GE Profile PFS22SBSBSS advice needed temperature fluctuations??

avianFebruary 27, 2014

Looking for advice regarding my 7 1/2 year old GE French Door Refrigerator. The freezer temperature fluctuates anywhere from -2 to 15 or a bit more. It used to do this every now and then but the number of times it does this during a day seems to have increased. The refrigerator temps will also fluctuate but not as much, usually ranging from 36 to 42. When this starts to happen the refrigerator noise increases. I generally know when the temperature is rising because I can hear the noise change. I've also noticed that sometimes there is frost/moisture on the outside of packages in the freezer. I know that there was a main board recall but have no idea if this is the main board or something else. I have called GE and they offered me the main board at a reduced price ($50.00 plus tax and shipping) if I install it myself. They also offered having someone come in to check the refrigerator and fix at 50% discount plus the additional $80-100 for service call. Not sure if I should just buy the board from them and try that, have them send out a GE repair person or just get a new refrigerator. Would appreciate any advice/suggestions? Is the main board easy to replace? Could it be this or something else? I believe that I had the main board replaced several years ago when the refrigerator was still under warranty, but I have read that others have had it replaced once and then it winds up needing to be replaced again. The GE rep told me that I have 7 days to decide what I want to do and I spoke with her Monday 2/24. Also was offered possible compensation/discount towards another GE. I went looking at refrigerators yesterday and would prefer another French Door but not even sure, at this point, which brand is reputable, although I am fairly certain I would not get another GE.

BTW, my refrigerator is one that was included in the main board recall but 2 GE reps told me it wasn't even though I found the copy of the letter that was sent out to technicians regarding this. One rep told me that it didn't matter, at this point, if it was part of the recall because the time had passed for getting a free main board replacement. She did tell me that it does sound like a main board problem.

With automatic defrosters what is the general range of temperatures that one might see? How often does the freezer go through defrost cycle or is this an adaptive cycle and it just varies?

I called an appliance repair person who was recommended to me and he told me that he won't touch any GE refrigerators manufactured from 2000 on because of the electronics and it is best to use a GE repair person. He is not willing to install the board if I purchase it but did say that I could do it myself. He's a repair person and doesn't want to do it but a non repair person can...weird. Did tell me that was a great price because they generally sell for about $300, although I have seen these on Amazon for about $108. Maybe he was pricing it with big markup or adding on the labor??? If the main board is not the problem is it still worth it to buy it at the $50.00 price? I really did not appreciate GE's time constraint and don't get why they just wouldn't leave the offer time opened.

Sorry for the length of my post just wanted to give as much info as possible.

Thanks in advance for any assistance.

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Your problem could be the board ... or it could be an erratic temp sensor (thermistor), or fan.

Defrosting shouldn't affect the refrigerator temp. Freezer temp maybe a little but not as much as you're seeing.

Best suggestion is take GE's offer on a service tech to be sure the problem is diagnosed correctly ... unless you can do that yourself.

Replacing the board is fairly easy. I changed the board on my GE Arctica SxS a couple years ago (2004 model). However, the replacement board in my case was a revised part that required a bit of rewiring. Instructions and the necessary wiring adapter was included. Mine takes a different board than yours (variable-speed compressor and dual evaporator). Could be your replacement board is a direct match.

This post was edited by dadoes on Thu, Feb 27, 14 at 13:24

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 1:23PM
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I like to buy appliance parts from RepairClinic because you can return them within a year if it doesn't solve the problem, is the wrong part, etc. What you could try is buying the main board from them, and if it fixes the problem getting it from GE and returning RepairClinic's. You should be able to install the main board yourself. I recommend if you need service manuals or help. In fact, you may want to check there before you order anything as they could help you figure out what the problem is. Too bad they're only giving you a 7 day window, that seems very lame.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 1:24PM
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Thank you very much for the replies. The GE customer service rep called me yesterday to find out what I wanted to do and when I said I wasn't sure she gave me an additional 7 days to decide. Told me that If I have the GE repair person come in and he/she says it's the board then I can still get it from them for $50 and put it in myself. The service person would probably charge me much more than the $50 for the part plus there would also be labor, although whatever the cost it would be 50% with the discount except for the $80-$100 service charge which is not being discounted. The board has a one year exchange warranty, no refund, if I put it in or a non GE service person puts it in. If the GE person puts it in then there is a 5 year warranty, She also told me that instructions are not included with the board. :-(

