Why your RV Freezer may be Frosting up (+ What to Do)

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Do you have an unusual or unexplained buildup of ice in your RV’s freezer? Whereas it is normal for freezers without the defrost feature to form ice over time, if the buildup is faster than usual there you need to find out why and fix it.

This is because frost buildup in the freezer slows down the cooling and makes the freezer inefficient.

So This post looks at possible reasons why your freezer may be icing up (more than before) and provides some suggestions to help you stop or minimize the frost buildup.

Is it Normal for an RV Freezer?

Yes, you’re likely to see ice forming on the back wall of a freezer, especially in humid weather and if the freezer does not have an auto-defrost feature.

The moisture in the air condenses and forms ice in the freezer.

Over time, this ice thickens and unfortunately affects how well the freezer is able to cool the food inside.

Ice on the back wall limits how much heat can be extracted from the inside of the freezer, so if it is about 1/4 inch thick, you can remove it by defrosting.

In a freezer with the auto defrost future, the interior is heated up from time to time and stops the ice buildup.

Why the Freezer may be getting so must Frost Quickly (+ How to Stop it)

If the freezer does not have an auto-defrost feature then you can expect it to buildup ice over time.

Depending on how much humidity there is in the air and how much of it enters the freezer, the ice buildup may be quicker or slower.

If the freezer is running constantly then you can expect ice buildup in about 3-4 weeks, this is a rough guide as there are several variables at play.

You can slow down the icing up by:

#1. Adjusting the freezer thermostat setting Is it set to the lowest level? Does it need to be set to the lowest setting to preserve the food in the freezer?

You can use a standalone digital thermometer or a wireless digital thermometer to check that the freezer can maintain the desired temperature at that thermostat setting.

You may be able to limit the frosting by raising the temperature slightly yet keeping the food fresh and safe.

#2. Confirm that the RV freezer door seals are intact and the door closes firmly. If the seals are not completely keeping out the surrounding moist air then you’re likely to have faster icing up of the freezer.

You can carry out the dollar bill test to check if the freezer door is closing firmly.

Dollar bill test

Insert a dollar bill between the section of freezer door seals that you are inspecting and close the door.

Next, try to pull out the dollar bill.

If it slides out with some resistance, then the door seals well.

Repeat this test for the remainder of the freezer door seals.

Look out for seals that may be out of position or damaged.

Fix: Align the seals, and replace the damaged seals. If the door is not closing properly contact the freezer supplier if the freezer is still under warranty.

Monitor to see if there is an improvement in the operation of the RV freezer once the seals are fixed or the door is repaired.

#3. The freezer door may be opened for long periods of time. Opening the freezer door for long durations accelerates the buildup of frost.

Confirm if this might be an issue if there’s frost buildup faster than usual. Minimize the freezer door opening and monitor to see if this slows down the buildup of ice.

How to Defrost an RV Freezer

Note: You should monitor and defrost regularly to avoid thick layers of ice forming.

They take longer to remove and make the freezer inefficient.

Steps to Defrosting the Freezer

  • You can use a hair dryer to defrost the freezer.
  • Switch off the freezer
  • Remove food items that may get spoiled with the freezer off such as cheese, milk, and any others. If you have another freezer, you can place them there or in an insulated freezer bag to keep them frozen.
  • Place paper towels at the bottom of the freezer
  • You can leave it open for an hour or so while the ice melts. Alternatively, use a hair dryer.

Set the hair dryer to the warm setting and gently blow the warm air over the freezer’s surfaces to melt the ice.

Repeat until the ice has been removed.

Note: Do not apply the warm air directly to the freezer walls as it can damage them

  • Once you have removed the frost, switch on the freezer and let it run for about an hour.

You can use the thermometer to check if the freezer has attained the desired temperature and then place back the food.

Final Thoughts

You can expect your RV’s freezer to ice up over time if it does not have an auto defrosting feature.

If it starts icing up sooner than expected, you may have to adjust the freezer temperature.

Make sure though that it is low enough to keep the food safely frozen. You can also inspect the freezer door seals and make sure the door closes firmly.

It also helps to avoid keeping the freezer door open for long periods.

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