How to Kill Frost Build Up In Refrigerators


Have you ever opened your refrigerator to grab a soda or search for last night’s leftovers, only to find that frost and ice have built up on the walls, shelves, and food items inside? If you have, you’re definitely not alone.

Ice buildup is one of the most common dilemmas that our customers face when it comes to refrigerators.  The temperature inside of any fridge should stay between 34-40 degrees, so when the internal climate drops below 34°, frost will begin to accumulate.

This accumulation is usually due to a failure in one of the three components which make up the unit’s defrost system: the timer, heater, and bi-metal thermostat. When the coils within your refrigerator get too cold, the defrost timer cues the heater to turn on and melt away any excess ice. Once the proper temperature of the coils has been reached, the defrost thermostat prompts the heater to turn off, completing the defrost cycle.

If any one of these parts become defective, you will need to have them replaced for your fridge to function properly again, but there are a few tips and home remedies for getting rid of excess ice buildup.

  • First, scoot the entire unit away from the wall by one or two inches, as this will improve air flow to the cooling coils.
  • Clean any debris that can accumulate on the coils and in the vents underneath the unit.
  • Try closing your refrigerator door with a dollar bill sticking halfway out. A defective door seal can disrupt the functionality of the defrost system as well. (If you can pull the dollar out while the door is closed, then your seal is defective.)

The simplest quick fix for ice buildup though is to simply…

  • Unplug your unit for 24 hours and let all of the ice melt away. This can be a messy, cumbersome endeavor though, and a costly one if you don’t have a large ice chest or cooler.
  • Remove all perishable items and put them in a cooler with ice.
  • Next, fill a spray bottle with hot water at around 100 degrees. Spray the interior of your empty fridge with the hot water, wait for the ice to melt away, and use a towel to mop up the water.
  •  Finally, plug your refrigerator back in, transfer all perishables from the ice chests back into it, and voila, no more frost buildup!

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If the problem continues after following these instructions, you will most likely need to have your unit inspected, diagnosed and repaired by an authorized servicer of your brand. Whether you decide to hire a technician for the repair, or purchase replacement parts to install yourself, Lake Appliance Repair will be your first and last stop for any and all of your home appliance needs.

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