GE refrigerators are known for their reliability and long lifespans. However, like any appliance, they can develop issues that require troubleshooting and repairs over time. Some common error codes and problems with GE refrigerators include the compressor not turning on, the condenser fan not working, temperature control problems, defrost system failures, and error codes on the control panel. With some basic mechanical skills and troubleshooting techniques, many GE refrigerator problems can be fixed at home without needing to call a repair service.
Fix Common GE Refrigerator Error Codes
GE refrigerators are reliable appliances but can still run into issues occasionally. If your GE refrigerator displays an error code, determining the cause and performing some troubleshooting steps can often resolve the problem. Here’s a guide to fixing some of the most common GE refrigerator error codes:
PF Error Code – Power Failure
A PF error code indicates the refrigerator has lost power. Check whether the fridge is still plugged in and whether the outlet is working by plugging in a different appliance. Also, inspect the power cord for damage. Restore power to the outlet and refrigerator; the PF code should clear.
dE Error Code – Defrost Issue
A dE error means the refrigerator hasn’t gone through the automatic defrost cycle in over 48 hours. Turn off the refrigerator and unplug it. Check for any loose wire connections to the defrost components, like the defrost heater and defrost timer. Reconnect any loose wires. You may need to replace the defrost wiring harness if the wires are damaged.
FF Error Code – Freezer Temperature Too High
An FF error code indicates the freezer temperature is too high. First, check that the doors are fully closed. Inspect the door gaskets for any damage that could let in warm air. Avoid opening the freezer to allow the temperature to lower. Press the control panel key to clear the error code. If it persists, contact GE support.
CC Error Code – Freezer Temperature Control
A CC error code means the freezer temperature control needs adjustment. Consult your owner’s manual for the recommended freezer temperature setting. Adjust the temperature controls to the proper setting. Check the door gasket and seal for damage. Allow time for the freezer to reach the new temperature before clearing the CC code.
CI Error Code – Ice Maker Issue
A CI error points to a problem with the ice maker. Check for jammed ice cubes and clear them. Make sure the water supply for the ice maker is turned on. If no water is filling the ice maker mold, turn the ice maker off and back on to reset it. Replace the ice maker assembly if needed.
DF Error Code – Defrost Issue
A DF error code indicates a problem with the defrost system. Test the defrost components like the defrost heater, defrost timer, and defrost thermostat to see if any malfunction. Replace any faulty defrost components so the refrigerator can defrost properly.
E2 Error Code – Control Board Issue
An E2 error points to a problem with the main control board. You’ll need to contact a technician to diagnose the control board and replace it if defective. Don’t try to replace the control board yourself.
HRS Error Code – Stuck in Defrost
An HRS error means the refrigerator is stuck in defrost mode and unable to restart normal cooling. Check the defrost component wiring harnesses and the main control board wires for damage. Replace any damaged harnesses. If the control board is faulty, a technician must replace the main control board.
Press the system check key on the control panel after resolving the underlying issue to reset GE error codes. If an error code keeps returning, have a technician inspect and repair the refrigerator.
Refrigerator Compressor Not Turning On
One of the most common problems with GE refrigerators is the compressor not turning on. The compressor pumps refrigerant through the system to remove heat and keep the refrigerator cold. Here are some tips for fixing a GE refrigerator with a compressor that won’t turn on:
- Check the control panel – Some refrigerators, such as an “energy saver” mode, can turn off the cooling system. Make sure these settings are turned on and calling for cooling.
- Listen for humming – If you hear a constant humming sound, the compressor motor may be trying to start but unable to. This could indicate low refrigerant levels or a failed compressor starting device.
- Test the start relay – The start relay provides power to the compressor motor. Use a multimeter to test if the relay is receiving voltage and working when the compressor tries to turn on. If not, replace the start relay.
- Check the start capacitor – The start capacitor provides a power boost to start the compressor motor. A failed capacitor can prevent the compressor from starting. Test the capacitance and replace it if bad.