Was wondering about the acceptable range of temperatures in the freezer during defrost because the repair person with whom I spoke told me that the range was normal and I also read something similar on the internet. I wouldn't even know that there was a change in temperatures if I didn't have the digital display.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 11:42AM
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My Arctica is set on -3°F for the freezer. It typically reads between -1°F and -3°F. I see -3°F on the display when I run the Quick Ice function or the door hasn't been opened for some hours (like when I checked a few mins ago). I've not specifically monitored it for how much swing occurs during defrost, but I've never seen 15°F.

Just to say, there are multiple temp sensors in different locations, any of them could be a little wonky, including the display sensor. Perhaps placing a separate thermometer in the freezer would be useful as a reference. Place it on a middle shelf toward the back.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 12:13PM
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I placed a thermometer in the freezer and noted that the temperature on the display almost matched the temp on the thermometer. The other day the freezer went from 0 to 11 and then back down again. The refrigerator went from 36 to 40. I had added food to the freezer but don't think that is causing the change. I may be putting too much in the freezer but took most of the items out and still don't think that is the reason for the temperature shift.

I am still debating if I should have the GE tech come out and check but it probably is a good idea because I can't do the diagnostics. Have not had the best experience with GE techs in the past and just hoping that whomever comes out will be good at what he/she does and also be trustworthy.

Had a problem with brand new microwave with sensor cooking function with message that I needed to input weight of foods. With my model there was no requirement to input weights. I figured that the wrong control board was in my microwave or the settings were incorrect. The first tech said nothing wrong because it was heating up water. Second tech said the same and then when I called GE to complain I was told that if the tech needed to come out and instruct me on how to use microwave I would have to pay. Called Home Depot and their rep set up appt. for tech to check microwave same day that the rep came to my home to see what was going on. Tech refused to come into my home stating that she had already checked my microwave and nothing was wrong because it was heating the water. Home Depot representative very angry and Home Depot agreed to replace microwave. 2nd microwave worked the way it was supposed to. So not that confident about these techs and their skill sets. :-(

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 2:14PM
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I checked the temperature of the freezer and refrigerator. However I used a candy thermometer so question the accuracy, although a thermometer is a thermometer. The freezer temperature displayed and the thermometer temperature pretty much matched whereas there was a big discrepancy between the thermometer and the displayed refrigerator temperature with the thermometer showing a much warmer temp. I am going to purchase an actual refrigerator thermometer today and give that a try. I question that discrepancy because nothing spoils and food/liquids are very cold.

Thinking I can get one at Lowes or Home Depot.

Thanks again for your suggestions and advice. Am probably going to give GE a call today or tomorrow and set up appt. for tech. Hope that goes well. :-)

Update: decided to move the glass of water with the thermometer in it and recheck fridge temperature and only off by about 4 degrees. Still going to get another thermometer and recheck.

This post was edited by avian on Tue, Mar 4, 14 at 11:54

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 11:37AM
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Give it 24 hrs for the materials to stabilize on the temp-checking.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 12:37PM
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The refrigerator and freezer temps do match the thermometer I purchased. The freezer fluctuates anywhere from about -1/-2 and sometimes up to @ 11.
There is frost on the rails where the basket is seated.
I scheduled an appt. for a GE tech and the rep told me that the service call is $90. I went online and for my area it appears that the service call is $99.95. Based on the price of the service call $90-$100, I am now thinking if I should cancel the appt. and have someone else come and look at it. The only good thing is that there will be a 50% discount for parts and labor but I would imagine that they overprice the cost of this to begin with. Really don't know what to do now. That service charge seems a bit on the high side, but I haven't had anyone in to service an appliance for a long time so I don't really know. They do not apply the service charge towards the repair costs.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 6:34PM
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The GE tech came out and checked my refrigerator. He hooked up his computer to the main board and told me that the tests showed that everything was OK. He removed the back panel and stated that the coils were very dirty and the compressor was hot to the touch. He told me that by not cleaning the coils the life of the fridge has probably been shortened. He said that it should be OK for now and that there was no problem with the main board or anything else. It seemed to be running OK but the freezer temperature started rising this evening and it is now up to 17 degs. and not going down. When he arrived yesterday the temp was at 4 but he said that this was OK and up to 5 degrees for freezer was fine. Yesterday and this AM the temperature would go up slightly but then go back down to 0 or -1.

