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That’s right, in the early days of electric refrigeration freezers were always filling up with frost. It was considered one of the monthly chores to “defrost” the freezer.

Basically removing all your food, unplugging the unit, allowing all the frost to melt and then drying out the compartment. Plugging it back in, allowing it to cool down and then restocking it with your food. It was a long and messy job.

Then came an exciting new technology, “Frost-Free” refrigeration.

This was a true game changer.


Frost naturally forms as the moist air inside your freezer is cooled down to freezing temperatures.. This frost forms on the coldest part of your freezer first, the evaporator coils. 

The evaporator coils are mounted right behind the back wall of your freezer where we can’t see them. Periodically the freezer will heat these coils and melt the frost before it can get too thick.

The water from the melted frost will run down a drain tube and into a pan under your freezer where it naturally evaporates back into the air. 

However, when the defrost system fails it can allow frost and/ or ice to form inside your freezer making a mess and affecting the effectiveness of the machine.


Two of the most common causes for frost to build up in your freezer:

  •  Defrost System failure
  •  Door seal failure


There are several indicators that defrost system has failed:

  • Frost begins to build up on the back wall of your freezer. This indicates that the frost has now gotten so thick on the evaporator coils that it is contacting the back wall of your freezer.
  • You hear a clicking sound whenever the circulation fan turns on. This indicates that the frost is so thick on the evaporator coils that it is starting to impinge upon the blades of the fan. 


If the Defrost system fails it can be due to a faulty temperature sensor, a heater or a control board. Normally you will need an appliance repair technician to diagnose and repair the system.

You can buy some time by:

  • Removing the food
  • Turning off your freezer
  • Allowing it to totally defrost and then start it up again. (Have plenty of towels on hand.) The problem will more than likely return weeks or months later.


If the door seal is compromised in any way it will allow moist air to enter the freezer compartment.  There are several indicators that door seal has failed:

  • Frost or ice is forming on the sides, top or bottom of the freezer. Maybe even on the inside of the the door.
  • Water droplets are present around the opening of the freezer compartment and on the inside of the door.


Any small defect in the door seal can allow moist air to be drawn into your freezer. Check the condition of the seal all the way around the door. Make sure it is clean and free of rips or tears.

Also check the mating surface of the machine and make sure it is clean. .  Any build up of debris, crumbs, and hardened spills will compromise the seal.

If the door seal is torn, ripped or deformed in any way we recommend having an appliance repair technician replace it. This is an easy way to extend the life and efficiency of your freezer. 

Make sure the door is closing tightly. Look for plastic bags that may be lying across the door seal or any object inside the freezer that may be prevented the door from closing tightly

And lastly, always make sure the door is completely closed.

Freezer doors that are left open even a fraction of an inch for short periods of time can allow enough moist air to enter and turn your freezer compartment into a frozen arctic wonderland.


The two most common causes for ice to form in your freezer:

  • Door seal failure (which we already discussed)
  • Evaporator Drain failure


If ice is building up in the drawers and on the shelves in your freezer it may be due to a door seal failure. Follow the same steps as above.


As stated above, the evaporator drain tube will normally carry the melted water down to a drain pan under your freezer. However if the drain tube becomes clogged then the water can not drain out and can result in a sheet of ice on the bottom of your freezer compartment. Often resulting in water dripping onto the floor in front of your freezer as the ice sheet gets close to the door. 


The slightest bit of debris or ice can clog the drain tube. Flushing out the tube can be easy. The difficulty is in accessing the drain tube.

The location of the drain tube is different for every freezer manufacturer.

Some drain tubes are accessed from inside the freezer,while others are accessible from the back of the machine. Again, we recommend having an appliance repair technician flush out the drain tube and ensure it is in good working order.


As you can see, freezer ice and frost issues are normally easily solvable problem and there is no reason to consider replacing your unit all together. Simple repairs can extend the life of the appliance.

We hope this information was helpful.

Appliance Service or Repair:

If you’re ready to have your Miele, Viking, Blue Star or Liebherr appliance serviced or repaired give us a call at 804-464-2545

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We install all major appliance brands

Pro Line Appliance Installation “The Appliance Installation Professionals”

Proudly Serving the Greater Richmond VA Area for over 15 Years!

Phone: 804-464-2545