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GE Refrigerator GSL25JFXJLB stopped cooling - no obvious reason

LeslieT

Premium Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2020
Messages
11
Location
Dallas, TX
Model Number
GSL25JFXJLB
Brand
GE
Age
1-5 years
I have a GE Refrigerator Model GSL25JFXJLB (side by side) that's just a few years old. Came downstairs yesterday morning to find a thin sheet of water running down the freezer door, below the water/ice dispenser. Ice maker was stacked high with ice inside (with some still on the"fork" that hadn't fallen off because there was no more room), but freezer temp was obviously rising, as a few things had gotten soft. Fridge side was getting warm, too. I did notice that all the packages of meat in the freezer had a thin layer of frost, which I don't think had been there previously, but I didn't think to check the back panel for frost as I emptied everything out.

After frantically moving a freezer full of meat and everything else to the spare fridge in the garage, I did some online research (including finding this forum) and started some preliminary diagnostics. A friend is coming by this afternoon with a multimeter, but I could use a few pointers to guide our path. Here's what I've gleaned so far:

Condenser coils are clean. Ice chute door is closed. I defrosted the fridge overnight, then powered it back up this morning. It had been off for probably 18 hours. There was no water on the floor, so if coils froze inside the back panel, the melt was contained by the tray. Fan motor runs, even when you open the freezer door and depress the light switch. I've had the unit plugged in for four hours now, and it's just starting to get cold.

A couple times (once last night after it was unplugged, and once this morning after it had been plugged in a few hours), I heard a loud "clunk" that seemed to come from inside (not the back). It sounded like when ice falls into the tray, except the ice maker isn't on and there's no ice inside the fridge. It could be ice falling off the evaporator coils inside the freezer compartment, except I wouldn't expect that sound a second time after the fridge had been fully defrosted and was just starting to cool again. Could the coils freeze back up that quickly?

My plan of attack is to start with checking the heat lamp and then move on to the defrost thermostat and defrost control. But, I'm hesitant to start digging around inside, since I don't know what I don't know. Grateful for any guidance you can offer!
 

Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
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Messages
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Yesterday morning when you found it like that was the compressor and fans all running? Or was the refrigerator dead silent?

I did notice that all the packages of meat in the freezer had a thin layer of frost
That usually indicates someone accidently left the door open/ajar overnight.

Jake
 

LeslieT

Premium Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2020
Messages
11
Location
Dallas, TX
Thanks for the feedback, Jake. I'm the only one in the house and rarely go in the freezer, so I doubt the freezer door was left open. Everything was running yesterday. Only reason I noticed a problem was because I stepped in a small puddle in front of the freezer. I thought the dog had had an accident, then I noticed the thin sheet of water running down the front of the door below the ice maker. (I believe this was because the ice tray was over full and the water had no place to go as things were beginning to thaw.)
 

Jake

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Ok, turn the ice maker off, then let it all get back to normal as far as the cooling temperatures are concerned.

Then when the temps are all back to normal turn the ice maker on and stay with it and watch when the water comes into the ice maker and see if it overflows, if so unplug the refrigerator from the wall outlet and see if the water stops flowing in, if not then your water inlet valve is bad.

Here's the water inlet valve for your model:
Water Inlet Valve WR57X10032


Video included in the water inlet valve part link on how to replace it.

Jake
 

LeslieT

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Joined
Sep 16, 2020
Messages
11
Location
Dallas, TX
Hi Jake, I somehow totally missed your reply, and I haven't checked the ice maker yet. But I do have more information. After unplugging the fridge and letting it completely thaw, I plugged it back in and it stayed cool for about 3 days before heating up again. That told me the auto-defrost wasn't working right. I checked the heater lamp and could see it was obviously toast--the glass was murky green. But I didn't check the thermistor or control mechanism. Plugged the fridge back in about 10 hours ago, and at first it seemed like it was getting cooler. I could feel with my hand the fan inside the freezer compartment blowing cool air. But when I checked it just now, it actually feels very warm inside the freezer (and the fridge), as if it was heating instead of cooling. Could the auto-defrost cycle be turning on (or staying on) before the temperature drops enough that it's needed? Should I still check the water inlet valve? (Seems like that's not part of the equation at this point.) A friend has loaned me his multimeter, and I have replacement parts for the thermistor and control system, but I'm hesitant to start taking things apart without a solid game plan.
 

Jake

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Could the auto-defrost cycle be turning on (or staying on) before the temperature drops enough that it's needed?
No, you may have a sealed system problem.

Remove the back panel inside the freezer and take a photo of your evaporator coil, I need to see the frost pattern on it.

