How to Solve a Walk-In Freezer Ice Build-Up

A walk-in freezer ice build-up can be an incredibly frustrating issue to resolve. Very often, it’s the result of moisture in the air getting into the freezer and freezing on the walls, floor, ceiling and even the door. Walk-in freezer door ice build-up can be particularly problematic, as it can impact on the efficient operation of your walk-in freezer. 

Whatever the issue, here are a few top tips to help you identify the cause of the problem and resolve it.

Why do walk-in freezer ice build-ups occur?

walk-in freezer ice build-up solving

The most common causes of an ice-build up include:

  • The door is left open too long — If the freezer is left open when it’s being restocked, large amounts of humid air can enter. That air will then freeze and create or contribute to an icing problem.
  • A faulty pressure relief port – The majority of walk-in freezers are fitted with a heated pressure relief port to prevent the build-up of pressure. If the door has become difficult to open, it could be a sign that the vent has failed.  
  • Gasket failure — If your freezer has old or damaged gaskets, the freezer may not be sealed properly, which is allowing outside air to enter. Check the main gasket and wiper gasket for any signs of cracks or rips. There are also gaskets in the seams between the freezer panels that could have become damaged or cracked.
  • A fault with the door – Freezer doors can develop faulty hinges and problematic door closers, which prevent the door from closing properly. It could be that the roller at the top of your door closer is not catching the hook sufficiently or that the hydraulic mechanisms in the door closers have started to leak.
  • Insulation issues – If your freezer is more than 10 years old, the insulation panel may be saturated with water or ice. If water leaks from the panels when the freezer is turned off, that’s a sure sign of an ice build-up. That can increase your energy costs and cause icing problems inside the freezer.  
  • Other faults – Do you have a build-up of ice on or near your evaporator coil? Then you could have a fan delay relay failure or the defrost clock could be improperly set. Alternatively, if you notice a pool of frozen water near your drain, it could be a sign that your drain line has become clogged.

What damage can a walk-in freezer ice build-up cause?


An ice build-up can do significant damage to your walk-in freezer. The melting and refreezing of ice can cause water to enter and ruin the interior components of your freezer. The evaporator fan is particularly susceptible to this type of fault, with ice blockages preventing the fan from rotating properly.  

Ice build-up can also do serious harm to your bottom line. If your freezer has to battle against a regular infiltration of warm and humid air, it will have to work much harder to keep the freezer at the desired temperature. That will cause your energy bills will rise. 

How to prevent walk-in freezer ice build-up

walk-in freezer ice build-up solving

The first step is to conduct regular inspections of your walk-in freezer. You should check the gaskets for cracks and rips and inspect the door hinges and door closures to make sure they’re working properly. You should also look for signs of water and ice within the insulation panels. To make sure the pressure relief port is still working effectively, unscrew the faceplates on the interior and exterior and clear away any ice as necessary. These are a few of the other regular checks you should conduct on commercial walk-in freezers.  

Employees leaving freezer doors open is a relatively simple problem to solve. You can install self-closing hinges or a good quality door closer to ensure the door forms a tight seal when it’s shut. Alternatively, you could run a dehumidifier by the freezer door to ensure only dry air enters when it’s open, or install vinyl strip curtains or air curtains above the door.  

Some jobs are best left to the professionals

If you’re experiencing a walk-in freezer door ice build-up or a build-up within the freezer itself, we can help. Our professional team of freezer technicians in Austin offer a range of commercial refrigeration services, including walk-in freezer repair. Get in touch to speak to one of our refrigeration experts today.    


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