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Ice forming daily on freezer bottom

On a daily basis, we are having to chip await about a 1/4 inch of ice which is forming on the left bottom of the freezer. If we don't do this, eventually it starts to melt and leak out of the freezer onto our floor. We don't hear any strange noises. We do notice a drip line (frozen) on either side of the back of the freezer of what looks like a vent into the freezer. We don't see this on the right side of the freezer. We notice a little frost in the middle of the freezer at the top. Any ideas?

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Ice build-up on the bottom of the freezer usually means that there is a problem in the self-defrost system. You may even have damaged door gaskets. When you open the freezer door, you also let in a blast of warm, often humid air. This moisture usually freezes onto the evaporator coils immediately. Self-defrost freezers are supposed to self-defrost themselves. Every 6-12 hours they turn off the compressor for a few minutes. A defrost heater then turns on to melt any frost build-up on these coils, which allows the frost and ice to melt, then it drains off to the pan underneath. Unfortunately, though, when a component fails, too much frost can build up on the evaporator coils. With no air flow over the coils, cooling in the freezer compartment becomes almost non-existent.
You can manually defrost your freezer by turning it off for 24-48 hours and turn it back on to see if it begins to work properly. If your freezer now works the way it's supposed to, test the three other components in the self-defrosting system, the defrost heater, the defrost thermostat, or the defrost timer.
You can visually inspect some defrost heaters to see if there is a break. If it looks physically broken, then it needs to be replaced. Otherwise, check the defrost heater for continuity.
The defrost thermostat, which is just a bi-metal switch, lets current pass through at factory set temperatures. It also prevents current from passing through at the temperatures set by the factory. The set temperatures for the defrost thermostat vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
You can test the defrost timer by manually advancing to the defrost cycle. You can usually manually advance this timer with a screwdriver. Insert the screwdriver into the advancement pinion and turn clockwise a 1/4 to 3/8's of a turn. The timer should advance out of the defrost cycle in less than an hour.
If, after testing these components, it still does not cool properly, there may be a problem with the refrigerant level and you will need to contact a professional appliance repair person.

Posted on Sep 08, 2008

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