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Bryan, Home Appliance Technician
Category: Appliance
Satisfied Customers: 12156
Experience:  15 yrs. experience as a certified appliance technician.
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My GE TBX18 refrigerator (over 20 years old) has been running

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My GE TBX18 refrigerator (over 20 years old) has been running constantly for three days. The freezer compartment temperature is 32 degrees and the refrigerator compartment temperature is 44 degrees. Everything seems cold in both compartments so my only concerns is the constant running which is not normal.

Hi,Welcome to Just Answer, My name is XXXXX XXXXX forward to helping you today.


is there any frost on the back panel inside the freezer behind the food ? is the fan in the freezer running ?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
There isn't any frost on the back panel inside the freezer and the freezer fan is running.
can you get the back panel off ?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I would have to see if I can do this. What is exposed after I remove the cover?
you will see the evaporator coils, you need to look at the frost pattern on them
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I just inspected the upper back panel (8" X 15") and found that I have to remove 10 screws to get access to the evaporator coils. This panel is cold to the touch. There is also another panel (3" X 36") that runs all the way to the bottom of the refrigerator. Do I also have to remove this pane?.


If the frost pattern on the evaporator coils is unacceptable, what is the fix to correct the problem?


well if the coils are only partially frosted its a freon issue, not sure about the other panel cant get diagrams yet
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
My impression after reading your response is that all the coils should contain a coat of frost. If this not the case, as you stated, I have a freon issue which would require a service call to correct. However, if all the coils have a coat of frost, what is the next step?
if all the coils are frosted evenly then its not a freon issue, check the condenser fan in the back next to the compressor is it running ?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I hear two fans running. One inside the freezer compartment and the other in the refrigerator compartment. I also hear a fan running in the back of the refrigerator close to the bottom. Is this the one you asked about?
okay thats the condenser fan in the back, you need to check the coils, let me know what you find. thanks Bryan
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I removed the panel and found a piece of foam which fully covers whatever is inside. There is also wiring inside the foam. This wiring seems to go all the way to the floor and is inside the 3" X 36" panel that I mentioned earlier.


I could not remove the foam. Therefore, I could not see if the coils were inside.

which parts on this diagram did you take off ?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

The diagram you sent me shows the front of the refrigerator. The panel I removed is in the back of the refrigerator and is not shown in the diagram.


I just checked inside the freezer which contains a shelf that divides the freezer into two sections. The lower section contains frost on the back panel. Earlier, I only checked the upper section and did not find any frost.


So, it looks like there is a coating of frost on the lower section of the freezer.

oh, okay, I'm sorry, I thought you understood me, my fault, at any rate what you need to do is take the back panel off in side the freezer part number 201 on the diagram you will need to take a few screws out to remove this you will also need to take 212 out which is the shelf you need to see what's behind that panel that's where your coils are, I'm sorry to put you through so much trouble, we need to see whether there is just Frost on the bottom of the coils and not the top ones, it sounds like this could be a Freon problem.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I do not have time to remove the inside panel at this time since I have to be somewhere in one hour. However, I want to continue working with you tomorrow to see if you can help me isolate the causes of my problem. What do I have to do to keep you involved?


Also, my freezer compartment does not have a part no. 212. It has a shelf that divides the compartment into two sections. This shelf can be easily removed which I will do tomorrow before I remove the back panel, part no. 201.

sure just come back on tomorrow and post in it will be automatically forwarded to me, I have no plans for tomorrow as of yet as far as going out to work on anything so I should be around most of the day tomorrow, just get back to me and I will respond, thanks, Bryan
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I am ready to begin removing the back panel on my freezer compartment, as you suggested. Before I do this, I want to tell you that last night, I removed all the frost buildup in the freezer compartment and lubricated all the mouldings around both the freezer and refrigerator compartments.


The good news is that the freezer compartment temperature is now 0 degrees. The bad news is that the refrigerator compartment has gone up from 44 degrees to 48 degrees and the refrigerator continues to run constantly.


Please let me know if any of the above information gives you further clues about what is going on and if my next step is to remove the freezer back panel.

yes it does give me clues, the coils behind the freezer back wall need to be defrosted, the freezer can be cold the refrigerator side wont cool because the air cant flow, you need to remove the panel.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I removed the back panel on the freezer and noticed, with my untrained eyes, that both sets of coils seem to have quite a bit but an equal amount of frost on them.


What is the next step?

okay you need to first defrost the coils with a hair dryer, did you say you had a volt meter ? I would like you to watch this video also, this explains how you defrost system, get back to me when you have. thanks Bryan

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I am in the process of using a hairdryer to defrost the coils. I have completed the upper coil and am now working on the lower coil. When I am all done, do I close the freezer door and add all my frozen foods which are now in a cooler or do I wait to hear from you before I do anything else.


I do not have a volt meter.

well once this is defrosted put the back panel back in and your food, this will run correctly for about 3 weeks and then frost up again, try and get a volt meter and test the heater, and defrost thermostat ,if both check out then replace the timer, you can get parts @
Bryan and 6 other Appliance Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.



This is my first experience using this on-line service and want you to know that I am giving you an A+ for your help. The $30 it cost me is a small price to pay for everything you have taught me about refrigerators.


Please confirm that my refrigerator will begin to cycle as soon as both compartments reach an acceptable temperature (0 in the freezer and 38 in the refrigerator) and that my problem will return in about three weeks unless I replace the the heater, defrost thermostat or timer.


Needless to say, I will contact JustAnswers if I need help in the part replacement activities. Hopefully, I will again get to work with you.


Thanks again for all your help and all the best to you in the future.



your very welcome, its been my pleasure, you did a great job, and yes once the refrigerator gets back down to say 38 it will cycle properly, it just never reached that temp recently so the compressor keeps running to try to reach that temp. therefore causing even more frost behind the panel. thanks so much and if you need more help just ask, Bryan