If your refrigerator or freezer is not cooling you should check to see if it is going through the automatic defrost cycle. If you find that it is not going through the automatic defrost cycle then you should test the defrost heater. This free video shows step by step instructions on how to test your defrost heating element using a multimeter or ohm meter.

For information on how defrost thermostats work, please see this video:

If you find that you have a bad defrost heater you can shop for a new one on our online store by searching with your refrigerator or freezers model number, or entering the part number off of the heating element here: We sell new OEM appliance parts for Whirlpool, Maytag, Kenmore, Amana, Estate, Roper, Frigidaire, Electrolux, Tappan, Westinghouse, Kitchen Aid, Jenn Air, Bosch, LG, Samsung, and more.

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33 thoughts on “How To Test A Defrost Heater On A Refrigerator or Freezer

  1. Isabelle Fils-Aimé says:

    Hello,
    We have an Ariston hotpoint SDS 1721 V/HA fridge that makes too much ice on the back panel. We've changed the thermostat, but there's always too much ice. Could you tell us what kind of problem there could be, and where is the defrost heater on that kind of model. It could also be a command card problem… Thanks in advance for your answer (We're writing you from France).

  2. Nathan Myron says:

    I've watched probably half a dozen videos related to this topic, and I've heard some various things in relation to CalRod type heaters and recommended resistance ranges. I have a Roper/Whirpool rt18akxkq09, the defrost thermostat has continuity at 0 deg F, so I'm fairly sure it's in good shape. But my heater is testing out at 34.4 ohm. I've heard elsewhere that 200-300 ohm is expected from CalRod type heaters, but here you say anything between 10 and 100 is good. Any advice for me? If it's not the heater, or the defrost thermo, then should I look to the timer in the lower cabinet next or what's a good next step of attack?

    Sorry to ask so many questions, I'm really trying to avoid paying out for another fridge, or hiring in to have this repaired. I really appreciate any assistance you might be able to provide!

  3. condor5635 says:

    While cleaning out under the fridge I went ahead and measured the amp draw while in defrost mode. Defrost mode causes power to condenser fan and compressor to be suspended for about 30 minutes. The draw of the heater element on mine was 4 amps for about 10-15 minutes. Then it just sat there for another 10-15 minutes with zero draw. At that point compressor and fan kicked back on. Defrost cycle happens every 10 hours of compressor running time and takes about 25-30 minutes to complete

  4. Tangier Clarke says:

    I followed this video to test a defrost heater i thought was having a problem and a brand new one – thinking I had to change out the old one. The continuity reading came out the same more or less. Am I doing something wrong? The Ohm value was well under 1.0. It was in the tenths and hundredths places of the decimal. The multimeter was set on the ohm symbol that says 2k

  5. Nuggit Man says:

    Hi, i didn't get a reading at all when touching the two heating terminals, but got one of 81.5 when I touched both volt meter ends to the same heating terminal, what does that mean please?

  6. ToopoftheHill says:

    My heater gives me 0.6 ohm…is it bad?
    Also i have two wire fuse after the heater which don't give continuity.
    I don't know if changing those will solve the problem if I've this value on the heater..any help?
    I don't know why there's a thermal fuse before the heater and two electrical fuse after it, I've never seen something similar in any other video

  7. Nhan Dang says:

    For defrost heater with an attached thermostat (like the one you mentioned at 1:45 in the video), why do you have to cool down the thermostat to closing temperature? Do you suppose to get infinite resistance at room temperature because the thermostat is not closed? If I get about 140 Ohm at room temperature, does that mean the thermostat is stuck closed? Does the resistance suppose to drop when I put the thermostat in icy water?

  8. Satbir Baidwan says:

    Hi Ryan, Thanks for this wonderful video. For SAMSUNG DA 47-00244u-00, what should be resistance reading at room temperature for a good defrost heater. My shows 140 ohms. Is my heater good ?

  9. Alex Vivaldi says:

    The refrigerator defrost heater in our Samsung refrigerator (RF28HFEDB…) has an integrated inline fuse. Testing across the whole assembly (heater + fuse) from one connector to the other produces 147 ohms. I would assume that both heater and fuse are good? True? If so, the evaporator's both sensors and fan are testing OK. Suggestions for other cause for ice build-up in the top of the evaporator coil would be greatly appreciated. Thx.

  10. El Guapo says:

    I don't buy the comment "continuity test will not work on some defrost heaters because the ohm value is too high…..". A heater element, by design, needs to draw enough current to make heat…which means the resistance has to be low enough to create heat….under 100 ohms is typical….at 115VAC that's about 1 amp of current….if the ohm value is "too high" for a meter to measure, then the resistance is way too high to create any heat (current) at all…it's simple ohms law. A good heater with an 'ohm value too high' does not exist.

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