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Tyler Z.
Tyler Z., Appliance Doc
Category: Appliance
Satisfied Customers: 81922
Experience:  9+ years being an appliance technician with factory training.
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I have a GE refrigerator/freezer GSH22KGMD WW. Over the last

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I have a GE refrigerator/freezer GSH22KGMD WW. Over the last week I've noticed that it's not cooling as well as it had. Items at the bottom are cooler than the top. Today I noticed that items in the freezer are cold but not frozen. Any thoughts on what the problem might be?
Hello, and thank you for using this service. I'll be helping you with your problem today.

This sounds like a common issue and it means that your unit is not longer defrosting in the freezer so the refrigerator is not able to steal air to cool down. You'll need to either unplug the unit for 24 hours or remove everything of the freezer and remove the lower back panel inside the freezer to defrost it with a hair dryer. Once all the frost is thawed out, the unit will start working again. To make sure the problem doesn't come back, you'll want to replace the defrost heater. GE's defrost heaters fail often because they are nothing more than a long glass light bulb. Order and replace the defrost heater at the bottom of all the frost and you should be good to go. Below is a link to the defrost heater you'll want to order and replace.


Now I did want to point out that there are a few other possibilities like the defrost timer/control board or the defrost sensor, but these rarely fail on this model and there is no way to test the heater for certain to know if it's good or not. The reason is because that the heater is glass and can get water inside of it when it fails so it will show good continuity even when it's bad sometimes. That's why the best course of action is to replace the heater since it's by far the most common problem. Also, if you happen to remove the back panel and the coils aren't packed with frost, then that would mean the fan above the coils is likely not running which will generate the same symptoms. You'll need to order and replace the evaporator fan motor if this is the case.

If you really wanted to test the the sensor, look for the white plastic bullet at the top of the silver evaporator coils with 2 small wires going to it. You'd need to cut the wires going to the sensor and then put the sensor in ice water for 5 minutes. The resistance should be right around 16.3 kΩ. If not then the sensor would need to be replaced. I don't advise doing this test because you must cut the wires just to test it so I'd reserve this option in case the problem persists after you replace the heater.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I'm starting to defrost the freezer now. When it does defrost, will the fridge start working again? I'm hoping I can keep using it until I get the new defrost bulb.

Yes the refrigerator will work but it'll take about 5-6 hours or so and then the frost will build up in a week or two if you don't fix the problem.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you. I've got all of the ice removed. I see the heater at the bottom of where the frost was. I'll order a new one this evening.


There appears to be a fan on the top left of the fridge side. Is that where the cold air blows in from the freezer side? I'm hoping to verify that it's working before I go to bed tonight (about 3 hours from now).

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

After running overnight with both sides set at the coldest level, the freezer is at about 5 degrees, the refrigerator is around 45. Seems like the refrigerator is still not working correctly. What's my next step to diagnose the issue?

I wouldn't say it's not running correctly. That's significantly better than what it was before. It is a little warm, but you found a lot of frost build up which means that I'm correct in my diagnosis. It sounds like you may have not thawed out all the frost completely somewhere.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

There certainly was a lot of frost before I started last night. There was solid ice around parts of the coil. I had the coils completely defrosted last night. It seems to be frosting back up pretty quickly. The picture below shows how much has accumulated in about 14 hours. (Maybe there was a lot of humidity in the freezer when I turned it back on.) Do I need to defrost again to get the fridge to cool better? The new defroster I purchased is supposed to be delivered tomorrow or Thursday.

I don't see a picture, but if there is more than 1/8" coating of frost on the coils, you may need to defrost the coils again.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Sorry. Couldn't send the picture. Kept getting "Access Denied" error on the web site. If it would help, I can send via an alternate method.


I've defrosted again. I don't think there was 1/8 inch on the coils. I was able to remove all of the frost in 5-10 minutes. The refrigerator is still struggling though. I've been putting containers of ice in the fridge to help it out but it's staying at 45-48 degrees.


You're just missing some ice or frost build up somewhere. You may need to just unplug the unit for 24 hours if you're not defrosting all the frost for some reason. I'm not there so I can't locate exactly where the frost build up is, but if it's not getting down to temperature, there is frost build up somewhere.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I don't see where there could be any additional frost. The coils are completely free of frost, there is no buildup behind the ice maker, the only place in the freezer that I can't see is where the fan motor is but the fan is operating so I assume there is no buildup there.


The freezer seems to be operating correctly since I defrosted last night. It has been holding at 0-8 degrees F since last night and is making ice just fine. It's the refrigerator side that is not cooling completely.


There is an opening with what appears to be a fan on the top of the partition between the freezer and refrigerator. Should there be a stream of cold air coming through there?

Yes, there should be air that goes through that open. Again, I couldn't say where the frost build up is---but it's there, so you can either unplug the unit for 24 hours and let everything thaw out, or you can take taking everything apart inside the freezer and looking for frost build up because something is preventing the air from circulating from the freezer into the refrigerator---or you're just being impatient and not giving it enough time because it does take 12 hours to cool down properly and you just defrosted it again an hour ago or so.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

As you've suggested, I have unplugged the unit. I'll give an update tomorrow.

ok, good luck.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Refrigerator was unplugged for 24 hours and now has been plugged back in for about 18 hours. I set both sides to coldest setting. Freezer is currently at 8-10 degrees, fridge is at 43-47. I've gone around all sides with a dollar bill to check that the doors are sealing properly, which they are. What do we need to check next?

So at this point you need to make sure the fan next to the compressor is running. Clean the coils next to the fan down at the back and if you still get the same issue, it's time to call a technician out because you have either a freon leak or a bad compressor or something like that.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The refrigerator is fixed. The defrost/heater assembly arrived yesterday so I installed it. While working on it, I noticed that the back panel of the freezer, which had been on the floor leaning up against the refrigerator, had slots at the bottom. It occurred to me that the purpose of the panel might be more than just protecting the might force air flow over the coils to better circulate air in the freezer. After reattaching the back panel in the freezer, I checked the circulation through the opening from freezer to fridge. The cold airflow into the fridge increased dramatically...probably about five-fold. I let it run overnight. This morning the freezer is around zero and the fridge is at 35.


In retrospect, the initial defrosting probably fixed the problem. If I had reattached the back panel at that time, I think it would have worked fine. It's working now and that's what matters.

Ah yes. That fan acts like a vent so without it in place it definitely wouldn't work properly. Either way, I'm glad it's all working again.