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Refrigerators produced by Samsung.

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Ice Build-Up in Back Wall

We have a Samsung french-door, twin cooling refrigerator (RF28HDEDT model) that has ice build up in the back wall of the refrigerator. Fan noise is our first clue to the ice build up, and with a lot of online research I’ve learned how to remove the shelves, pull the back panel, and defrost the ice build up on my own…often in less than an an hour. We live in Wisconsin, and during the dry winter months I seem to get more longevity out of the fix…but when the humidity rises in the summer we are now opening up the back panel every 4-6 weeks to defrost the ice build up with a steamer.

About a year ago we had a Samsung tech out to our home and he replaced the heating element that runs along the sides/bottom…parts and labor ~$200. As you can see from the attached picture, the bottom portion seems just fine, so it’s not the drain jamming up, for which I’ve seen some parts that can be bought to conduct more heat to the drain hole. Something is happening to quickly accumulate ice in the upper portion…assuming it’s a leak of sorts? The noise is starting to brew again today, so this week I will be back into the fridge for a defrost…any recommendations for a more permanent solve? Thoughts on a copper wire wrapped around the heating element and extended to the upper portion to conduct some heat up there to avoid the ice build up? Sorry if this is a naïve question, but is low freon a potential issue here? If so, how to diagnose and/or recharge?

The fridge works fine otherwise…some freezing of the upper ice maker a few times a year…but general cooling is working…so I’m hopeful that there’s a simple MacGyver fix here that will keep me from clearing the contents of the fridge and defrosting every 4-6 weeks in the summer months. Thanks in advance for the help.

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Update (05/24/2021)

As an update, we are experiencing the re-occurrence of fan noise routinely around every 4-5 weeks...I'm getting rather swift with the removal of contents/shelves from the fridge and hair-dryer defrost of the back wall...can usually have all put back together within 40-60 minutes. Build-up seems faster in the summer months where the humidity is higher here in WI...it gets dry in the winters and I'm expecting that we can go months if I can gut through the summer. With inspiration from the video linked below I've purchased an SH502 heater for ~$20 from Amazon and intend to install one of the next times we open up the unit...unless someone advises otherwise in this thread. Condensation is appearing quickly even while I defrost...so maybe a little caulk on the entry point near the top will be in order too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtcU0XNi...

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Thank you for the thorough answer and recommendations. I will check the self-diagnostic later today to see if that provides any clues. On whether the compressor is running continually, what’s the best way for me to assess that without pulling the fridge from the surrounding cabinets as I’m assuming it’s best heard from the rear of the fridge? Does the fan (in the location of the ice blockage) run only when the compressor is running? If so, then by virtue of the noise we are hearing I can report that the compressor has been running solid for the last 24 hours :).

Can’t confirm whether the technician measured the pressure of the sealed system…unlikely given how quick his assessment was.

I’m kinda past the idea of the freon…feels like we would have seen other cooling problems. On my original question, any merit in snaking a copper wire into the upper portion to get some warmth up there and keep from freezing up?

Thanks again!

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@ssearles check your door gaskets. When ice build-up is problematic there's normally one of two things (or both) that cause it if the defrost function is working properly: bad door gaskets or poor door management (leaving them open or cracked). If you aren't leaving it open or cracked, check that the rubber gaskets are not degraded. Check for warps or splits around the entire door. Make sure that it seats properly when closed with no gaps. Also consider putting a dab of silicone where the copper lines come into the box, as that could be a source of infiltration.

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@brandon_k

Thanks! Will check both. Per my other note below, I had the unit really dry yesterday with a hair dryer and observed within minutes the formation of condensation and icicles on the low points of the copper tubes...possibly infiltration from the entry point, though the door was open quite a bit for the clean-out process. There is for sure a pattern where the icing is worse in the summer months where the ambient humidity is higher, which might support the theory on the doors not fully sealing.

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Answer: Samsung needs to come good for these repairs. Cannot keep having this done every 6 to 7 days (for us anyway).

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why do we have to remove everything? why not just turn off and leave doors open

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Judging from the picture it would seem like either the defrost is not long enough or the temp sensor is out of spec.

Your heater is fine, no ice near it and the hi limit is attached so we know it is good as well. If it were door gaskets you would have condensation on the walls and shelves before it made it to the evaporator.

Honestly, these fridges are finicky and i have fixed this issue by just replacing the back panel as an assembly (DA97-12608A)

I would do this before replacing assembly as its the least likely and pretty pricey part.

