either the defrost heater, the defrost timer or the defrost termination thermostat.