- Check for blown fuse – There may be a fuse or circuit board that powers the compressor that has blown. Check the continuity of fuses and look for signs of burning.
- Replace start components – If the compressor motor hums but won’t turn on, the start relay, capacitor, or compressor itself may need replacement. Replace one component at a time until the compressor starts.
- Test compressor windings – Use a multimeter to check the continuity of the compressor motor windings. If open windings are found, the compressor motor is bad and needs replacement.
Condenser Fan is Not Working
The condenser fan blows air over the condenser coils to cool the refrigerator. If the condenser fan stops working, heat can build up and limit cooling. Here is how to troubleshoot and fix a non-working condenser fan:
- Check for debris – Shut off the power and inspect the condenser fan for obstructions. Remove any debris blocking the fan blades.
- Test fan motor – Use a multimeter to test for voltage at the fan motor when the refrigerator is calling for cooling. If there is no power, trace the wiring back to the control board.
- Test blades – Manually spin fan blades to check for seized bearings or rub points. If the blades don’t spin freely, replace the condenser fan motor.
- Check fan switch – Refrigerators have a temperature-controlled switch that turns the fan on/off. Test contacts with a multimeter and replace the switch if defective.
- Replace condenser fan – If motor windings are open or the fan still won’t work after testing components, replace the entire condenser fan assembly.
- Check condenser coils – Dirty condenser coils can cause the fan motor to overheat and fail. Clean debris off coils so air flows freely.
Temperature Control Problems
Inaccurate interior temperatures and warm food are signs of temperature control failure in a GE refrigerator. Possible causes include:
- Dirty condenser coils – Clean coils so the refrigerator can release heat properly.
- Condenser fan problem – Check that the fan is working on blowing air over the coils.
- Return air duct – Ensure the duct that returns cold air to the fridge is open and unobstructed by food items.
- Inaccurate temperature setting – Adjust the temperature control to several degrees colder if set too warm.
- Bad thermistor – The thermistor reads interior temperature. If defective, it can inaccurately control temp. Test and replace if needed.
- Refrigerant leak – Low refrigerant levels can reduce cooling. Look for oil leaks and have the service tech check the refrigerant charge.
- Door seal leak – Replace door gaskets that are torn, cracked, or not sealed. Leaking cold air can cause temperature fluctuations.
- Control board issue – If other components test ok, the main control board may be falsely reading temps. Replace control if needed.
Defrost System Problems
GE refrigerators use automatic defrost systems to melt the frost off evaporator coils periodically. If the defrost system fails, ice can build up and reduce cooling. Here are tips to fix common GE refrigerator defrost problems:
- Check defrost timer – The defrost timer advances at set intervals to start defrost cycle. Test terminals with a multimeter. If not advancing, replace the timer.
- Check to defrost heater – Continuity test heater element. Replace if open. Ensure the heater tube is not cracked or iced over.
- Defrost thermostat stops the defrost heater when the coils reach a set temperature. Test thermostat continuity and replace if faulty.
- Defrost control board – If equipped, the defrost control monitors the system and cycles the heater. Replace if not functioning.
- Manually defrost – Unplug the fridge and use towels and a hair dryer to defrost coils if iced over manually. Recheck components after the ice is removed.
- Check drain tube – Ensure defrost water can drain into the pan under the fridge by clearing blockages.
Replacing Control Boards
Many error codes point to problems with the refrigerator’s main control board. Before replacing the control board:
- Review error codes – Write down any errors and research what they mean. Compare with control board diagnosis.
- Check for power – Use a multimeter to verify the control board receives 120V power. If not, trace the electrical back to the source.
- Inspect for damage – Look for burned spots or corroded terminals on the control board. This can help confirm a defective board.
- Test components – Check if components like temperature sensors, thermistors, and valves that connect to the board are damaged. This can isolate the problem.
- Firmware update – Some control board issues can be fixed by updating firmware. Check the manufacturer’s website for available updates.