Replace the sensor, it is a cheap attempt (DA32-10104N) before going to the control (DA94-02679D), i am not 100% sure but i want to say they had to increase the defrost times and there is not a way to do that yourself but have to have a new board with the new programing.

Good luck

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Are you an appliance technician? Just digging around and saw your comment about just replacing the evaporator cover DA97-12608A on a Samsung French door (RF23HCEDBSR/AA version 8). Starting to believe that could be my problem since its not the defrost sensor or defrost heater (both tested ok with ohm meter) and my drains are not dirty and working and have been replaced with the newer Samsung drains. I don't have a bigger heater clip installed in the drain, but I have never had water in the bottom of my refrigerator, just evaporator icing hitting the fan. Does that gasket on the DA97-12608A have to be in almost perfect shape to prevent evaporator freeze ups? Mine was slightly compressed in one area from wires, but the Styrofoam is in solid shape. Thanks in advance for your help!!!

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Hi @ssearles ,

Just to eliminate any other problems that may be causing/contributing to what is happening, try running the Self-diagnostic function during normal operation and check for any error codes.

The error code list and meanings are on the next page in the service manual. Do not be confused by the model number of the refrigerator at the top of the pages as the manual is also for your model. - see page 1.

Is the compressor running continually trying to cool the fridge down?

Low refrigerant usually results in cooling problems e.g. freezer/refrigerator too warm not ice build up. Maybe check for any oily residues on the condenser coils and on or under the compressor. There is a special oil mixed in with the refrigerant to lubricate the compressor and if there is a leak then the refrigerant will escape to the air undetected but the oil may leave a trace. Although after all this time if there was a leak the refrigerant should have all been gone by now ;-)

Did the technician measure the low and high side pressures of the sealed system? The pressures will indicate if the amount of refrigerant is correct and also if there are any restrictions in the sealed system. Sometimes a restriction in the system can cause ice build up on the other side of the restriction in the refrigerant flow path.

If parts are required search online for RF28HDEDTSR parts to get results for suppliers that suit you best.

Hopefully a start.

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@jayeff

Diagnostic test showed code 25C...can't find that in the manual, but 25E seems to match with the fridge defrost having issues.

Opened things up today...quite a bit of build-up in just four weeks, cleaned out with hair dryer. Let fridge set for 5 min and could see icicles forming in the top section, so there's water/condensation that builds quickly...but also ran the forced defrost and found within minutes that it cleared all, including the top area prone to ice build up...tells me that the defrost is working when activated, maybe just not enough to keep up with the accumulation of water. Youtube suggestion to splice in another heating element around the top section (part SH-502, availabe on Amazon for $20). Thoughts? Suppose I could also activate the force defrost weekly to buy us some time between defrostings?

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@ssearles

Didn't notice your comment from yesterday but to my knowledge the evaporator fan will run as long as the compressor is running so as to keep distributing the cold around the compartment(s). Be aware though that your model has more than one evap unit (freezer and refrigerator) so therefore more fans so the freezer fan may stop but the fridge fan may keep running or vise versa

Don't know if this may be applicable to your situation or not but your model is listed. So maybe worth looking at.

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@jayeff

The saga continues, though I'm comfortably in a routine of opening the fridge up every five weeks for a defrost. I replaced the temp sensor back in October and it didn't seem to make much of a difference. I've also found a Facebook group 92K+ people strong with issues on this fridge model that can help with lobbying for refunds, but just don't think I have much fight left in me.

A question though...it was suggested that insulating the copper pipes at the top of the pictured section could prevent or at least prolong the ice build up. Ever heard of this? I have on-hand some 3/8 inch foam thermal plumbing insulation that could be cut to fit for the next time I open the beast up. I suppose the thinking is that it prevents moisture at the top, keeping it down near the area where the heater is working. Would be eager to hear your thoughts on this before I proceed. Thanks in advance!

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@ssearles

I'm not sure, maybe @brandon_k knows.

Just wondering since you original post says it happens more when the humidity is higher if you've checked the humidity sensor at all?

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Just ran the diagnostic...error codes are flashing between 25C and 39C...the latter of which is the ice maker and is visibly jammed today and due for a manual defrost...will probably clear once I do that tomorrow. Not sure what 25C is...per the link you provided that would be 13E, which doesn't seem to be an issue for me.

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Seems like, there is no 100% solution on how to fix ice build-up on the Samsung fridge permanently. According to this website, it caused by temperature fluctuations and somehow by water condensation, which becomes ice. So, no permanent fix for my fridge as well

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We have this issue every 6 to 7 days now. We cannot keep going thru all this nonsense when this fridge clearly has had issues with the ice maker and now this. It's never left open and it's mostly just me here and no kids. Looks brand new inside and out! Time for a Canadian class-action suit if they don't come and permanently fix these issues we all seem to get. These are not cheap fridges to purchase.

