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Signs of Compressor Failure in a GE Refrigerator

Tyler Lacoma

Refrigerator compressors compress the refrigerant gas to increase its heat before it releases the heat into the outside air. Without the compressor, the refrigerator cannot exchange heat effectively, which causes a variety of problems in the cooling system. The compressor in your GE refrigerator will show signs when it begins to fail.


Compressors create noise and run less efficiently as they start to fail.

The more wear a compressor experiences, or the closer it is to failing, the longer the system will need to run to cool the refrigerator down to the proper level. This long running time will lead to higher electricity bills than usual, which is one of the first signs that something may be wrong with your compressor. Homeowners should check carefully to make sure there are no other possible reasons for higher bills before they start looking at their major appliances like a GE refrigerator.

Intermittent Running

In hot months when the compressor must run harder than usual to cool the refrigerator, the compressor tends to overheat. When it overheats, a fail-safe takes over and shuts the compressor down. However, the compressor still needs to cool the refrigerator, so it starts again as soon as it can until it overheats again. These intermittent starts and stops in the refrigerator indicate the compressor cannot adequately perform its jobs in the current temperature.

Cooling Failure

As the compressor overheats repeatedly, it creates acidic compounds from the refrigerant and experiences wear in general. As the acid slowly ruins the compressor and it starts to wear down, it will stop properly cooling the refrigerator. The freezer will still be cold, but it will not effectively freeze the foods placed inside, and the GE refrigerator's effectiveness in general will decline.


If there is excess frost in the freezer or frost on the compressor head, this is a sign that the compressor is not processing refrigerant correctly. Having too much refrigerant, or not enough, produces the frost. This causes the cooling systems to develop temperature control problems and inhibits how well the compressor can work.


Faulty and failing compressors tend to make a lot of noise. This noise may be a buzzing or grinding sound, or it may simply be a much louder running noise than usual. This is a sign that the compressor motor or compressor mechanical components are faulty.