GE Refrigerator Repair Guide
(GE Refrigerator Not Running)

This GE refrigerator repair guide is for GE’s electronic refrigerators made after 2002. Including top-freezers, bottom-freezers, and side-by-side models.

In this GE refrigerator repair guide, I will walk you through the steps in repairing 2002 or newer GE side-by-side refrigerators that are not running. If you need any other refrigerator help, please refer to my refrigerator repair guide. In 2002, GE redesigned their side-by-side refrigerators. With this redesign came challenges for repairmen because it was unlike any refrigerator we have ever seen. GE designed this refrigerator to be more energy efficient and one of the ways they done this is by using adaptive defrost. This means that the refrigerator will only defrost as needed. They also changed the fan motors to run on DC current so that they can change the speed that the motors run as needed. They also added an electric damper that regulates the airflow between the fresh food section and the freezer. Instead of using a cold control, they started using thermistor. All of these changes were new but after working on these refrigerators for years, I have become an expert at them and I am willing to help you with your GE refrigerator repair. As stated above, this page is for 2002 or newer GE side-by-side refrigerators that are not running. If you have a problem any other type of refrigerator, refer to my refrigerator repair guide. If you have this refrigerator but this is not your problem here are some links to other GE refrigerator repair articles I have written.

GE Refrigerator Not Cooling

GE Refrigerator Not Dispensing

GE Refrigerator Fan Motor Diagnostics

How To Test A GE Refrigerator Thermistor

Main Board

This section of this GE refrigerator repair guide will discuss the main board. If you have a GE refrigerator that is not running the most common problem is the main board.

Often when this board goes bad you will hear a constant clicking noise. Pull the refrigerator out remove and the cover that is about two feet off the floor. Once the cover is off, you should be able to see the main board. Listen to see if the clicking noise is coming from the main board, if so replace it. This is a simple GE refrigerator repair, just remember to unplug the refrigerator before replacing the control and read the instructions that come with the new control.

If you don’t hear the clicking noise, the main board may still be your problem. If both fans are running and the compressor is not, the main board is bad and most of the time there will be a burnt spot behind one of the black relays on the bottom of the main board. Even if the burnt spot is not there, the main board is your problem.

Main board replacement tip-Step #2 on the installation instructions says to eliminate thermistor jumper wire, read that step carefully. It is only necessary on bottom freezers and encoder models. There is a list of serial number prefixes. What this means is that if your refrigerator is an encoder model and the first three letters of the serial number begin with one of the listed prefixes, then you have to cut out the jumper as described. An encoder model is a model with turn-dial controls rather than push button or digital.

If you don’t hear the clicking noise and the fans are not running check the temperature control as described below. If you need to replace your main board I recommend this website

Start Relay

The start relay will also cause this problem, and like the main board, you will often hear a clicking noise when the start relay is bad but there will be a long pause between clicks. If the clicking is not coming from the main board, the start relay is most likely the problem. First, unplug the refrigerator then remove the bottom cover off the back of the refrigerator. On the side of the compressor there will be a cover, remove it. Behind the cover there will be a start relay and an overload. Remove the start relay and shake it. If it rattles, it is bad and needs replacing.

Temperature Control

If your GE refrigerator is not running, the temperature controls can be your problem. To check this, unplug the refrigerator then remove the cover from the controls located at the top front of the fresh food section. There should be a plug that connects both of the controls, unplug it. Then plug the refrigerator back in and if the refrigerator runs after you disconnect the controls, the controls are bad and need replacing. With the controls disconnected, the main board will operate the refrigerator at normal setting. This will give you time to get the part to fix it. If however the refrigerator will not work after disconnecting the controls, your problem is elsewhere. Temperature controls can be purchased at


This section of this GE refrigerator repair guide will discuss thermistors. Thermistors don’t go bad very often but if they do they can cause your GE refrigerator not to cool and possibly not run at all. Most of these GE refrigerators have three thermistors: one in the fresh food section and two in the freezer. Some have four or more thermistors depending on the model. If any of the thermistors are bad the performance of the refrigerator will be greatly reduced or it may not run at all. Although they don’t go bad often the first models had thermistors that were consistently out of range. The part number for the correct thermistor is WR55X10025. This part can be purchased at

To test a thermistor

Remove the thermistor and place it in a cup with ice and a small amount of water for at least five minutes. This should bring the thermistor to 32 degrees. Using your ohmmeter, check resistance across the thermistor with it still in the ice water. It should read around 16.6 K ohms or 16,600 ohms. If you don’t own an ohmmeter or are unsure how to properly use it, replace the thermistors if you suspect they are bad.

See this page for more on How To Test A GE Refrigerator Thermistor

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