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I have seen a lot of comments about door gaskets, tilting the fridge so the doors close "better", etc. I don't believe any of these are the problem. I replaced my defrost heater and still had the same problem. I finally replaced the upper temperature sensor, around $25 from Amazon, part "Samsung DA32-10104N Temperature Sensor" and the problem disappeared. I also opened the back and vacuum cleaned all the internals as best I could. Everything was pretty dirty after about 5 years.

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One of my air conditioners has the same issue with ice forming near the coils and requires defrosts. I haven’t figured it out yet but I can offer you some possible ideas.

  1. It could be a defect in the thermostat, causing the compressor to work at full power constantly, leading to frozen coils.
  2. A. Condensation or water collecting somewhere it shouldn’t. If water is near the coils it freezes. This problem then starts to compound, as the frozen coils then start to prevent air flow throughout and the chunks of ice grow larger. It gets worse until the compartment turns into a self-contained chunk of ice that must be defrosted. Checking to see if the fridge is level may help. If it sags in a certain direction that could potentially prevent water buildup from draining.
  3. B. Air flow restricted somewhere or fan malfunction. If the fan is not working properly, the air will not circulate where necessary. Also, proper fan function helps prevent excess humidity in the compartment. These things contribute or can be the cause of problem A.

Some band-aid temporary solutions that can help might be putting spray wax or some other type of hydro-repellant on the coils. Or a moisture absorber like salt around that area. Or putting a small fan or an appliance that tends to generate excess heat near refrigerators vents. Note that these probably won’t fix the problem but it can minimize it.

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I had the same problem. I decided to change the upper temperature sensor based on a recommendation from another website. I was able to get the part for under $10 from McCombs Supply in Lancaster, PA. I saw a YouTube video on how to change the sensor. When I did the work I found that the top end of the sensor was covered with a black tar substance that appeared to have oozed down from above. This substance may have caused the problem since the sensor was not clean so it would not be sensing properly. Perhaps the substance softened up during transport from China? I just changed out the part yesterday so I don’t know if the problem is actually fixed. Just wanted to make the community aware of the black substance that could be interfering with proper upper cabinet temperature sensing.

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Had the same black goo on ours...cleaned it out, even replaced the sensor...hasn't made a difference.

Just got off the phone with Samsung. They are now acknowledging an issue with the ice maker and have an accommodation where they will come to the house and replace, full parts/labor covered. If this doesn't do the trick, she said that two repairs for the same issue allows me to escalate for a refund on the fridge, which is done based on current age against an estimated life of ten years. Probably some hassle with that process, but feels like I'm a step closer to either having the issue fixed or cashing out for ~50% of what I paid for the unit. If the latter, I'm thinking this is still a good garage-worthy unit without any of the water connections.

Thanks for your contribution to the topic!

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@ssearles Can you provide the number to Samsung you used?

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@Drew Wyrick I called the 800-SAMSUNG number. If you are on Facebook, look for "SAMSUNG REFRIGERATOR RECALL U.S.A. NOW"...a group that has more than 90,000 members, offers quite a bit of good advice, and reports nearly $9 million in customer refunds to date. It's a bit of the "take them to city hall" kind of approach that might require filing claims with the BBB, multiple service visits, encouragement to record calls and video when covered repairs are being done, etc. I'm getting my first ice maker replacement on Tuesday, and per the Facebook group I may have to get several before I get any remedy. Not sure I have the stomach for the battle, but going to see if this fix helps - while also chatting up the service person who does the work - and then make a decision later if it hasn't helped. Good luck!

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@ssearles I bought my Samsung french door fridge used to specifically put in the garage with no water lines and mine STILL freezes behind the panel on the back wall! I get water under the bottom tray in the fridge and I have done several of the "fixes" I have found online all to no avail. Just FYI

I would LOVE to get this issue resolved as it has become a major pain for me. I love in Florida so I stay hot and humid. This is all just so frustrating and unbelievable!

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@wbmason1 Thanks for your note Wendie. Disappointing that you still have the issue without the water hookup...maybe one of the rare situations where our dry WI weather could have an advantage over the tropical humidity of FL :).

