How to Replace the Defrost Timer in Your GE Refrigerator

Ice build-up on your refrigerator’s evaporator coils or a fridge that is too warm can indicate the defrost timer in your appliance is no longer functioning properly. The timer activates the defrost cycle after the compressor has been running for a set amount of time, meaning the timer sends out a signal to shut off the compressor and turn on the defrost heater for 20 to 30 minutes. When the timer in your GE refrigerator model GTL17JBSBS is defective, it will either stop the defrost cycle from starting or the defrost heater will run for a prolonged period of time. Replacing a malfunctioning defrost timer is a simple repair job that takes only a few hours.

How to Replace a Defrost Timer in Your Refrigerator

Unplug your refrigerator or turn it off at the circuit breaker before starting the repair. Protect your hands and eyes by wearing work gloves and safety goggles.
  1. Open your refrigerator’s door, and unscrew the light bulb from its housing. Using a Philips screwdriver, take out the screws securing the control panel to the ceiling of the fresh food compartment. Lower the control panel, and disconnect the wire harness.
  2. Remove the control panel from the refrigerator and place it on a flat work surface. To gain full access to the defrost timer, pull the sensor bulb out of its housing. With a flat head screwdriver, carefully pry the wire plug off the defrost timer. Depress the locking tabs holding the timer in place and lift the part up and out of the control panel.
  3. Snap the new defrost timer into place and reattach the wire plug. Place the sensor bulb back into its housing, and carry the control panel to the refrigerator.
  4. Start reinstalling the control panel by connecting the wire harness. Next, place the control panel on the fresh food compartment ceiling and secure it with the screws you took out earlier. Finally, reattach the light bulb, and close the refrigerator door.
  5. Plug your appliance back in and enjoy your newly repaired refrigerator.
If the defrost cycle in your refrigerator continues to malfunction, please contact us today and we’ll be happy to help you repair your appliance.