Hotpoint (GE) Refrigerator Repair Not Cooling
Well, my 2004 Hotpoint (GE) refrigerator decided it was time to take a break. The freezer side on this double door model seemed fine but the other fresh food side was quite another story. I really do not know how long it had been holding the 58 degree temperature but surely it couldn’t have been more than a few days. The ice maker seemed a bit weak, in so much as the cubes were a bit smaller and less quantity, so I figured something was wrong but I really didn’t know where.
I took the metal plate off the back that protected the compressor, and fan assembly, and noticed that the fan and the compressor seemed to run just fine. While I was there I unplugged the refrigerator, and vacuumed out the coils just for good measure. I also checked the fan to see that it spun freely, and it did. Having found no apparent problems I decided to listen to see if the fan worked on the freezer side. After re-plugging in the refrigerator, I noticed the fan in the freezer was running fine. I then turned my attention back to the fresh food side.
I noticed a plastic cover box type fixture in the top left corner of the unit. I removed the cover and found a door type flap that was closed. I originally thought that this door, being closed as it was, may be causing my problem. Later it turned out that the door opened fine when the refrigerator decided it was time. This is an electronic refrigerator with a mother board. I guess you could call it a smart refrigerator, and it sure seemed smarter than I did at this time.
Not knowing what to check next, I turned to some YouTube videos for help. Luckily I found ShawnryanIII and learned quit a lot about these electronic Hotpoint (GE) refrigerators. It seems that a thermostat-resistor called a thermistor is responsible for monitoring the various cooling and heating functions in these units. I now was able to check a thermistor and sure enough I had a bad one. It controlled the defrost function.
Armed with this new knowledge, I proceeded to remove all the food from the freezer side. I also removed the ice maker, (which I found later wasn’t necessary), the shelving, and the metal plate covering the evaporator coils. Sure enough, the evaporator was all iced over, the fan was unable to pull air through the coils and distribute it to the fresh food side. I ordered a thermistor and defrosted all the coils really well and put everything back together and all the food back in the freezer. My plan was to let the Hotpoint refrigerator run until my part came in.
My plan worked just fine, and when the thermistor arrived I decided to check the defrost heater and thermostat, just because I didn’t do it the first time. Sure enough I found that the defrost heater was bad as well. Of course I had to remove all the frozen food and defrost the coils again with a hair dryer to do this. Now I had manually defrosted the Hotpoint refrigerator twice. I decided to wait till the heater arrived, so I could install all the parts at the same time.
Well, as luck would have it, one day the wife said something was burning in the kitchen, and it sure didn’t smell like her cooking. It was something electrical and it was coming from the refrigerator. I immediately unplugged the box and tried to determine where and what the smell had come from. My worst fears were acknowledged after watching another YouTube GE diagnostic video by ShawnryanIII. Yep, the ole motherboard relay was bad. I ordered another motherboard for my Hotpoint (GE) electronic refrigerator, which now had me waiting for two parts. All the food that could be saved was moved to and old refrigerator I had in the garage where it was being used to store car parts in. That old Philco brand box still worked fine, at least I hoped it would till my parts came in.
Finally, the parts arrived and once again I was off to the races. Everything came apart, and went together nicely including the motherboard. After all the parts were installed I plugged the box in, and you know what? That compressor came on the fans were running and the Hotpoint (GE) Electronic Refrigerator was cooling down properly on both sides now. I reloaded it with what food was left, and gave thanks for knowledge that helped me finish this job.
At the time of this writing it has been over six weeks and my old friend in the kitchen is still purring along. The fresh food temperature is in the low 40 degrees and the freezer is making bigger, nicer ice cubes, and keeping the frozen food more solid than before. It is easy to take for granted many things in this world, but when that reliable refrigerator quits working, and you live in a rural area, you find an all new appreciation for what you had. At least I did. May your repairs go smoothly and remember…You Can Do It!
Watch the video of my repair below.