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How do I replace a Defrost Sensor in a Side-By-Side Refrigerator?

The bi-metal thermostat-trips, also known as the refrigerator defrost sensor, are used to detect when the temperature of the evaporator is getting hot enough to cause overheating. The power was cut off when the sensor tripped. Frost builds up on the evaporator fins of the refrigerator and freezer if the defrost sensor trips. To check the sensor for continuity, you can use the volt-ohm meter. If the sensor doesn't show continuity at 0 degrees F, replace it.

Follow these steps to fix your issue:

  1. Disconnect the electrical power.

    While the refrigerator is shut off, store any food that could degrade. Shut off the circuit breaker on the refrigerator.

  2. Remove shelf supports from the freezer.

    There are shelves and baskets in the freezer compartment. Pull out the supports from the shelf on the right interior wall of the freezer. Refer to your owner's manual if you need to remove baskets and shelves from the freezer.

  3. Remove the back panel.

    The back panel of the freezer has mounting screws on it. To release it, pull the bottom of the panel outward.

  4. Unclamp the defrost sensor from the evaporator.

    The positioning of the sensor is noted. Release the metal clip that holds the sensor. If you take a digital photo of the defrost sensor, it will help you position the replacement correctly.

  5. Remove the defrost sensor.

    Pull the defrost sensor out of the freezer by cutting the wires near it.

  6. Install the new defrost sensor.

    Use a wire stripper to get rid of the insulation on the new sensor. The harness above the evaporator has a pink and brown wire on it. The wires should be connected using wire nuts. Silicone sealant should be squeezed into the open ends of the wire nuts to keep the connection dry.

  7. Clip the defrost sensor onto the refrigerant line.

    The sensor can be clipped onto the line. It should be positioned the same as the original defrost sensor. Push the wires above the evaporator if you don't disturb the sealant on the wire nuts. To keep the wires out of the way, use a cable tie.

  8. Reinstall the back panel.

    Put the back panel back in place. The mounting rails can be cracked if the screws are tightened too much. Then snug the screws up with a final twist rotating them. The baskets and shelves should be reinstalled.

  9. Restore electrical power.

    You can restore power by plugging in the refrigerator or the house circuit breaker.

Time required: 45 minutes.

You would need the following tools: 1/4-inch nut driver, work gloves.

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