Thu 12th May 2022
A fridge freezing up at the back of the unit is a common problem that many homeowners experience at one point or another.
It’s frustrating, sometimes noisy, and potentially messy, and you’re not sure what to do about it. As repair and maintenance specialists in the UK, these issues …and some fixes you can make yourself are what we’re going to tackle here.
Here’s a quick takeaway answer, and then we’ll go into some further detail on each issue and how to address it.
A fridge may freeze up at the back due to a combination of condensation and poor air circulation around the unit. Other issues include overloading with food, the wrong temperature settings, or faulty parts. Check the temperature, ensure adequate airflow, and if problems persist ask a professional.
Beyond some changes that the user can make, a fridge freezing up at the back can be caused by several other more technical factors, such as an issue with the thermostat setting, issues with the condenser coils, or problems with the defrost timer.
Let’s go through the individual issues and how to deal with them, starting with issues you can tackle yourself.
Fridge freezing up at the back – Issues you can fix
Fortunately, there are several simple fixes you can try to make yourself to correct the problem. Here are the main simple fixes.
Check airflow around the unit
Poor airflow can cause the back of your fridge to freeze, especially if you have it in a tightly enclosed space.
Condensation occurs in most kitchens, sometimes daily. Not only from cooking, but from other appliances such as washing machines and dryers. The placement of these other units (or your fridge) can also be a factor. So where possible, plan your kitchen with these in mind.
Be sure there is plenty of space on all sides of the fridge for air to circulate freely around, on top of, and under the unit where possible.
Modern and built-in fridges are designed to cope better when placed in tighter spaces, but there is still a need for some amount of airflow.
Check the thermostat setting
Check the thermostat setting. It should be set at 4 or 5 degrees Celsius. If it is set too low, the fridge may be unable to keep things sufficiently cool and this can also lead to “freezing up.” This also includes the fridge freezing up at the back.
If needed, you can adjust the thermostat setting on your fridge. However, if you’re unsure, or if you’ve tried a few settings without success, then be sure you consult your owner’s manual for detailed instructions on how to do so.
If the problem persists and your fridge continues to freeze up at the back, it may be indicative of a larger issue, such as a faulty thermostat.
Defrost the fridge
It’s important to remember to defrost the fridge regularly, especially if you notice that it is freezing up at the back.
To do this, simply remove all of your food and contents from the fridge, turn off the refrigerator and let any excess ice melt away naturally. Once all of the ice has melted, dry out the inside of your fridge with a soft cloth, turn off any ‘defrost function’ and reset the thermostat to begin cooling your fridge once again.
If you have a manual defrost function, use this to remove any ice build-up.
If your fridge is freezing up at the back and you’ve tackled both the ventilation and the temperature without success, then you may need to have your fridge checked by a professional.
Fridge freezing up at the back – Issues to get professional help for
Let’s take a look at the issues that might need to be looked at by a professional. If you’re sure it’s not something you can fix yourself, then you can go straight to calling us to get the help you need.
Age of the fridge
The first thing you should check is the age of the fridge – or at least the approximate age.
Fridges do have a shelf life, and if your fridge is older than 15 years, or in some cases, 10 years or over, then it might be time to get a new one as the insulation might not be sufficient anymore.
If it’s below this age category, then it might be one (or more) of the technical reasons below.
A fridge that freezes up at the back could have a problem with the compressor. The compressor is what keeps the temperature inside the fridge regulated, so if it’s not working properly, then it will be out of control and may well freeze your fridge. It might find your fridge freezing up at the back, and inside too.
If you think this might be the case, try checking to see if there is any frost on the back panel of your fridge – or even ice. This would indicate that your compressor needs repairing or replacing.
It could be that your fridge has a broken thermostat. This is the device that tells your fridge when to turn the compressor on and off, so if it’s not working properly, then it could be causing your fridge to freeze up at the back – or in many cases everywhere.
The thermostat is most likely the issue if your fridge is freezing food on the lowest setting. It can stick in the “on” position, forcing the compressor to keep on chilling the fridge. A replacement thermostat may be an option, or if the fridge is old, then consider getting a new fridge.
A broken thermostat is often the reason for vegetables freezing in the fridge drawer too, for the same reason, the thermostat is forcing the compressor to continuously work at freezing the compartments. Time for a new thermostat.
If you think the thermostat might be the case, then again, try checking the back panel of your fridge for frost or ice. If there is, then a thermostat replacement could be the solution to your problem.
However, before you make any major repairs or replacements, it may also be worth checking that the fridge’s coils aren’t blocked or dirty. If there is too much dust on them, they won’t operate efficiently and could contribute to your fridge freezing up.
It may be better to call in a professional, but if you can clean them yourself, then make sure you turn off the fridge’s power first so that it doesn’t accidentally come on while you’re trying to clean.
Faulty fan motor
The fan motor is what keeps the air circulating in your fridge to prevent freezing, so if it is faulty or not operating correctly, then it could be another potential cause of your freezer issues.
Another reason your fridge might be freezing up at the back is because of a problem with the defrost function. If the defrost function isn’t working properly, then the ice will build up and eventually cause your fridge to freeze over.
There are a few things you can do to try and fix this issue yourself, such as thawing out your fridge after removing any food that will spoil.
If that doesn’t work, then it’s most likely a faulty defrost function. Time to call in a professional!
Leaking door seals
Another potential cause of your fridge freezing up could be that the door seals are not airtight, which lets in warm air and causes the fridge to work harder to keep cool.
Check the seals for any gaps or tears and replace them if necessary. If you can’t replace them, then it may be time to consider a new fridge. Or ask a professional to take a look at the issue.
Too much food in the fridge
If you have too much food crammed into your fridge, then this could also cause problems as it doesn’t allow enough airflow around the inside of the unit.
Food amounts in fridges can fluctuate – especially after a big shopping trip. This is normal. But a fridge that is constantly overflowing with food will impede airflow, and that could be a major contributory factor to your fridge freezing up.
Fridge freezing up at the back – Next steps!
We hope this has provided you with some simple steps to ascertain if it’s an issue you can fix yourself or one that requires professional help.
You can keep all your household appliance repairs easy to fix with a simple appliance cover from Homeforce. Eliminate all appliance problems with a simple plan that will repair your appliances as soon as they occur. Give us a call today and have all future issues taken care of with a quick phone call.