Freezer evaporator has ice buildup on bottom third of coil


Old 03-28-13, 02:11 PM
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Freezer evaporator has ice buildup on bottom third of coil

GE Side by Side Refrigerator Model #GSHS5KHGXBCSS

Ever since we lost electrical power for 2 days (Hurricane Sandy Oct 29, 2012) our freezer cannot maintain a 0'F temperature. Our refrigerator always maintains a 37'F temperature.

I replaced the defrost thermostat, main motherboard, defrost heater and 2 sensor thermistors (all parts were fine but I replaced them anyway). I cleaned the condenser coil, the condenser fan and evaporator fans are running fine. I defrosted my freezer 5 times over the last 4 months (using a hair dryer the first 4 time than using a 24 hour time period to naturally defrost the evaporator coil), yet within 4 hours of turning the unit back on I immediately get ice buildup on the bottom third of my evaporator coil.

The refrigerator temperature always stays +/- 37'F, the freezer fluctuate from -5'F to +15'F thru the course of the day.

Any suggestions on what could be wrong ? (freon leak - for 4 months ?) ?
Old 03-28-13, 08:10 PM
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Welcome to the forums.
You may have the model number incorrect. Probably should be: GSHS5KGXBCSS

You sure changed a lot of parts.
You changed the bulk of the defrost parts. Have you actually confirmed that the unit actually defrosting ? There is one sensor near the coil that determines when the coil is iced and to initiate a defrost cycle.

I think the unit needs the service cover in it to operate normally. I don't recall if the access cover directs the air thru the coil.

Check out the following link for more service info on defrost diagnostics.

Refrigerator Defrost Problem Diagnostics

Also.....visually check the gasket at the bottom of the freezer for problems. Excess warm air entering thru the gasket can cause a unit to ice up quicker.
Old 03-29-13, 08:26 AM
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Your right on the model #, the defost cover does need to be on (it is), I will try the motherboard testing you recommend, I'll let you know the results - thanks for the info
Old 03-29-13, 09:47 AM
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What you are describing sounds like your fridge has a leak and is low on refrigerant.

A simple way to check this is to unplug the fridge and remove the covers over the evaporator coil.
Ensure all the wiring is secure and nothing will short or give you a shock then plug it back in and let the cooling system operate without the cover.
After about 10 to 20 minutes the evaporator coil should be evenly frosted including the accumulator tank at the end of the evap if yours has one.
Where the frosting ends shows shows the cooling capabilities of the remaining refrigerant.

A very common location to leak is where the evaporator is connected to the tubing from the compressor area.
This is a weak link in modern refrigerators as there are often dissimilar materials that are being connected, one of which is aluminum.
A repair of this area is not normally done......procedure is to replace the evaporator coil which in most cases exceeds the value of the fridge.

The reason this area is not repaired is that the aluminum is slightly porous and refrigerant that circulates contains oil which makes any repair attempt short lived and a waste of money.
It is also unlawful for anyone to add refrigerant to a fridge with a known leak.

Not as likely a cause but a similar symptom is a partially plugged capillary metering tube which is connected to the inlet of the coil.
The fix for this is to have it replaced but whatever plugged it is still floating around in the lines and could soon plug a new one.

Sorry for the bad news!

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