If you have the energy for a fight, there's an active Facebook group with more than 90K+ members that claims to have helped consumers with more than $9 million in refunds. It's a battle with the BBB and many rounds of service calls potentially. The group (SAMSUNG REFRIGERATOR RECALL USA NOW) is 100% focused on getting refunds on this fridge...so they will block anyone who posts McGyver-like solutions...thus, I'm on this board as well to have a balanced approach. Good luck!

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I’ve a question: having gone through the taking off of the cover and defrosting, and applying the fixes, should the fan turn on automatically when I test power up the unit? How do I know if I’ve a faulty fan?

Thanks

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Hi @captaincanuck ,

What is the model number of the refrigerator?

Presumably after working on it as you have said then the temps would need to be lowered back to the set operating temp, so the fan should be operating

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@captaincanuck I am getting ready to defrost ours for the second time in the last 3 weeks. This will also be just the second time overall. So, I was very touchy about every detail the last time because it was all new to me. I went through shutting off power at the breaker box and using the hair dryer and everything. When I started it back up nothing seemed to happen right away and I immediately worried I had really screwed something up. I found a post somewhere that if you go through the reset option to get rid of error codes or can take up to about 10 min to finish the restart.

I'd say give it 10 min after you start it back up. I had also apparently gotten so used to the loud fan noise I almost missed that it was actually running again, just quietly!

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Had Samsung out to repair. Replaced the entire assembly. Total $600. Tech said he does this regularly and thinks Samsung will do it as a recall eventually. I called and complained but no offer of help from Samsung. This will be my last purchase from them. Please spread the word.

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I am curious when you say they replaced the entire assembly. What part number did they replace? If you want to learn more about this there is a Facebook group with almost 100 thousand members called SAMSUNG REFRIGERATOR RECALL U.S.A. NOW. This is a common problem with these units. I am still trying to zero in on why this happens after it has worked for five years fine. Something had to change in five years. I have been told by this group there is moisture in the walls of the refrigerator and that really can't be fixed, but I have not confirmed this 100 percent. What is happening is that moisture causes the top of the evaporator to freeze up until there is a block of ice hitting the fan. The ice grows until it hits the fan and makes noise. It's not just the noise though. Once the ice block gets large enough it will stop the fan and then the refrigerator stops running until the ice is removed. I have spent a lot of time researching all of this and have talked to a few technicians about it.

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I have the same issue. One week after the 5 year extended warranty that I bought it started acting up. Huge block of ice behind the panel every 3 months.

Funny how it works for 5 years.

I am going to add a secondary heater above the coils. This seems to fix it for most people.

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You guys might want to join the Samsung recall group since people are getting refunds even on older units. If you have tried everything on the Samsung Service Bulletin already then you might want to check out this:

https://youtu.be/hU1S8zQgebM

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I found a great solve from Ben's appliance and junk on u tube.

I bought his kit and will hope to install this weekend. He seems to be addressing all of my issues…water under the cold cut tray, ice build up behind back wall.

https://youtu.be/So1Zf-yIj94

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I installed the additional kit from Ben’s appliance. I also installed a new panel since my was completed soaked in water from all the previous times I’ve worked on it and all the ice build up over the years.

This worked awesome for a few months.

Now I’m back to the same issue. I build up around the fan. Doesn’t make any sense, even after forcing defrost, It doesn’t help

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Maybe your forced defrost will not work because on Samsungs if the defrost cycle goes over a certain time period (like 50 minutes) then it sets an error code and the defrost cycle will not operate at all. Try unplugging it briefly to reset the error codes and then see if a force defrost will work. If you look up to see how to get at your error codes you can see if that is the issue.

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I took off the panel, looks like it does well defrosting the ice right around the heating element, but the rest of the back wall has plenty of ice @cary.mark

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I have fixed this problem by avoiding to replace the freezer drain clip stock part but with a length of copper wire wrapped around the defrost element in the freezer compartment and down the drain line. stopping the defrost water from over running and freezing in the lower compartment. Freezer compartment rear panel removed.

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The only problem I can see with using copper is that when you mix different metals together in a moist environment you can get some severe corrosion that might damage the factory defrost heater over time. For an example you CAN'T hook copper water pipes directly to steel pipes or you will get some severe corrosion. When you look at a properly installed water heater their is a small part they put between the copper pipes and the steel nipples coming out of the water heater that separates the metals from touching. Just sayin.......

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You most likely have either a bad defrost timer or one of the thermostats are bad! None of these was even mentioned but will cause the issue that you are experiencing!

Your refrigerator has a defrost timer. It can be found behind the refrigerator's lower kickplate, in the refrigerator's control panel, or on the back wall. Four metallic terminals extend from the bottom of the defrost timer. Once you have found it, remove the timer.

