The last thing you want to see is ice forming on the bottom of your freezer, especially if you bought a freezer that’s advertised to be frost-free; Don’t worry. Try a few troubleshooting tips to see if you can restore your freezer back to its de-iced and frost-free condition. Disconnect the freezer’s electrical cord before attempting to perform any troubleshooting work and follow any additional instructions in your owners manual.

Time to Defrost

A buildup of ice on the bottom is sometimes your freezer’s way of telling you — “hey, it’s time for you to defrost me.” This should be the first thing you do before throwing in the towel and picking up the phone to schedule a repair. A periodic defrost is a good practice to maintain. And you’ll save money on repair costs. Pull out your owner’s manual and follow all instructions carefully to defrost your freezer. Give it a couple of days, after defrosting, to see if that resolves the issue. If it doesn’t, then you need to schedule a repair technician.

Door Left Open

Your freezer can frost up with ice if you leave the door open too long. Each time you open the door you set up the opportunity for ice to build up. Then, before you know it, your freezer looks like an icy, frosty mess.

Clean the Drain Tray

Some freezers have a unit below the food compartment called a drain tray. If it builds up blocks or chunks of ice, it can transfer cool air to the bottom of the freezer compartment, which can cause frost to build up. Remove the tray and set it in your sink to let the ice melt. Meanwhile, take a hairdryer and melt the frost from the bottom of the freezer.

Torn Gaskets

The rubber gaskets that line the freezer door might be damaged and the cause of the ice buildup. The gaskets seal the door and keep it airtight to prevent ice buildup. Sometimes the gaskets become torn, which allows warm air from the room to enter the freezer, and that starts the cycle of ice development. In that case, you will need to call a repair techncian to replace the gaskets.

Malfunctioning Heater

You may not realize it, but your freezer actually has a heater inside. The heater is there to help keep all four walls of the freezer at a consistent temperature and the gaskets sealed. The freezer is not visible: It’s behind the walls of the freezer. Repairing a heater is a job that’s best left to professionals. Contact an authorized repair technician for your freezer brand and model.

Clogged Drain Tubes

Another component to troubleshoot is the drain tube. Look behind the back wall and sidewalls to see if your freezer has visible and accessible drain tubes. If you can see them, check to see if they are clogged. If the tubes are accessible, try pouring warm water down them to see if that loosens and dislodges the clog. If you’re uncomfortable with performing this troubleshooting technique on your own or the tubes are not easily accessible, it’s best to call in a technician. You might even need new drain tubes.

Evaporator Coils

Evaporator coils sometimes build up dirt and frost, and that can lead to ice forming on the bottom, sides and inside the freezer compartment. Review your owner’s manual to see how to access the coils. Unplug the freezer and remove all of the food in the compartment. Let the ice melt from the coils then clean them as directed in the owner’s manual.