Why Is There Ice Build-Up in the Freezer?

VIA Appliance
August 9, 2022
Refrigerator Repair

This article is for anybody wanting to find out why there is ice building up in their freezer and how they can prevent it from happening. Most of the time, the problem can be solved by doing simple things like making sure the temperature is set correctly and the door is closed properly. However, in some cases, you might have a faulty component within your freezer, like the condenser coils, which can get frosted over or covered in dust.

To help you find the reason for ice build-up in your freezer, we have rounded up the main reasons why ice builds up in a freezer and what you can do about it.

Let’s get started.

There is humidity inside your freezer

One of the most common reasons why there is a build-up of ice in the freezer is that humidity is getting into the appliance. When this happens, the warm air that enters your freezer mixes with the cold air in your freezer and turns into frost. This can be caused by opening your freezer door too often and by putting warm food into your freezer. To stop this from happening, make sure you cool your food down before putting it into your freezer and don’t open the door too often.

It’s set at the wrong temperature

​Another way to stop ice from building up in your freezer is to make sure it’s set at the correct temperature. To work to its optimal level, a freezer needs to be set to -18 degrees Fahrenheit. If your thermostat is set significantly above or below -18 degrees, adjust it and then check over the next 24 hours if this reduces the ice build-up in your freezer. It’s a good idea to regularly check the thermostat, as it can sometimes be moved by accident when putting in and taking things out of the freezer.

Your freezer is empty

Sometimes when a freezer doesn’t have much stuff in it, the appliance might end up with lots of ice in it. This is because when the freezer is empty there is more room for moisture to develop, which turns into ice. To help stop this from happening, consider filling up your freezer with more food and other stuff.

​You don’t clean your freezer

Ice build-ups can also be caused by not cleaning your freezer regularly enough. Over time, your freezer naturally ends up with frost and ice build-ups which, if left for a long time, end up in large ice deposits throughout your freezer. The easiest way to clean your freezer is to remove everything out of it and then leave it to defrost for an hour. 

Once defrosted, use a towel or sponge to mop up all of the water and ice, and then wipe out your freezer with hot soapy water and a damp cloth. Once the freezer is clean, you can put all of your food and other items back into your freezer and turn it back on. Try to defrost and clean your freezer out a couple of times a year to avoid ice building up in it.

The door gasket is faulty

​Your freezer door has a thick seal/gasket around it that helps ensure your freezer door closes properly. Sometimes, the gasket can get damaged or debris can get stuck in it, which stops it from working correctly. When this happens, moisture gets into your freezer, which then turns into frost and ice. To check if the door gasket is working correctly, open your freezer door and thoroughly inspect the gasket the whole way around. 

If it’s damaged or has come out of position, you should be able to repair it. If you’re unable to repair the gasket, a new gasket can easily be ordered from a hardware store and then attached to your freezer door. Even if the door gasket isn’t damaged, it’s a good idea to give it a quick clean. Try to clean the door gasket a few times a year to ensure food and other debris don’t get stuck in it.

The defrost drain is blocked

Your freezer has a drain hole in it that is there to let water out of your freezer. Sometimes, the drain can become frozen, which stops water from exiting your freezer and then causes it to turn into ice. To clean the drain, simply pour hot soapy water down it. If the water can’t go down the drain, use a piece of wire to unblock it.  

The condenser coils are dirty

The condenser coils are located at the back of your fridge/freezer. Their purpose is to help cool down your appliance. When they get covered in dust or frozen over, your freezer might get colder than it should and ice can develop. It’s a good idea to give the condenser coils a regular clean. 

This can be done by pulling your appliance out from the wall, removing the cover on the coils, and then giving them a clean with a damp cloth or a vacuum cleaner if they are covered in dust. If the coils are frozen over, turn your appliance off and let them defrost before wiping them clean with a damp cloth.

The evaporator fan is blocked

Finally, you might be getting lots of ice in your freezer if the evaporator fan is blocked. The evaporator fan is in your freezer and is there to distribute excess cold air from the freezer to the fridge. If the fan is blocked by food or other items, it could stop working correctly and ice will build up in your freezer. To stop this from happening, check that the fan isn’t blocked and, if so, remove whatever is obstructing it from working correctly.

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