How to Change the Defrost Heater of a Fridge

Aug 01, 2023, 12:11pm

Refrigerators, which can be combined with a freezer like American models, are usually equipped with resistors. These allow you to defrost your appliance when it produces too much cold, because ice can form on the walls inside.

Defrosting problems are quite common for “ventilated cold” models: this type of device propels cold air throughout the cavity of the fridge using a turbine. This air usually comes from the freezer, which is right next to it and may be too cold for the refrigerator section.

A resistance can be damaged over time and no longer work properly. For example, it may be responsible for the following failures:

  • The refrigerator produces or leaks water.
  • The appliance produces ice.
  • The fridge smells bad, is damp.

The defrost resistor is usually located at the rear of the unit, behind the cavity. To access it, you will have to remove it.

The defrost heater in your refrigerator is an integral part of its operation. This device prevents frost buildup in your freezer by regularly defrosting the evaporator coils. However, if the defrost heater is not functioning correctly, your fridge can become too frosty, preventing proper cooling. In such instances, it may be necessary to replace the defrost heater.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to replace the defrost heater in a refrigerator.

How to Change the Defrost Heater of a Fridge

Tools You’ll Need:

  • Replacement defrost heater
  • Screwdriver
  • Nut driver
  • Multimeter (optional, for testing purposes)

Before you start, ensure you have the correct replacement defrost heater compatible with your specific refrigerator model. Consult your fridge’s manual or the manufacturer’s customer service for this information.

Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Unplug the Fridge

Unplug your refrigerator from the power source before starting any repairs. This is a critical safety step when working with any electrical appliances.

Step 2: Access the Defrost Heater

The defrost heater is usually located behind the back panel of your freezer compartment. You may need to remove the freezer’s shelves and drawers for better access. Once cleared, unscrew the panel using a screwdriver or a nut driver and set it aside.

Step 3: Locate and Remove the Defrost Heater

With the panel removed, you should see the evaporator coils and the defrost heater. The heater is typically a long, tube-like component running along the bottom of the coils.

To remove it, you’ll first need to disconnect the wires connected to it. They usually have a plug or a slip-on connector. Once disconnected, remove the brackets or clips that hold the defrost heater in place, then carefully remove the heater.

How to Change the Defrost Heater of a Fridge

Step 4: Install the New Defrost Heater

Position the new defrost heater in the same place as the old one and secure it with the brackets or clips you removed earlier. After it’s securely in place, reconnect the wires to the heater. Ensure they are firmly attached.

Step 5: Replace the Back Panel and Restore Power

After the new heater is installed and the wires are connected, you can replace the back panel of the freezer. Secure it with the screws you removed earlier. Replace any shelves or drawers you had removed, then plug your refrigerator back into the power source.

Step 6: Monitor the Fridge

Allow some time for your refrigerator to reach its optimal temperature. Monitor it closely to make sure it is cooling properly and that there’s no frost buildup. If you notice any issues, it might be necessary to call a professional.


Replacing the defrost heater in a refrigerator is a relatively straightforward process that can save you from potential food spoilage and more severe fridge issues. Always remember to put safety first when working with electrical appliances. If you’re unsure about any step in the process, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.