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Tyler Z.
Tyler Z., Appliance Doc
Category: Appliance
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Experience:  9+ years being an appliance technician with factory training.
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I have a GE Profile (model # PFCS1PJZSS) French door fridge.

Customer Question

I have a GE Profile (model # PFCS1PJZSS) French door fridge. It can’t be older than 6 years, because the house we bought was built in 2010. A year ago, the fan that blows cold air from freezer to refrigerator got bogged down with ice. We could hear its blades clicking against the ice and eventually it froze up to where cold air wasn’t being blown into the refrigerator at all.
A technician from a small local firm in Dallas looked at it and declared that the compressor wasn’t functioning properly. The whole fridge needed to be replaced, because said part would cost more than replacing the fridge itself. Nevertheless, I cleaned the coils behind the fridge, plugged it back in, and I guess enough ice had melted that everything came back to life just fine.
A year later, something similar has happened again. This time, however, there was no fan noise: The refrigerator simply went up to 58 degrees one day, while freezer was still at 0. So I attempted to do the same thing: I unplugged the whole unit for a couple of hours, cleaned the coils, pointed a hair dryer briefly (two minutes?) at the area where I thought the choke point was. When I rebooted the fridge, after about 20 hours (by the time the technician showed up), the refrigerator was still room temp, but freezer had only gotten down to 15 degrees.
This new technician said the same thing as the last one. He apparently disassembled the back of our unit and said of the freezer coils that run up the back of the unit: “I expected to see a bunch of frost, but there was none. What I observed instead was that only 5% of the coil was actually cold.” Diagnosis, the same as a year ago: You just need a new refrigerator.
Granted, it took a while, but 24 hours after the tech made this diagnosis, the freezer is back down to 0 degrees, and refrigerator is still room temp. So my question is this: Perhaps my freezer coils are a bit weak/slow, but isn’t the heart of the matter right now that whatever fan is supposed to be blowing cold air up into the fridge just isn’t performing at all? I’m a little miffed at the notion that I have to spend >$2000 to replace a unit that’s not old. And GE is supposed to be a good brand! Should I try my luck with a third technician? Why this rush to judgment that the whole thing just needs to be scrapped?
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Appliance
Expert:  Tyler Z. replied 2 months ago.

Good morning. So first, if the freezer is getting down to temperature, you definitely don't have a sealed system issue. If you had a sealed system issue the freezer would be affected before the refrigerator, not the other way around. You'll want to remove the back panel inside the freezer and see if the fan is running. If it's not running then it needs to be replaced because that is what blows air up to the refrigerator to cool. If the coils are completely packed with frost, then you have a defrost issue which stops air from blowing up to the refrigerator as well. But if the fan is running and the coils aren't packed with frost then your damper inside your refrigerator isn't opening up and will need to be replaced. This is the part that has a flap which opens to allow air into the refrigerator from the freezer.

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