How to Replace a Freezer Defrost Heater



This DIY repair guide explains how to replace the defrost heater in a freezer. The defrost heater melts frost and ice from the freezer's evaporator fins. If the defrost heater stops working, frost builds up on the evaporator and the freezer warms up. Replace the defrost heater with the manufacturer-approved replacement part if the heater no longer works.

Use this basic procedure to replace the defrost heater in Kenmore, Frigidaire, Electrolux, Whirlpool, KitchenAid, GE, Crosley, Gibson and Kelvinator freezers.

Repair difficulty:
Time required:

Less than 45 min.

Parts Required:

  • Defrost heater

Tools Required:

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Work gloves

Before you begin

Move highly perishable food to a cooler or other cooled space. The freezer will be without power for about 45 minutes, which shouldn't affect most frozen foods.

Wear work gloves to protect your hands.


 Warning: Undertaking repairs to appliances can be hazardous. Use the proper tools and safety equipment noted in the guide and follow all instructions. Do not proceed until you are confident that you understand all of the steps and are capable of completing the repair. Some repairs should only be performed by a qualified technician.

How to Replace the Defrost Heather in a Freezer

Step 1: Disconnect the electrical power

Unplug the freezer or shut off the circuit breaker for the freezer.

Step 2: Remove the evaporator cover

Remove the drawers and shelves from the freezer.

Remove the screws from the evaporator cover at the back of the freezer.

Pull the evaporator cover out of the freezer.

Step 3: Remove the defrost heater

Remove the two aluminum straps at the bottom of the evaporator.

Remove the Styrofoam insulators from both sides of the evaporator.

Unplug the defrost heater wires.

Pull the defrost heater out.

 Warning: The aluminum fins of the evaporator are sharp. Wear work gloves to protect your hands.

Step 4: Install the new defrost heater

Push the new defrost heater into the evaporator.

Reinstall the two aluminum straps and the Styrofoam insulators.

Connect the defrost heater wires.

Step 5: Reinstall the evaporator cover

Position the evaporator cover on the back wall and reinstall the mounting screws.

Reinstall the drawers and shelves inside the freezer cabinet.

Step 6: Restore electrical power

Plug in the freezer or turn on the house circuit breaker to restore power.