- Replace control board – If power is confirmed and components test ok, replacing the main control board is likely needed to resolve error codes.
When installing a new control board, carefully follow directions to reconnect all labeling wires. Program any settings, temperature controls, or other customizations after replacement.
GE Refrigerator Troubleshooting FAQ
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about troubleshooting GE refrigerator problems:
Q: How can I reset a GE refrigerator error code?
A: After resolving the issue, most GE refrigerator error codes can be reset by pressing the reset or clear button on the control panel. Some codes, like PF, will reset on their own once power is restored.
Q: Why does my GE refrigerator keep showing the same error code?
A: If an error code persists after troubleshooting, it likely means the underlying problem has not been properly fixed. Call a technician if you cannot resolve the issue indicated by the recurring error code.
Q: Do GE refrigerator error codes go away on their own?
A: Some errors, like a PF power failure code, will clear on their own once power is restored. Persistent error codes usually need to be manually cleared after fixing the problem. Codes will not disappear independently if the issue has not been corrected.
Q: My GE refrigerator lights are not working. How can I fix this?
A: Check if the refrigerator is getting power. Then inspect the LED light strips or bulbs for damage, and replace any burnt-out bulbs. Test the door switches by manually activating them. If the lights still don’t work, replace the failed light switches or control boards.
Q: The freezer section is cold, but the refrigerator is warm. What could cause this?
A: This points to a cooling problem only affecting the refrigerator section. Possible causes include a clogged air return duct, a condenser fan issue only impacting the refrigerator coils, or a partially frozen evaporator coil. Check and clear the return duct, test the refrigerator condenser fan, and defrost the evaporator coil if icy.
Q: My GE refrigerator makes buzzing and vibrating noises. How do I stop this?
A: Noisy or vibrating refrigerators are often caused by the condenser fan hitting a wire coil, a bad compressor motor, or the cabinet not sitting level on the floor. Adjust fan wiring, replace the compressor, or adjust the refrigerator’s feet to level it to quiet vibrations.
Q: What causes the inside of my GE refrigerator to accumulate moisture?
A: Excess moisture inside the refrigerator is typically caused by a clogged defrost drain, failed door gaskets, or prolonged door openings. Ensure the drain tube is clear, replace worn gaskets, and ensure doors seal properly when shut. Also, check humidity levels.
Q: How do I reset or reboot my GE refrigerator’s control panel?
A: To reboot the control panel, unplug the refrigerator or turn off the circuit breaker for 1 minute. This resets the refrigerator and clears any software glitches. When powered back on, let it run for 24 hours to allow temperatures to stabilize.
Q: What does the EF code mean on a GE refrigerator?
A: The EF code on a GE refrigerator usually indicates TurboFreeze (tF) mode is activated. The tF setting may appear like EF in the display. This is normal when TurboFreeze is turned on and not an error code.
Q: Why does my fridge say 5Y EF?
A: The 5Y EF error means there is an issue with communication between the evaporator fan and the main control board. Check that the fan wiring is securely plugged into the control board. Try resetting the refrigerator by turning the power off for 5 minutes to clear the error. If it persists, service may be needed.
Q: How do you fix SY EF on a refrigerator?
A: To fix SY EF, ensure the evaporator fan can spin freely without ice buildup or other blockages. Once the fan is restored, reset the refrigerator to clear SY EF by powering it intermittently. Replace the fan if it is mechanically obstructed or faulty.
Q: What causes an evaporator fan to stop working?
A: Common causes for an evaporator fan failure are ice/frost blocking the fan blades, bent fan blades rubbing the housing, and motor failure. Check for ice buildup first and clear it if present. Then inspect the fan blades for damage. Replace the entire fan assembly if faulty.
Q: How do I turn off the control lock on a GE Profile refrigerator?
A: To disable the control lock on a GE Profile refrigerator, press and hold the lock button for 3 seconds. This will deactivate the child control lock feature and restore normal control panel operation.