How To Put A GE Refrigerator Into Defrost (Do This!)

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart
It is normal for GE refrigerators to accumulate a lot of frost, and that means it is time to set it to defrost. Your GE refrigerator may have an automated defroster, but if not, you will need to do it manually. Whether it be initiating the defrost function or safely storing your frozen goods, let’s take a look at how you can set your GE fridge to defrost.

A refrigerator that’s working will eventually build up a little bit of frost. Even if you are meticulous about keeping your fridge clean, there will be points where you need to defrost your machine. With most GE models, your fridge will go into an automatic defrost mode from time to time to ensure that you don’t get freezer burn. Sometimes, you may need to force a defrost manually. Wanna know how to do it?

Most GE refrigerators now have automated defrosters that make it easy to maintain them. To force a GE refrigerator in this category into defrost mode, do the following:

  • Open the refrigerator. 
  • Push the refrigerator light switch on five times rapidly. 
  • Remove foods from the freezer and place them in a cooler while your freezer defrosts.

Forcing your refrigerator into defrost mode should be easy, but there is still more that you need to be aware of. You need to reset your GE model’s temperature control and more. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

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Before We Begin: A Note About GE Refrigerators

General Electric makes a very wide range of different products, and that includes refrigerators. Each GE model is different, which is why we want to point out that it’s always best to refer to your refrigerator’s owner’s manual that came with the fridge itself for instructions on defrosting. To be fair, we’d also say the same thing for other fridge problems, such as having a temperature that doesn’t stay stable.

If you do not have your owner’s manual, don’t panic. In most cases, you can find information regarding your fridge on GE’s website. When in doubt, go to the manufacturer.

How Often Should You Defrost A Fridge?

This all depends on the type of fridge that you have as well as the condition that it’s in. If you have a refrigerator that automatically defrosts itself, chances are that actually stepping in will be a once in a blue moon issue. You should try to defrost your mechanical fridge at least once every six months.

If you have a manual defrost GE model, then you should start defrosting your fridge whenever you notice the frost build-up between 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. This is a good benchmark for most models, actually, since it can take a while for your fridge to cool (and get humid) to the point of building up frost.

Is My Defroster Broken?

Though GE makes sturdy refrigerators, they are not infallible. If you notice any of the following issues, there’s a chance that you have a problem with your refrigerator that needs to be addressed by a licensed professional:

  • You can’t seem to get your fridge to defrost. If the defroster mechanism doesn’t work, then you probably have a broken defroster. You need to get this fixed.
  • The frost on your freezer is all piled up in the back. This suggests that there is an uneven distribution of moisture that needs to be addressed. This usually means your condenser has a problem.
  • The frost seems to congregate on one corner or the ceiling. Truth be told, any strange occurrences featuring weird ice patterns should warrant closer inspection.
  • You notice that you have frost building up at a fast pace. You shouldn’t see much frost building up over the course of a month. If you have to defrost it monthly, or even once every three months, call someone for help.

How To Manually Defrost Your GE Refrigerator

While they’re getting rarer, there are still some models that require manual defrosting. If you have one of these models, here’s what GE suggests you do:

  • Start by removing perishables from your freezer, and putting them in a cooler for safekeeping. This should be done any time you need to undergo a major defrosting session.
  • Turn the temperature control to the “OFF” setting. Most models will need to have it off for at least two hours to fully defrost. t can take longer if the refrigerator shows serious buildup.
  • Using a blunt scraper, start removing the frost as the freezer thaws. Do not use a knife or other sharp instrument, since this can poke a hole in the freezer’s body and cause permanent damage to your refrigerator.
  • Sponge up the water as it melts. There’s also going to be water that drains from hidden compartments into the opening of the top of your fresh food compartment. You can catch water flowing here by placing a small cup of water. Drain the water as it comes in, replacing the cup.
  • Once the water is fully drained and removed, towel dry the interior of the freezer. This helps prevent the water from causing more frost later on.
  • Turn the temperature control to the setting of your choice. You’re done defrosting everything, which means that you can put your food back in the freezer.

After Getting Defrosted: Reset Your Defrost Timer

If you were able to force your fridge into defrost mode by pressing the light switch, chances are that your GE model has a timer. This means that you may have to reset your timer in order to get your fridge to work properly after you force a defrost.

How To Reset Your Defrost Timer

Now that we got that understood, let’s talk about how to reset the defrost timer after you’ve defrosted your fridge:

  • Check your manual to find out if you need to reset your defrost timer. If you do, you will need to use the manual to locate the defrost timer.
  • Go to the area where your defrost timer is located and remove the panel. You can usually find it in the lower back panel of the fridge. Use a screwdriver to remove the panel.
  • Turn the circular notch on the front of the timer until the fan shuts off. You’ve reset the defrost timer! Yay!
  • Replace the panel guard, using a screwdriver to secure things into place. Once that’s done, your machine should be running pretty smoothly.

Note: If you have a GE refrigerator with a computerized defrost setting, then you cannot use these instructions. Rather, use the instructions in the manual or call a repairman. Electric GE refrigerators are run by computer chips rather than mechanical workings and timers.

What Should You Do If You Believe Your Refrigerator Defroster Is Broken?

Let’s say that you’ve been doing a bunch of work trying to get your defrosting on, but to no avail. You even found your owner’s manual online and followed their instructions, but no dice. Sound familiar? If so, you probably need to schedule a call with a local repair company that works with GE appliances.

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Related Questions

How often does a GE refrigerator defrost?

If you have an automatic defroster, then you should expect your defroster to run in cycles. Most GE models will defrost themselves for between 25 to 45 minutes. This is done approximately twice per day to ensure that your fridge stays frost-free and avoids bouts of freezer burn.Each GE model has its own unique defrosting schedule, so it’s not always easy to predict. This is especially true if you have a model that features adaptive defrosting. If you notice that your defroster isn’t working on a regular basis, you may want to look into the matter via a repairman.

Why is my fridge freezing up?

If you’re noticing a large buildup of frost in your fridge, then you should be aware of the cause of a typical frosted-over freezer. The most common reason why you may see a freeze occurring to your fridge deals with airflow. Frosting happens when warm, humid air gets trapped in the freezer.To prevent your fridge from freezing up, make sure that the area of your fresh food has enough airflow inside them and that no vents are blocked by food.

How do you defrost a freezer?

Freezers are extremely easy to defrost regardless of the make and model. The easiest way to do it is to turn off the freezer/refrigerator, leave the doors open, and wait. While waiting for the freezer to defrost, make sure to sponge up all the water that starts to drip down the freezer. You may need to scrape off the ice in order to reduce the mess you have to clean up.It can take up to 24 hours for a freezer to fully defrost using this method. This will allow your fridge to “rest” and also dry off after the frost is removed.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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