Refrigerator Evaporator Coil Partially Frosted! (Explained)

By - Hs Saini

Updated -

Published -

Looking at the evaporator coils in your refrigerator, you may notice frost formation. Although this isn’t a situation to be worried about, a fridge should be cold.

However, the effects kick in when this frost builds up to uncomfortable levels. So, you might wonder why frost attacks this component of your fridge, covering it.

The evaporator coils of your refrigerator become partially frosted due to the passage of humid air over them. During continuous usage, as time goes on, the moist air condenses and freezes over the evaporator coils of your fridge. This phenomenon progresses while frost covers the coils little by little.

What Causes Refrigerator Evaporator Coils To Freeze Up?


Several factors can create the presence of frost on evaporator coils.

From faulty defrost thermostats, damaged defrost timers, worn gaskets, and a host of other joint problems, the evaporator coils of your fridge can quickly freeze up.

So, here are the most common causes:

#1. Faulty Defrost Timers

The defrost timer on your refrigerator works by turning on the fridge’s defrost heater many times a day.

This happens so that the defrost heater would melt any frost deposited on the evaporator coils during usage. 

So, when the defrost timer gets damaged, frost grows on the evaporator coils unchecked, leading to freezing these coils.

Going forward, the defrost timer advances into the defrost cycle to carry out its function optimally.

So, the defrost heater would remain dormant without the proper advancement of the defrost timer.

#2. Worn Door Gaskets

Door gaskets act as shields to prevent moist air from entering the refrigerator compartment. So, if door gaskets are torn and not functioning correctly, moist air seeps into the refrigerator.

Consequently, this air condenses on the refrigerator evaporator coils, causing them to freeze up. 

So, if humid air constantly seeps into your fridge, the evaporator coils of your fridge freeze up swiftly.

So, the defrost cycle of your fridge becomes helpless here, unable to tackle the fast accumulation of frost.

#3. Damaged Defrost Thermostat

The defrost thermostat of your refrigerator inspects the temperature of your evaporator coils and instructs the heater to take action.

More clearly, when frost accumulates on the evaporator coils of your fridge, the defrost thermostat senses the dropping temperature and stimulates the defrost heater to melt the ice.

However, the heater won’t turn on if the defrost thermostat is faulty. Consequently, there would be an accumulation of ice on the fridge’s evaporator coils.

#4. Damaged Defrost Heater

The defrost heater of your refrigerator produces heat to melt any frost on the evaporator coils of your fridge.

This activity occurs severally per day and occurs when the defrost thermostat detects low temperatures.

However, if the defrost heater isn’t functioning correctly, it fails to produce enough heat to deal with the accumulating frost. So, the result is the freezing of the fridge’s evaporator coils.

How Much Should Frost Be On Evaporator Coils?

Most inexperienced users of refrigerators conclude that it’s normal for frost to form on refrigerator components since it functions to produce a chilling effect.

However, frost constitutes problem for refrigerators; therefore, you should always deal with this occurrence squarely.

There should be as little frost as possible on the evaporator coils of your refrigerator. This means that as soon as you notice its accumulation on your fridge’s evaporator coils, you should take action.

First, however, ensure to inspect for a while to understand if the defrost cycle of your fridge, and its accompanying components are correctly working.

Also, understand that minimal amounts of frost may not harm your fridge. Nonetheless, huge depositions would mess with the functionality of your refrigerator.

So, always watch for telling signs of frost accumulation and jump into action once you capture specific abnormalities.

In the end, it may be a simple problem that you can resolve on your own. Consequently, a frosted evaporator coil isn’t a good sign at any time.

Generally, a frost-free refrigerator is something we should all desire and work towards. 

Refrigerator Evaporator Coil Location?

Refrigerator Evaporator Coil Partially Frosted

When your fridge does not get as cold as you’d desire, you sense that there’s a fault somewhere.

For example, there may be some frost on the evaporator coil, so you need access to the coil to fix it.

You can find your refrigerator’s evaporator coils behind your fridge’s freezer compartment. This component has a similar look to the radiator.

Well, the back cover of your freezer directly covers the evaporator coils and comes off quite easily.

So, you would need a simple screwdriver to open up the back cover of your fridge and access its evaporator coils.

So, here are a few quick steps to take in locating the evaporator coils of your fridge.

  • Remove all materials from the fridge and place them somewhere clean.
  • Disconnect your fridge from the power source and melt the ice in the internal compartment using a hairdryer. Afterward, clean the water with a clean towel.
  • If there’s an ice maker on your refrigerator, unmount it by removing the bracket screw with a screwdriver.
  • Remove the evaporator fan motor screws using a screwdriver. Pull out the evaporator fan motor afterward.
  • Look at the back cover of the freezer space and remove the screws available. If buttons or plugs hold the back wall, take them off carefully.
  • After removing the screws, plugs, and buttons, remove the freezer’s back cover to reveal the evaporator coils and fan of your fridge.

How Do I Keep My Refrigerator Coils From Freezing?

To prevent frost from forming on the evaporator coils of your fridge, you should keep an eye open for the subtle signs that indicate the gradual freezing of these components.

These signs include reduced cooling capacity and high electricity consumption.

Subsequently, this is feasible because this phenomenon does not occur at once, so taking action from the start helps to prevent eventual damage.

On another note, proper maintenance of your refrigerator and its components also prevents the accumulation of ice on your refrigerator’s coils.

To a large extent, evaporator coils of fridges get frozen due to damage to other parts of the refrigerator, such as defrost heaters, timers, door gaskets, and thermostats.

So, properly maintaining these components would also prevent this problem.

How To Defrost Refrigerator Evaporator Coils?

There are several important ways of defrosting evaporator coils in refrigerators. These include thermostat defrosting, manual defrosting, and heater defrosting.

#1. Defrosting Using a Thermostat

  • Set your thermostat to the temperature you require for your refrigerator and your freezer.
  • Put a container to collect the water, which runs off through the exit pipe behind your refrigerator. When your fridge attains the required temperature, the compressor goes off; the frost on the evaporator coil melts and flows out.
  • Toss the water out when the collection container fills.

#2. Manual Defrosting

  • Empty the refrigerator and freezer, then place towels under the fridge’s door to collect the water when it starts flowing out.
  • Set the fridge’s thermostat to Zero, then remove the electrical cable from the power source. 
  • Open the fridge’s door and allow warm airflow into the compartments.
  • Dry the refrigerator’s interior and wipe the evaporator coil with a soft towel.

#3. Defrosting Using a Heater

  • Empty the fridge and remove the trays and baskets as well.
  • Place the refrigerator’s thermostat at zero. Now, switch the heater on and push warm air into the compartments. Also, push warm air to the evaporator coils using a connecting pipe.
  • Keep the fridge door open, allowing warm air to spread around the interior.
  • Empty the water tray, which you can find at the bottom of the refrigerator.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace An Evaporator Coil In A Refrigerator? 

Replacing the evaporator coils on your refrigerator can be quite expensive.

Although different brands and sizes come with different prices, you can obtain one within the range of  $200 and $1,500. On the other hand, it could cost you up to $1,200 to install. 

It would cost you $700 to $2,700 to replace the coil. However, this price is highly variable for different brands of refrigerators.

So, it is quite understandable that refrigerators have more expensive parts, such as evaporator coils. 


The evaporator coils on your refrigerator can get frosted; this occurs when other supporting components such as defrost heaters, defrost timers, and others are defective.

However, you can very much prevent this occurrence; you can always resolve this problem if it comes up.

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