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This is an extremely common issue on these and GE has redesigned the heater so this doesn't happen again, these refrigerators had a single heater in them but GE found that they were failing so they redesigned the heater system with two glass tube heaters, if this is never been changed in your refrigerator you will need to change it, it's at the very bottom of the coils you defrost, it's a pretty simple repair and since you had the back off already you shouldn't have any problem placing this, here is a link to order the new heater system for yours, http://www.repairclinic.com/PartDetail/Defrost-Heater-Assembly/WR51X10101/1399613?modelNumber=HSS22GFTAWW there is also a video there that shows you how to test the heater you have now if you have a volt meter but this is definitely the issue, we replace a lot of these, thanks, Bryan
sorry we keep missing each other, the heater is fine as I thought it would be being new. do you think you could test the defrost thermostat ?
this needs to be tested cold only, its has to be cold to have continuity, you will need to cut the wires to do this, don't cut them top close to the thermostat so you can reconnect them if its good. this is clipped to the top of the coils, unplug the refrigerator first. let me know if its good.
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are you putting the back panel back on after defrosting this?