I've got a very nice split door refrigerator, bottom drawer freezer. (GE model GFE2HSHFSS). This unit has two separate evaporator coils, one for the refrigerator (fresh food) and another for the bottom freezer. So the top evaporator coil totally froze up, including the drain. Made lots of ice in the wrong places.

Split door refrigerator

I took everything apart, waited for the ice to melt and carefully put it all back together. Its not clear at all to me on what caused the freeze up issue.

It could have been poor seal on door allowing high humidity to condensate / freeze in the refrigerator. (highly unlikely, as I would see a fail somewhere.. I see not.)

It could be low refrigerant causing screw ups with Thermostatic eXpansion Valve (TXV) and partial core evap issues. I'm not seeing that. Remember this unit has two separate evap cores, one for freezer and another for top refrigerator. The freezer evap core seems just fine. I doubt this unit has a leak.

My suspicion is the top DC air flow fan motor is inoperative.. but this isn't really clear. When the door is open (or open with door switch pushed closed) I totally can't hear or feel much in terms of upper refrigerant airflow. There is a barely discernable feel of air coming out of the refrigerator evap core outlet, at the bottom of the refrigerator fresh food area.

I can't tell how a properly operational system functions. I would have thought that in a system with evaporator core at the bottom of the refrigerator that air would flow INTO the evap core at the bottom of the unit and output from the top of the refrigerator area, but this doesn't seem to work that way. Generally in HVAC design cooling air is delivered to the top of the area where cooling is desired, not the bottom.

Also, although the freezer is getting cold, the top refrigerator (fresh food) unit @ 20 hours of operation since startup is around 53 Deg F.

Upper refrigerator air inlet or outlet?

Anybody have one of these split door bottom drawer freezer type units?

  1. How does the top unit air flow work?
  2. Can you hear / feel the upper fan motor running when you open the door?
  3. Can you hear / feel the upper fan motor running when you press the closed door button?
  4. Can you discern the direction of air flow in the back of the unit? (air IN at the top, or OUT at the top of the refrigerator fresh food unit?)

Many thanks.

2 Answers 2


I've got pretty much the same fridge.


GE Profile. I can tell you that the outlet is at the top and without the ciculator running it will freeze. The circulation fan runs even with the door switch open. Also I think the defrost timer on these are solid state, not the mechanical ones that often fail. There could be a sensor somewhere cousing problems with the defrost cycle but you best course of action, based on the information provided, is to test the fan. If it's DC you can test it with batteries. A 12v DC motor will run on a 9v for testing purposes. It's voltage rating should be written on it. I'm an HVAC tech primarily but also do appliance repair, refrigeration and I'm a licensed electrician though I would never claim to be an electrician.

Unfortunately I have never had any problems with my fridge like you are having so I can't help in more detail.

  • Nailed it! The upper fresh food area fan does turn on whenever the compressor is running. I can hear the fan inside the refrigerator. It does blow air OUT the top air outlet. My fan motor was bad. When removed, it didn't even spin smoothly by hand. Many thanks. Note: with the upper fan inoperative, the upper area temp stabilized at 50Deg F. In 2 days there was a lot of ice on core.With fan engaged, within two hours we're at 38 deg F. I also noticed there is airflow at the left side which feeds the icemaker in the left hand door. That airflow originates from the lower drawer freezer.
    – zipzit
    Commented Mar 30, 2019 at 1:50
  • Awesome, thanks for teaching me a little about the fridge. I never buy new appliances I just buy them broken and fix them or find them in the garbage. I had to repair the door on mine but I haven't had to take it apart yet. I got fridge, dishwasher and gas range for $300 spent $0 in parts and now have $7000 worth of appliances between the three.
    – Joe Fala
    Commented Mar 30, 2019 at 1:57

I've had issues like that in top freezer fridges. Most of the time it is the defrost timer which stops working and ice builds up and stops the fan and ices over the air ports.

One time I had the drain hole for the defrost water clog. With no where to drain the water turned to ice and same problem.

The fans behind the access panel in the top freezer models are too quiet to hear. The only way to tell if it is going is to remove the panel and look. I imagine the same to be true of your fridge fan.

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