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Kelly, Appliance Technician
Category: Appliance
Satisfied Customers: 22896
Experience:  Highly accurate diagnostician with over 30 years experience!
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I have a side-by-side (Mod. GC3JHAXTQ01 - approaching 9

Customer Question

I have a side-by-side (Mod. GC3JHAXTQ01 - approaching 9 years old) that runs normally on the refrigerator side (~40 degrees F), but the freezer side will vary from 0 to the high 20s. The problem was worse before I changed the compressor capacitor, but it persists. The ambient temperature generally is high 70s to low 80s (Phoenix). I need some guidance to troubleshoot and resolve this issue.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Appliance
Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

Hi, welcome to Just Answer. My name is ***** ***** I look forward to helping you!

Please know that I am not compensated for my time by the site until you rate using the stars at the top of your page. A rating is appreciated once we get to the solution for your appliance issue, thanks!

The capacitor on the compressor just helps with efficiency and is not required for the compressor to run. So, that would have had no impact. The issue you are seeing is probably related to the defrost cycle lasting too long or possibly too little food in the freezer to help hold the temperature. Is the freezer pretty full or near empty?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The freezer is virtually empty. I suspect a defrost cycle issue also, but unsure how to troubleshoot it
Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

The temperature is not going to be stable with an empty freezer. Place jugs of water or anything to help hold the temperature when it cycles off. You won't get any accurate testing with an empty freezer. I suspect there is no issue with freezer, just place several water containers in there and I suspect you will see much smaller temperature swings.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
When I was first troubleshooting, I took the cover off of the cooling coils - there was no frost on them. The components at the top of the coils were iced over. I used a hair dryer to remove that ice, but the temperature fluctuations continued.Checking now, I see a very light layer of frost on the bottom coil (cannot see the others) - the freezer says it is at 9 degrees
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
OK - will I be charged for follow-up questions if that doesn't help?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What are the steps to diagnose a possible defrost cycle problem?
Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

Please allow me just a few minutes to prepare some information for you, thank you!

Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

The defrost cycle on this is controlled electronically. The only accurate way to test it is to test the heater and the thermostat in the freezer for continuity. If they are good (show a closed circuit), then by deductive reasoning, that would indicate a control issue. However, with the little frost you are seeing, I do not suspect a defrost issue. I would fill the freezer up and see how it does. Of course, there are no additional charges to follow up in a few days after you get a chance to try this!

Please let me know if you have additional questions or need clarification. There is no additional charge for any follow up help!

Please remember to rate before you leave, using the stars at the top of the page. If you have any other questions, please let me know! You may continue asking follow-up questions until you have all the information you need, even after rating my service. Thank you!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I've added water jugs to help stabilize the temperature during defrost cycles. The lack of frost suggests that the heater is working correctly, but the control may be too aggressively initiating the defrost cycle, or continuing it too long. How can I check that?
Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

There is not really a way to test the control because it is adaptive. It does not defrost on any set schedule, it varies by door openings, compressor run time, etc.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
k, thanks
Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

You bet, thank you!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
hi Kelly, I checked the temperature readings yesterday and saw readings in the high 20s on the freezer side. When I checked the water I put in it was not frozen - so the thermometer is not reliable :-(. This morning is said 19 degrees, but the water was not fully frozen. When it runs properly the temperature displays at zero - it did that for several days last week - but that seems to be an intermittent situation. Any suggestions to narrow down the problem?
Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

If it is not getting down to freezing temperature, there is a sealed system issue, likely a leak that has the refrigerant level too low.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
But it does get the temperature down intermittently. I would expect a problem with the sealed system to be consistent...
Expert:  Kelly replied 1 year ago.

How are you able to determine that with a thermometer that does not work? I will place your question back to thew list in case another may have an idea.