How to Replace the Defrost Heater in a Top-Freezer Refrigerator

 

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This DIY repair guide gives step-by-step instructions for replacing a defrost heater in a top-mount refrigerator. The defrost heater melts frost from the freezer's evaporator fins. If the heater fails, frost builds up on the evaporator, resulting in warm freezer temperatures. If your defrost heater is defective, replace the heater with a manufacturer-approved replacement part.

Repair difficulty:
     
Time required:

Less than 30 min.

Parts Required:

  • Refrigerator defrost heater

For manuals, repair guides, and specific part recommendations, enter your model number.

Tools Required:

  • Work gloves
  • Nut driver set
  • Needle nose pliers

Before you begin

Wear work gloves to protect your hands. Move your frozen food from the freezer to the refrigerator section during this repair.

Instructions

 Warning: Undertaking repairs or maintenance to appliances or power equipment can be hazardous. Should you choose to undertake repairs or maintenance, you are assuming the risk of injury to your person or property. In an effort to reduce the risk, use the proper tools and safety equipment noted in the applicable 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 or maintenance, however, should only be performed by a qualified technician.

How to Replace the Defrost Heater in a Top-Freezer Refrigerator

Step 1: Shut off the power

Unplug the power cord from the wall outlet.

Step 2: Remove the freezer shelf

Remove the spacer in the freezer shelf.

 

Push the shelf to the left to release the right side of the shelf from the holes.

 

Pull the shelf out of the freezer.

Step 3: Remove the evaporator cover

Remove the mounting screws from the evaporator cover.

 

Pull the top of the evaporator cover down and unplug the evaporator fan wire harness.

 

Push the evaporator cover to the left side of the freezer and disconnect the green ground wire and the ice maker wire harness from the evaporator cover.

 

Pull the evaporator cover out of the freezer.

Step 4: Remove the defrost heater

Unplug the defrost heater wires.

 

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

 

Pull the evaporator coil outward just enough to slide the defrost heater down and out.

 

Pull the defrost heater out.

Step 5: Install the new defrost heater

Slide the new defrost heater back up under the evaporator.

 

Reinstall the two aluminum straps and push the evaporator back in position.

 

Connect the defrost heater wires.

Step 6: Reinstall the evaporator cover

Position the evaporator cover in the freezer compartment and reconnect the ice maker wire harness and ground wire.

 

Push the evaporator cover to the center of the freezer compartment and reconnect the evaporator fan wire harness.

 

Position the evaporator cover over the evaporator and reinstall the mounting screws.

Step 7: Reinstall the freezer shelf

Push the shelf into the mounting holes on the left side of the freezer compartment wall.

 

Slide the shelf to the right and reinstall the shelf spacer.

Step 8: Restore electrical power

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