How to Replace a Bulb in a GE Profile Refrigerator

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If you are having trouble with your refrigerator's lights, it might be due to wiring.
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Your GE Profile refrigerator may use incandescent light bulbs, and a typical bulb, like a GE microwave light bulb, is a 40-watt one. Incandescent bulbs burn out more frequently than LEDs, which you'll find in some GE Profile models, and replacing them is no more difficult than removing the cover, unscrewing the bulb and screwing in a new one. GE Appliances advises using a replacement bulb with the same or lower wattage.

If your refrigerator has LED lights and they stop working, the fault is seldom with the bulbs themselves but with the transformer or internal wiring. For this reason, GE advises you to call an authorized technician.

How to Replace a GE Profile Refrigerator Light Bulb

Depending on the model, you may find a lightbulb in one of four places in your GE Profile refrigerator:

  • In the ceiling of the fresh food section.
  • On the back wall of the fresh food section behind the upper crisper drawers.
  • In the roof of the freezer section.
  • Above the water dispenser.

In the first three cases, the procedure for replacing the bulb is virtually identical:

  1. Unplug the refrigerator.
  2. Grasp the light shield and slide it toward you until it unsnaps.
  3. Unscrew the old bulb, screw in a new one and replace the shield.
  4. Plug in the refrigerator.

In some cases, you may have to move something out of the way, such as a shelf or drawer. This is obviously easier to do if you remove all the food from it first.

If the light bulb for your water dispenser goes out, simply unplug the refrigerator, grasp the bulb, unscrew it, screw in a new one and plug the appliance back in.

Where to Get New Light Bulbs

You can buy a refrigerator bulb at Lowe's, Home Depot, Menards or your local hardware store. You'll want an appliance bulb, which is the same type you'd use for a GE range hood light bulb replacement. It's smaller than a conventional bulb, and it's typically 40 watts or less.

You can theoretically replace an incandescent appliance bulb with a CFL or LED to save energy, but the bulb must be small enough to fit behind the light shield. Fortunately, bulb manufacturers are beginning to supply these, and they don't cost much more than incandescent bulbs. Before you purchase one, compare its size to an incandescent appliance bulb and select it only if it's the same size or smaller and has the same size screw threads.

GE Profile Refrigerators with LED Lighting

LED lighting is a fairly new innovation on GE refrigerators. The lights are behind strips in the refrigerator frame where they take less space. Because LEDs aren't actually bulbs, but circuit rectifiers that glow when electricity passes through them, they seldom burn out. So, when the lights go off, it's usually because of a problem with the circuitry and not the lights themselves.

The reason GE recommends calling for service when the LEDs won't light is that the problem could be wiring that affects other refrigerator functions, and diagnosing it calls for the right tools and expertise. Sometimes a step-down transformer is at fault, but it's usually buried and some disassembly is required to access it. If you do go to the trouble of removing it and it turns out not to be faulty, you'll wish you'd had a pro with the right testing equipment on the job from the start.

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Chris Deziel is a contractor, builder and general fix-it pro who has been active in the construction trades for 40 years. He has degrees in science and humanities and years of teaching experience. An avid craftsman and musician, Deziel began writing on home improvement topics in 2010. He worked as an expert consultant with eHow Now and Pro Referral -- a Home Depot site. A DIYer by nature, Deziel regularly shares tips and tricks for a better home and garden at Hunker.com.

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