I also showed him that there was frost on the metal rails of the freezer and he said this was OK. Today there was not only frost on the metal rails but also some of the plastic components. I removed the panel from the main board and the board feels hot. Don't know if this is normal or not. Am used to main board on computers which are being cooled by fans. Felt the area near the condenser and that did not feel hot but did not remove that panel. Could feel air being circulated by the fan. I am going to call GE tomorrow and see what can be done. I paid for the service call and the cleaning and this did not seem to resolve the issues and seems to be worse now.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 12:59AM
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I've had the same problem (temp fluctuations and not holding the set temp) as described by the original poster (Avian) with my GE Profile Arctica of about the same age. I believe I have helpful information to offer.

I had a couple of service calls by the tech who was recommended by the appliance specialty dealer where we bought the fridge. After several visits without success he diagnosed a bad main board. He ordered a board and replaced it. It worked better for a while, but still would not hold the set temp. Eventually I decided to bring in a genuine GE repair tech despite the $90 travel fee (in addition to any labor and parts charges). My thought was that the "real" GE tech might have specific knowledge about the problem.

Well, it turned out he did. I can't say the board did not need to be replaced, but that wasn't the basic problem. It turns out that there's a unit in the top rear of the refrigerator side (against the back wall behind the center light) that is the culprit. This large molded plastic unit has (inside) a small "door" that opens and closes to allow cold air from the freezer unit into the refrigerator side. Basically the fridge works by sending cold air into the freezer, then this door opens and closes to bleed enough cold air from the freezer to the refrigerator side to maintain the fridge temp. That "door" was broken.

The GE tech went right to the problem (he seemed to have seen it before), showed me the broken door, and replaced the molded unit containing the door. It was expensive (of course) but the tech showed me the price then cut it in half for me. He also fixed the ice-maker line (which had basically disintegrated) and cleaned out the coils (though they weren't too bad). Total cost was about $400 (but new higher end fridges were about $3K).

Now (a few months later) it holds the 0 to 1 degree freezer temp and 38 or so fridge temp.

Hope this is helpful.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 9:02PM
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I seem to have the exact problem (temp fluctuations and noise) as described by avian.
The problem and fix posted by yellowdog51 might not be for me or for avian. My freezer temps ~ -2° to 15°. My fridge temps ~ 36° to 42°. I have had my main board replaced twice and service techs can't fix my problem.
The solution posted by yellowdog51 doesn't seem like a fix for my problem.
Cold air created in the freezer is what keeps the fridge cold. A bad damper would not make the freezer ~15° warmer, and fridge ~5° warmer. This seems like an issue related to the defrost cycle.

Avian, did you find a solution? Can anyone offer some advice for me?

My fridge is a GE PDF22MFS.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 9:30AM
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Stoutlover, I think we just inherited the exact same problem in our side by side fridge/freezer that came with our house. Its about 8 years old. Hubby replaced the main board. Then the freezer continued to climb up to 20 degrees and soften the ice cream. The walls of freezer had condensation. THe service tech came, said the main board had already been replaced once before by the old owners. He replaced a sensor called a thermistor. Yet it still climbs to an unacceptable temp for a freezer. We bought a more reliable digital thermometer with an alarm because he said our thermometer was defective, but it's not. Today it reached 28 degrees while I was at work and the kids had to rush to get the food into the spare freezer in the garage. Haven't lost any food yet, fortunately.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 8:51PM
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