Here is the video for replacing the thermosts (Both Fridge, and Freezer);

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQ4YOjGq...

The heater coil you said was replaced.

Here is the video for replacing the heater coil (Just in case)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPJM0TCa...

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Are you sure about a defrost timer. My understanding is that all defrosting in Samsungs is controlled by a motherboard that is on the back of the refrigerator under a cover and that there is no separate defrost timer.

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Also there is a whole Samsung Technical Service sheet about this problem that Samsung has published that includes several other problems......

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Hi Scott,

are you defrosting the cover aswell? You can takoff the fan by unmounting 4 screews holding it on the cover. In my case there was also a significant amount of ice in the venting channels. While there are isolated it might take a while for the ice to defrost. With the chennels cloged the ice would build up much faster on the heat exchange ribs. Hope this is a help.

Regards,

Luke

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I ad the same problem for the pass eigth months , the problem was the clip on the bothem the carp tube make Shure that is thigt and a good contect to the mathelshit.

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When you claim that they changed the entire assembly, I'm curious.Which component number did they swap out? There is a Facebook group called SAMSUNG REFRIGERATOR RECALL U.S.A. NOW with approximately 100,000 members if you want to learn more about this. This is a typical issue with these devices. After five years of flawless operation, I'm still attempting to pinpoint why this occurs. In five years, something had to change. This group has informed me that there is dampness in the refrigerator's walls and that it really can't be mended.However, I can't say for sure that this is true. Moisture is causing the top of the evaporator to freeze up, which then hits the fan as a block of ice. The ice expands till it generates noise by striking the fan. But it's not just the noise. The fan will stop when the ice block is big enough, and the refrigerator won't run again until the ice is gone. I have done a lot of reading and talked to some technicians about all of this.

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Hi Sofia, it’s suspicious that the fridge worked for 5 years!

Mine had a huge ice build up after 5 years and 2 weeks!!! I had extended warranty up to 5 years so they wouldn’t help me. After much research and defrosting etc I bought a low temp heater from bens appliances and junk. Installed that across the top of the condenser, put a bigger drain bit of metal and changed a sensor. It has not needed to defrost manually since March.

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I'm aware of the large Facebook group and have been following it for a while. They were recently put in FB jail (perhaps at the request of Samsung legal) and the group has re-established as "UNnamed Broken Appliance Group" with some new constraints on what can be included in posts. The FB group is focused on pursuing all legal avenues for a fight...as compared to this group where McGyver approaches are welcome.

Our defrost heater was replaced in 2020 (at my expense before I was aware of the FB group and offered three months of relief. In Jan-2022 Samsung replaced the ice-maker, drain tube, and motherboard at their expense...but that didn't stop the fan noise (and subsequent manual defrosts) that we were seeing on a very regular five to six week basis. In Apr-2022 we had our second ice-maker replacement (again, compliments of Samsung) though this time with a different service provider. No issues in the last three months...a good sign...but I'm on edge that failure is just around the corner.

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Thanks for the FB info. ‘Samsung…. Now’ has disappeared.

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I can understand your frustration and understand why are you getting ice buildup on your evaporator cover panel and after doing checks and replacing parts you are still having problems I’m having the same on the back evaporator cover is frosted over and I hear my evaporator motor making noise also.

My evaporator fan motor is working properly but after defrosting it will take about six hours until I hear that noise coming from the evaporator fan and I have ice buildup on the back panel.

After diagnosis and checking all the sensors to relays the motor and the heater power working properly and yet I’m still having this problem.

And by trying to put insulation to warm up your upper part of your freezer is not really a fix for the problem or to figure out what is the problem after thinking I come to a conclusion I am still getting water condensation buildup I’m back panel and after looking and thinking about this problem I’ve come to realize on my GE French door refrigerator I have an icemaker which requires water to make the ice obviously and after inspecting the icemaker I noticed a small leak coming from the line going into the icemaker going down the back wall which was causing my problem…. I am not a service technician and I don’t know too much about Samsung but for the GE that I have that was the cause of the problem it was very hard to detect especially when the icemaker was in place and only after I had everything removed I noticed..

I hope this helps.

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The 2017 lawsuit alleges claims they cause "over-freezing in the ice compartment" "water leakage" and "fan noise."

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Hi Guys,

This works.

Permanently stop your Samsung French door refrigerator from freezing and icing up - Super Cheap Fix!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5beJp8a...

Dosn't help with law suits etc but it fixed mine.

Kind Regards

Den

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