The part(s) or condition(s) listed below for the symptom Refrigerator not defrosting are ordered from most likely to least likely to occur. Check or test each item, starting with the items at the top of the page.
The defrost timer turns on the defrost heater several times throughout the day to melt any frost that may have accumulated on the evaporator coils. If the defrost timer is defective, it may not advance into the defrost cycle, or it may not send power to the defrost heater during the defrost cycle. To determine if the defrost timer is defective, slowly advance the dial into the defrost cycle. The compressor should turn off and the heater should turn on. If the timer does not send power to the defrost components or advance out of the defrost cycle within 30 minutes, this indicates that the defrost timer is not advancing. If the defrost timer is not advancing, replace it.
The defrost thermostat monitors the temperature of the evaporator coils. When the coils drop below a set temperature, the thermostat contacts close to allow power to flow to the defrost heater during the defrost cycle. In the defrost cycle, the defrost heater melts away any frost that may have accumulated on the evaporator coils. If the defrost thermostat is defective, the thermostat contacts will not close. As a result, the thermostat won’t provide power to the defrost heater. To determine if the defrost thermostat is defective, use a multimeter to test it for continuity. If the defrost thermostat does not have continuity when it reaches the low temperature of its operating range, replace it.