If your General Electric (GE) side-by-side refrigerator is not cooling properly or is not cooling at all, there are several potential problems with the appliance that could be causing the problem. This style of refrigerator works in the same basic way as traditional single-door refrigerators only with a slightly different configuration. The freezer and icemaker are generally located on one side and the cold air is circulated into the opposite side to keep your food cold. Several factors could affect its ability to keep cool.
One of the ways a refrigerator can lose its cool is by allowing the cool air to leak out around the doors. Refrigerator doors are sealed with a rubber gasket that traps the cool air inside. If the gasket is dirty or damaged, the air can seep out and cause the internal temperature to be too high. Another symptom of this problem is occasional frosting of the food inside the refrigerator. Repairing or replacing the gasket will usually clear up the issue.
While the temperature may only fluctuate slightly as a result, a light inside the refrigerator can cause inefficient cooling. A switch located on the outer facing of the door turns the light off when the door closes, but if the switch is malfunctioning, the light will stay on permanently. This constant light will produce a small amount of heat and could bring your refrigerator temperature above the level you want. Check the switch by pressing it with your finger to see if the light goes off if you suspect this problem. The light remaining on could also indicate a gasket problem. The switch would work normally if the gasket were the problem.
Evaporator Coil Frosting
One of the most common causes of a GE refrigerator not cooling properly is a problem with the self-defrosting functions, according to the Appliance Repair It website. If the back of the freezer compartment is covered in more than a very think layer of frost, the evaporator coils are likely frozen, which will cause improper cooling in the unit. You'll have to remove the panel covering the coils to verify frost buildup. Once the problem is found, you will need to leave the freezer door open, remove perishable foods and allow the ice to melt off before it will return to normal cooling. You can also use a hair dryer, but this is only a temporary fix and you will probably need to replace the faulty part inside the defrost system. The parts likely to cause the problem are the defrost thermostat, defrost heater or the thermistor located above the coils.
If one of the fan motors is not functioning properly, the refrigerator will not cool correctly. One fan is located on the back of the refrigerator near the condenser coils and must be running anytime the condenser is running. The other is the evaporator fan motor that circulates the cold air. If this fan doesn't come on when the door of the refrigerator is left on for around three minutes, the motor needs to be replaced.
Lee Morgan is a fiction writer and journalist. His writing has appeared for more than 15 years in many news publications including the "Tennesseean," the "Tampa Tribune," "West Hawaii Today," the "Honolulu Star Bulletin" and the "Dickson Herald," where he was sports editor. He holds a Bachelor of Science in mass communications from Middle Tennessee State University.