How to Fix a GE Refrigerator That’s Not Running

Fred's Appliance
February 24, 2019
Refrigerator Repair

If you haven’t heard the hum of your GE refrigerator model GSS25SGMBS running in a while and the temperature inside the appliance is rising, a malfunction is most likely preventing the compressor from turning on. Unfortunately, there are quite a few potential component failures that can cause the part to no longer work. Pinpointing the problem isn’t easy, but it can be done. To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of common malfunctions that stop a compressor from functioning properly.

You should always unplug your refrigerator and turn off the hot and cold water valves before starting a repair. Wearing work gloves and safety goggles is a must to prevent unnecessary injuries from occurring.

The Start Relay

In most refrigerators the start relay is found on the side of the compressor. The relay transmits current to the start windings which then turn on the compressor. A defective relay will stop the compressor from starting, meaning your refrigerator won’t run and the temperature in both compartments will begin rising. To find out if your appliance’s start relay is malfunctioning, you can test its continuity with a multimeter. If it’s lacking continuity, the part will need replacing.

How to Replace a Start Relay in Your GE Refrigerator

  1. Slide your refrigerator forward. You’ll need to create enough room to comfortably remove the lower, back access panel. Once you can get behind your refrigerator, unthread the screws securing the access panel to the refrigerator. Then, pull the panel off the back of your appliance and set it down somewhere safe.
  2. While the panel is off, take a moment to clean your refrigerator condenser coils. The coils pick up quite a bit of dust and grime, which can ultimately affect your appliance’s performance and efficiency. You can use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of any accumulated dirt.
  3. The start relay, which can be found on the side of the compressor, is covered with a small black box. To remove the box, use a flat head screwdriver and gently push the box up and off the relay.
  4. Once the start relay is exposed, use the flat head screwdriver to pry it off the compressor. Before you disconnect the wires running to the relay, take a quick picture of the part, so you know where to place the wires on the new start relay. After you’ve taken the photo, disconnect the wires.
  5. With the old start relay removed, you can retrieve your newly purchased relay and begin installing it. First, reference the picture you took to ensure you connect the wires, to the correct relay terminals. Then, push the start relay onto the two terminals found on the side of the compressor. Next, reattach the black cover box.
  6. Now that your new start relay is installed, you can replace the refrigerator’s lower, back access panel. Once the panel is secure, plug-in your appliance and turn on the hot and cold water valves. Finally, push your fridge back against the wall; leaving at least 3 inches of space to allow the refrigerator to breath.

The Main Control Board

The main control board, also known as the electronic control board, controls when the compressor turns on. A defective control board won’t properly sense when the compressor needs to run, meaning your refrigerator can’t maintain the set temperature. To find out whether or not the control board is the issue, consult your owner’s manual to learn how to run a diagnostic check. If you discover the control board is malfunctioning, follow the steps below to replace the part.

How to Replace the Main Control Board in Your GE Refrigerator

  1. On the back of your refrigerator you’ll find the control board access panel. Unthread the screws securing the panel to the refrigerator, and remove the panel from the back of the appliance.
  2. The control board has a number of wires attached to it. To ensure you know where each wire connects, snap a photo of the control board. Once you’ve taken the picture, start disconnecting the wires. Then, remove the grounding wire from the frame of the control board.
  3. In order to detach the control board from its housing, you’ll need to squeeze the mounting pins holding it in place with a pair of needle nose pliers. Once all the pins are disengaged, simply pull the faulty main control board off the refrigerator.
  4. To install the new control board, line it up with the mounting pins, and carefully push the board onto the pins.
  5. Grab your phone and look at the picture you took of the control board, and start reconnecting the control board wires to their proper terminals. Once all the wires are in the right place, reattach the access panel
  6. Now that the repair is finished, plug-in your appliance and turn on the water.

The Thermistor

Your refrigerator is equipped with a thermistor, which is located inside the freezer behind the rear panel. The thermistor monitors the temperature in your freezer. If the part is faulty, it won’t signal the main control board, meaning the control board won’t send power to the compressor. A defective thermistor must be replaced.

How to Replace a Damaged Thermistor in Your GE Refrigerator

  1. Before you can access the freezer’s rear panel, you’ll need to take out its shelving and bottom bin. After all the shelving is out of your way, remove the light cover from the rear wall, and unscrew the freezer light bulb. Using a screwdriver, unthread the screws securing the rear panel to the back of the freezer and lift the panel up and out of your appliance.
  2. You’ll find the thermistor clipped onto the evaporator tube. Remove the component from the tube, and with a pair of wire cutters, cut the wire near the sensor bulb. Before you get rid of the defective bulb, take the metal retaining clip off the part.
  3. Retrieve the new thermistor, and place the retaining clip from the old part onto the new part. Trim the wire on the thermistor, leaving the bulb and at least 4 inches of the wire intact. Pull the the two wires apart and strip off a small section of insulation. Then, attach a butt connector to each wire end. Once the connectors are secure, head over to your refrigerator and separate the two ends of the old wiring harness. Then strip away around a half inch of insulation from both ends. Next, insert the wire ends into the butt connectors attached to the new thermistor bulb. To finish the repair, clip the thermistor onto the evaporator tube and place the wires behind the evaporator.
  4. Now it’s time to reassemble your freezer compartment. Start by reinstalling the rear access panel. Once the panel is secure, screw in the light bulb you removed earlier, and reattach the light bulb cover. Finally, replace the shelving and bottom bin, and close the freezer door.
  5. Plug-in your refrigerator and turn on the hot and cold water valve.

If your refrigerator’s compressor has stopped working and you can’t figure out what’s causing the issue, please contact us today, and we’ll be happy to diagnose and repair the malfunction.

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