Troubleshooting Your Fridge: What to Do When Your Evaporator Coil Freezes

fridge evaporator coil

Your fridge is one of the most important appliances in your home. Not only does it keep your food cold or frozen, but it also helps to preserve it. If you have noticed that your fridge is not cooling properly, the evaporator coil may be frozen.

If your evaporator coil starts to freeze up, it can cause all sorts of problems for your fridge. In this blog post, we will discuss what to do when your evaporator coil freezes and how to prevent it from happening again.

Incorrect temperature setting

There are a few reasons why your evaporator coil may freeze. One possibility is that the fridge is not set to the proper temperature. The ideal setting for most fridges is between 35 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If your fridge is set any lower than this, it can cause the evaporator coil to freeze.

To resolve this issue, simply readjust your temperature settings. If you have a smart fridge, consult the product manual to ensure you do so correctly. Otherwise, if your fridge is a little older, you will find a temperature dial on one side of your fridge, usually near the top shelf.

Location, location, location

The coils are located at the back of your fridge. These coils can sometimes freeze if there is not enough clearance between the fridge and the wall. If this is the case, you will need to rearrange your kitchen so that your fridge has more room to breathe.

Similarly, if the fridge is located in a particularly cold spot in your home, such as next to an exterior door or window you may need to move your fridge to a different location.

Dirty coils

Dirty coils can also cause your refrigerator evaporators to freeze. The coils need to be cleaned on a regular basis to ensure optimum performance. To clean your coils, unplug your fridge and locate the coils. They will either be behind the kickplate at the bottom of your fridge or behind a panel at the back of your fridge.

Use a coil brush or vacuum attachment to remove any dust or debris from the coils. Once you have cleaned the coils, plug your fridge back in and turn it on.

Leaving the door open

If you find that your evaporator coil is freezing on a regular basis, it is possible that you are leaving the fridge door open too often or for too long. Every time you open the fridge door, warm air rushes in and cool air rushes out.

This can cause the evaporator coil to work overtime in order to cool down the fridge again. To prevent this from happening, make sure you close the fridge door as soon as possible after opening it.

It may also help to keep a grocery list on the fridge door so that you can jot down what you need as you notice it, preventing the need to leave the fridge open when you’re making a lengthy shopping list.

Faulty defrost timer

If your fridge has a faulty defrost timer, it can cause the evaporator coil to freeze. The defrost timer is responsible for turning off the cooling cycle periodically so that the coils can thaw and prevent ice buildup.

If the defrost timer is not working properly, it can cause the coils to freeze over and prevent the fridge from cooling properly. To fix this issue, you will need to replace the defrost timer. This is a relatively easy repair that you can do yourself, or you can hire a professional to do it for you.

Faulty thermostat

Another possible reason for a frozen evaporator coil is a faulty thermostat. The thermostat helps to regulate the temperature inside the fridge, and if it is not working properly, it can cause the coils to freeze.

To test whether or not the thermostat is the issue, you can use a multimeter to test the continuity of the thermostat. If the multimeter does not register a reading, then the thermostat is defective and will need to be replaced.


We hope this has helped you resolve the issues in your fridge, but if your evaporator coil continues to freeze up without explanation, we recommend you contact a professional refrigerator engineer to find a solution.

Always read your fridge manual before performing any adjustments to your appliance, and check your warranty, as they may refuse to replace or repair your refrigerator if you have meddled with the internal workings. General cleaning and maintenance should be OK though.

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