Jake
 

LeslieT

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Sep 16, 2020
Messages
11
Location
Dallas, TX
Oops. I unplugged it overnight after it was heating up (like, actually getting hot) inside. But I'm thinking there wouldn't have been a frost pattern anyway, since the unit never got close to cold again after I replaced the heat lamp. Any other way to diagnose?
 

Jake

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Plug it in and see if the compressor and fans are running now.

Jake
 

LeslieT

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Messages
11
Location
Dallas, TX
Plugged it in, and the whole unit is humming as normal. The fan (top interior of freezer) seems to be blowing slightly cool air into the freezer compartment. How do I tell whether the compressor is running?
 

Jake

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Pull the refrigerator out from the wall, then remove the lower back access panel and you will see a big black ball shaped part, that is your compressor. Put your hand on the top of it and see if its warm and vibrating.

See if the condenser fan next to it is running too.

Jake
 

LeslieT

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Messages
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Location
Dallas, TX
I'm so grateful for your patience, Jake. You have no idea. :LOL:

Opened up the back, and the compressor (left side of photo) is going strong. I forgot to touch to see whether it was warm, but I could hear it humming and could feel air blowing from that area. The section next to it (condenser fan?) in the right side of the picture felt like it had air circulating, but barely a breeze. (Not sure if you're supposed to feel much there. Or maybe the breeze I felt on the left was actually coming from the condenser fan next to the compressor. If there's supposed to be air coming out the back where that copper pipe is, I could feel a very light breeze.)

Other clues: When I first plugged the fridge back in this afternoon, I could immediately feel cool air coming from the fan in the top section of the freezer compartment. But the next time I checked (maybe an hour later?), the air blowing from the fan was basically room temperature. I did hear the fridge make the big "cha-chunk" noise one time, which if I remember has something to do with gas releasing in the evaporator coils. (Sounds like a block of ice falling, but there's no ice.) Only heard it once in 6+ hours, though, and if I recall, it's usually more frequent than that.

Look forward to hearing your thoughts on what to check next. I may be blonde, but I'm doing my best to learn! ;-)
 

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Jake

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Ok, got it! Thanks.

You have a sealed system problem, and only GE can fix that for you. Contact GE to come out at 1-800-432-2737.

Check your owner's manual warranty, some models have a 5 yr. parts and labor warranty on the sealed system.

Jake
 

LeslieT

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Sep 16, 2020
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Location
Dallas, TX
Thanks so much, Jake. I bought the fridge a few months ago gently used, so it wouldn't be covered under a warranty. Really disappointed that it's already toast--probably best to just get a new fridge--but I'm grateful for your time and input. You've been super helpful.
 

Jake

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Yes, I agree Leslie.

We recommend Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Amana refrigerators when you go refrigerator shopping.:)

Jake
 

LeslieT

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Messages
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Location
Dallas, TX
Yes, my previous fridge was a Whirlpool and was still going strong after 20+ years. The only reason I donated it to a local charity and got this one was because the plastic was starting to get brittle on the shelves. But now that I've been shopping for refrigerators online all day and reading reviews for every manufacturer under the sun, it honestly seems like they just don't make 'em like they used to.

I've been looking at a couple of budget-friendly Whirlpool models (e.g., WRF535SWHZ) and also Frigidaire. But I'll check out options from KitchenAid, Amana and Maytag, based on your advice!

(I'm assuming you'd recommend investing in a new unit rather than having a GE technician fix the current one? I now know this model has a reputation for issues, but it does look really nice.)
 

Jake

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Ok Leslie,

First--->Check your owner's manual warranty, some models have a 5 yr. parts and labor warranty on the sealed system.

Oh that's right you said you bought it used, well you can still call GE at 1-800-432-2737 and see if the warranty is transferable. If not, it would cost more to fix it than you paid for it.

Jake
 

LeslieT

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Location
Dallas, TX
Thanks again, Jake. I was hesitant to pull the trigger on a new unit, but you just helped me make the call.

Meanwhile, the Whirlpool fridge in the garage is from 1994 and still runs like a champ! ;)
 

Jake

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Yes, Whirlpool is a very reliable brand.(y)

Jake
 

LeslieT

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Location
Dallas, TX
Just when you thought you'd gotten rid of me... ;)
So, my now-defunk GE fridge has been uplugged for several days. There's nothing in it--no ice or food--but every few hours, it still makes a big "CLUNK" sound that sounds like ice falling into the ice dispenser. My understanding is that it can make that sound as the gasses in the coils expand, but shoudn't all that be done by now? There are no temperature fluctuations in the house, so why is it still making noise? (The water line still is hooked up, if that's the culprit.)
 

Jake

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Unhook the water line and if it still CLUCKS you will LIKELY need a Priest and Holy Water to resolve this. LOL

Jake
 
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