This DIY repair guide gives step-by-step instructions for replacing the defrost heater in a side-by-side refrigerator. During the defrost cycle, the defrost heater melts frost from the evaporator fins. If the defrost heater fails, frost builds up in the freezer, and the refrigerator works less efficiently. If the defrost heater is visibly damaged, replace it with the manufacturer-approved replacement part that fits your model. If the defrost heater isn't visibly damaged, a service technician should diagnose the cause of frost buildup before you install a replacement, because a failed defrost heater is just one of several possible reasons.
This procedure works for Kenmore, Whirlpool, KitchenAid, GE, Maytag, Amana, Samsung, LG, Frigidaire, Electrolux, Bosch and Haier side-by-side refrigerators.
Disconnect the electrical power
Safely store any food that could deteriorate while the refrigerator is shut off for this repair. Then, unplug the refrigerator or shut off the circuit breaker for the refrigerator.
Remove shelf supports from the freezer
Remove the shelves and baskets from the freezer compartment. Remove the screws from the shelf supports on the right interior wall of the freezer and pull the supports out.
Tip: If necessary, refer to your owner's manual for guidance in removing baskets and shelves in the freezer.
Remove the freezer basket.
Remove the freezer shelf supports.
Remove the back panel
Remove the mounting screws that secure the freezer’s inside back panel. Pull out the bottom of the panel slightly to release it and then remove the panel from the freezer.
Remove the evaporator panel screws.
Remove the evaporator panel.
Release the locking tabs that secure the black wires to the top of the defrost heater and disconnect the wires.
Disconnect the defrost heater wires.
Remove the defrost heater
Unhook the hangers at the bottom of the evaporator. If your evaporator has clips, release them. Remove any plastic foam insulation from around the evaporator.
Work the defrost heater downward and pull it out.
Unhook the defrost heater hangers.
Remove the defrost heater.
Install the new the defrost heater
Insert the new defrost heater into the evaporator assembly. Reinstall the mounting clips at the bottom of the evaporator.
Connect the wires at the top of the evaporator.
Reinstall the back panel
Reinstall the back panel and secure it in place with the mounting screws. Overtightening the screws can crack the freezer liner or mounting rails, so rotate the screws until they stop and then snug them up with a final twist.
Reinstall the baskets and shelves.
Restore electrical power
Plug in the refrigerator or turn on the house circuit breaker to restore power.