How to Fix Your Walk-In Cooler’s Icing Issues

A walk-in cooler is designed to do one thing - keep the contents inside cool. It may seem totally normal when going in and out of your walk-in unit to see ice forming on the walls or by the door since the whole point of the unit is to keep the contents inside cold, but ice formations on the walls or ceiling could be a sign that one or more cooler components is not functioning correctly. Here are some items to check if you do notice an unusually high amount of ice accumulation inside your cooler:


Check the Door


The door to your walk-in cooler is absolutely crucial to securing the air-tight seal that keeps the cool air in the unit, and outside air out. First check the door for any exterior damage, and then check the door gaskets. If you see any sort of damage or tearing in the gasket, you may want to replace it as this could allow warm air to leak into the unit from the outside. If you have a swing style door it will have a door sweep at the bottom, and this should be checked for damage as well. How does the door feel when opening / closing? Does it feel like there is a tight seal being created, or does it feel loose? There are several components that help keep the door closed securely: hinges, hydraulic mechanisms, etc. Each of these may require replacement. If you think there is an issue with your door, you should contact a certified technician and have them come out to inspect and repair the problem.


Refrigeration Issues


Inspect your condenser and evaporator coils for any signs of damage. If there are excess amounts of ice building up near the evaporator coil, you should contact a technician to check for issues with the fan relay or other issues that could be the result of a malfunctioning refrigeration component.


Pressure Relief Port


Most modern walk-in coolers have what is called a pressure relief port. The sole purpose of this port is to prevent pressure from building up inside the unit when sealed. This heated port is covered by a faceplate.  If there is ice buildup in this area, remove the faceplate and check for any blockages or signs of malfunction such as the cooler door feeling ‘stuck’ when you try to open it from the outside. This could be caused by excess pressure due the pressure relief port not working correctly.


Insulation Damage


The ceiling and walls of a walk-in cooler are made up of insulation, and over time it is possible for these insulation panels to fill up with ice and liquid. If your insulation panels appear to have ice buildups, that is a telltale sign that they are no longer insulating correctly and need replacement. This generally happens on units that are more than 10 years old.  There are modern advances in insulation panels, such as closed cell insulation, that have water resisting properties to help avoid these problems.


Ice buildup inside your walk-in cooler shouldn’t be grounds for panic.  If you clean and maintain your walk-in cooler and components regularly, you shouldn’t worry about long term damage to the unit. If you think you are having leak issues due to increased ice accumulation inside of your cooler, find a local technician who can come out and assess what is causing the problem and how to fix it.