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How to Diagnose and Repair a Fault With a Frost Free Fridge Freezer

Generally speaking most faults in fridges and freezers are very simple to diagnose, and actually just involve replacing the faulty parts, as explained in this eSpares video. Because of how they work, frost-free appliances tend to be a little bit more complicated to repair.

They develop frost but you cannot see it because it's concealed behind the cover in the back. To give you a better idea of what's going on, in this video we are going to remove the shelves, ice container and the back cover - so you can see the components inside.

Hopefully by watching this video you will be able to identify the issue that you might be experiencing with your fridge freezer.

What You Will Need

Switch Off Your Appliance

Safety First! Please make sure that you have switched your appliance off at the mains before starting your repair.

What’s Wrong? - Ice Build-Up On The Evaporator (Causing Temperature To Be Too Warm)

Here in the back we have an evaporator, now this is essentially a radiator which is cooled by liquefied gas being pumped through it from a compressor. This fan up at the top draws air in and then blows the air across the evaporator, and because the evaporator is very cold it cools the air temperature. That air is then distributed around the cavity by the fan freezing anything that's in there.

On some machines like the model in the video, some of the air is also ducted into the fridge compartment and the flow of that cool air is controlled by a motorised flap. It goes in through a duct up at the top and then travels down through the fridge, and returns through a duct at the bottom.

When you open the freezer door the cool air inside falls out and will be replaced by the warm moist air from the room. This moisture then settles on the cold evaporator, where it actually proceeds to cool so much that it turns to frost.

Overtime a build up of that frost is going to affect the airflow, and will result in the temperature never getting to be low enough. So for that reason there is an element fitted underneath the evaporator which turns on round about every 16 hours of the motor running. For a little while this will heat all the frost up so that it can melt and drain away through the hole in the bottom and out to the back.

There are several possible causes as to why your evaporator is suffering from a build-up of ice - possible reasons could be a faulty heater, a faulty sensor or fuse - or a fault with the control board or timer. Let’s take a look further into this list of possible causes, and how you can identify them.

Cause 1: A Faulty Heater

To test the heater you’ll need to trace its connections to the plug, and in this particular model the wire goes from the heater up the side of the evaporator and behind the fan to a plug in the ceiling of the freezer.

You’ll need to disconnect the heater from the plug and test its resistance with a multimeter. When doing this you're looking for a reading of somewhere between 200 and 300 ohms. If you have any reading outside of that, it would indicate the presence of a fault and you would need to replace the heater.

Cause 2: A Faulty Sensor Or Fuse

Another possible cause is that a fault might develop in the sensor or the fuse - which is located near to the heater. A working sensor or fuse should get a reading on a short circuit (for the fuse) of less than a couple of ohms - and again any reading different to that would indicate the presence of a fault.

There may also be sensors around the evaporator and for that you should be getting a reading of anywhere between 2000 and 40,000 ohms, any reading outside of that which show that there is a fault there and once you've checked all of those areas then the most likely sources the fault is the control board or timer - and you need to get those replaced.

General Note Regarding Some Manufacturers

Some manufacturer’s of fridges and freezers are aware of a build-up of ice that occurs both above or below the evaporator where it's not actually heated. If you contact your manufacturer they may be able to advise you if your appliance requires a modification in order to prevent this issue from occurring.

Need To Locate The Spares For Your Fridge Freezer?

Well hey, thanks for taking the time to look through this video. We hope you have found this video useful in helping you identify the issue with your fridge freezer - we offer a full range of Fridge Freezer spare parts on our website.


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