Fridge and Freezers Icing Up

Icing up in fridges and freezers can be caused by many reasons, some of which can raise concerns and will probably need the expert advice of an engineer to resolve.  Others, of course, are more simple and can easily be rectified by yourself.

Air Flow

It is very important when you are packing your fridge and freezer with food, that you don’t use every available square inch of space, as this stop the appliance working correctly.  

If this is the problem, all you need to do is to repack the fridge or freezer, ensuring you have left gaps around the food to ensure the air can flow easily, thereby keeping the freezer working at the right level to keep the food at the right temperature and to avoid an ice build up.

Build up of Ice

Depending on how the ice has been formed it could indicate what the problem is and clues on how it can be rectified.

If the ice has a look of powdered snow, it is generally caused by condensation.  This is formed due to ingress of air from outside the appliance, and you need to turn detective to try to find the source. The obvious places to check include:

  • Check that the door seals are sound
  • Check whether the seals of the door fit snugly against the fridge freezer when the door is closed
  • Check for any distortion in the door seals
  • Check for any splits or damage to the door seals

If you have found a gap in the seal when the door is closed, you can generally resolve this by adjusting the hinges of the door to ensure there is a tight seal.  The gap may have been caused if the door was switched to hang on the alternate side to fit in with your kitchen.

If you have an integrated appliance, the outside cupboard door may also need some adjustment to bring the seal back to a tight position.

You will not be covered under your appliance warranty for these adjustments, as they will be considered to be an installation issue, and not an appliance issue.  

If you have noticed that the door seal is flattened or distorted in some way, you could try gently heating the seal with a warm hairdryer for a few minutes.  If this does not work, however, you will need to replace the seal. 

If the seal is split, you will have to purchase and fit a replacement.

Another type of ice build up you are likely to see is solid ice.  This type of ice ball formation at the bottom of your stand up or chest freezer is caused by a water leak.

This type of build up is not that common but can be seen especially on freezers, either chest or stand up, which are kept in a colder environment, such as garage or basement.  This is because they are subject to colder and damper conditions where they are kept.

Unfortunately, in most cases, this means that your appliance has reached the end of its useful life, but it is worth calling out an engineer to check the freezer before you do have to make a new purchase

Ice or Drink Dispenser Leaks

Leaks from this type of dispenser are prone to causing solid ice to build up either in the fridge or freezer compartment, and this is something you should check for.

Sometimes you are lucky and this is caused by a spillage, however, if this is not the case your best option is to call in the assistance of a qualified engineer.  These dispensers are generally found on the American style of fridge freezer, and these are technically more complex and not for the amateur.


If you do have a build up of ice that needs to be removed, you must turn off the power and allow the freezer to defrost naturally over time.  You may wish to protect your flooring by laying out towels to soak up the dripping water.  Once it is completely defrosted, gently wash out the compartment and when dry, carefully pack the area, allowing air to flow around the food.

Under no circumstances should you ever use a metal implement to chip off the ice, apart from the fact that the tool you are using could break off and cause you damage, it is very likely to damage the inside lining of your freezer.  If this happens you will have no choice but to replace the freezer, as it will never work again safely or otherwise.

If you are desperate to have the freezer back on line, you can use sprays that melt ice, otherwise known as antifreeze.  Bear in mind this can contaminate the inside of your freezer, and will definitely leave an unpleasant aroma.  

There are also hot air guns and hairdryers, but using any type of electrical appliance around water is fraught with danger and should be used with extreme caution. Basically, the best and safest way to defrost your freezer is to turn off the appliance, and allow the freezer to defrost slowly.

Other potential faults

You may not be aware of this but if you store a lot of fresh vegetables and fruit in your fridge, this can cause excess condensation.  Try to split up the fruit and veg around the fridge as much as possible and this, hopefully, will help to reduce the amount of condensation produced.

If you find that your food is suffering from overfreezing, this indicates that you may have a faulty thermostat, especially if the fresh food in your fridge also starts to freeze.This should be a reasonably quick and easy job for an engineer to undertake for you.














Disclaimer: The information provided has been prepared as a guide only and the steps taken are likely to vary for different appliance models. We strongly recommend using a qualified engineer to undertake major repairs and fault finding.


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