Iced Coils

Iced Coil Repair Grand Rapids MI

How to check for an iced coil:

Sometimes an iced coil is obvious; ice can build up past the coil, spread past the evaporator fans and into the interior of the cabinet. After ice builds up, the first symptom is often a “tinging” noise, which is the fan blade hitting the ice. Also, the temperature in the cabinet will drop somewhat but usually remain consistent within a degree or two.

Sometimes, ice can build up so bad that it will damage the evaporator fan motor, fan blade, or possibly even the coil itself. The expansion of ice can damage the fins of the fan blade and possibly create a hole in the coil.

The ice may only build on the coil itself and may be difficult to see without removing the evaporator cover. No matter what, do not remove the evaporator cover!

Our Recommendation:

Take a mirror to the back of the unit. Behind the fan cover, there is oftentimes a 2-5″ gap allowing room to see the coil with a properly positioned mirror. Doing this will often reveal if ice, frost, or snow buildup is present on the fins. Please do not stick your hands in the unit if you don’t know where to look as there are electrical components, defrost heaters, and fan motors that could hurt you.

What causes iced evaporator coils?

There are many reasons a freezer or cooler coil builds ice. Most of these are user-related and/or user created.

1.) RIPPED DOOR GASKET: When a unit has a ripped or torn door gasket, the unit cannot efficiently exchange heat as the cool air leaks out. The compressor runs continuously trying to maintain box temperature but can never satisfy. This will assuredly build ice and frost the coil over.

2.) DOOR LEFT AJAR: This is probably the most common and typical cause for an iced coil.

A. Sometimes the customer accidentally leaves the door ajar after grabbing a product and simply walking away.
B. Often times, something falls in the door closure area and keeps the door from closing fully.
C. Door closure/component failure. i.e., the “self-closing” spring, latch, or adjuster fails or comes out of adjustment thus preventing the door from properly closing.
D. The unit itself is not level creating a gravity-related “door ajar” situation. Making sure the unit is level will ensure proper door closure via gravity.

3.) LOW ON REFRIGERANT: An iced coil can become an issue when a unit is low on refrigerant. This is when the coil cannot exchange heat equally across the fins thus creating an icing situation. Of course, if you are low on refrigerant, you most assuredly have a leak too!

4.) IMPROPER ADJUSTMENT: This is a more technical problem and usually follows the technician that just left after charging you $300-500.00 for faulty repairs. Some freezers have what is known as a TXV valve or more commonly referred to as an expansion valve. This is a metering device used to control or regulate the amount of refrigerant passing through the evaporator. Some technicians may feel this needs adjusting. Unfortunately, a lot of technicians automatically make this critical mistake while troubleshooting a different problem. If the TXV valve was improperly adjusted, it will certainly cause and create an iced coil.

5.) DIRTY CONDENSER: This is the most common problem we see with freezers. Lack of proper maintenance can cause iced coils.

6.) DEFROST TIME: Several defrost issues can cause an iced coil such as:

A. Malfunctioning or inoperative defrost time clock.
B. Improper timing/programming of defrost clock.
C. Insufficient duration of defrosting.


A. Faulty evaporator drain heater.
B. Plugged drain tube.
C. No trap or improper vent for drain tube causing/creating an airlock.

8.) FAULTY or FAILED EVAPORATOR FAN: This can also include failed door switches that are designed to shut the fans off once the doors are opened thus preventing warmer air to be sucked in while the doors are opened for an extended period of time.

There are other technical reasons for an iced coil but the ones we’ve mentioned are the most common and typical causes.

Ice Coil maintenance
Thank you for your great service. We struggled with our freezer not working correctly until you came and figured out we had a couple of issues that needed corrected with the unit. The unit is working fine now. Thank you.
Emil JensenFirst United Methodist ChurchGrand Rapids, MI

Primary Communities Served

Byron Center
Comstock Park

Grand Rapids