Self-defrosting refrigerators have existed since the late 1960s and are a time-saving modern convenience. Before refrigerators had a self-defrost mechanism, the buildup of ice would have to chipped away manually. An important part of the defrost mechanism is the defrost timer. The defrost timer controls how often the refrigerator enters the defrost mode in a 24-hour period. If there is a build up of frost or the temperature in the refrigerator does not cool down enough, the defrost timer may need an adjustment.

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Modern refrigerators self-defrost to save time and effort.

Step 1

Unplug the electrical cord from the wall.

Step 2

Locate the defrost timer on your refrigerator. The defrost timer is either behind a panel in the wall of the freezer section or at the bottom of the back near the compressor. The timer has a dial that may have a knob or a slit in the top. If you have a manual for your refrigerator, it can provide help in locating the defrost timer.

Step 3

Remove the panel in the freezer, if the defrost timer is there, using a Phillips screwdriver. If the defrost timer is at the bottom back, remove the back panel with a Phillips screwdriver.

Step 4

Remove the cover that may be on top the dial using a Phillips screwdriver.

Step 5

Turn the dial clockwise one notch to increase the amount of time between defrost cycles. This adjustment is made if you are having trouble with a build up of ice in the refrigerator. The dial is turned by hand or may have a slot that a standard screwdriver is inserted into to turn the dial. Turn the dial counterclockwise to decrease the amount of time between defrost cycles. This adjustment is made if the refrigerator is having trouble cooling down, which means the defrost cycle may be running to often.

Step 6

Reassemble the refrigerator and plug in the electrical cord. Allow three to four hours for the refrigerator to readjust. If problems persist, make another minor adjustment until the cycle is running properly.