A refrigerator with frost on the shelves or walls means the temperature inside the refrigerator is too low. If frost is forming inside the freezer compartment of your refrigerator, however, there may be a number of different potential issues to blame. Solving the issue involves first establishing where the frost is forming, then working through potential causes and solutions.
Check the manual for your particular refrigerator model and make sure the temperature is not set below 35 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature setting typically is on the wall or ceiling of the refrigeration compartment. Set the refrigerator compartment to a higher temperature, and wait to see if the frost issue is resolved.
Leaking Freezer Gasket
The rubber that surrounds the refrigerator and freezer door to form a tight seal when the door is closed is called a gasket. Over time, these gaskets can dry out and crack or become damaged. If a gasket is damaged, it is as though the door is always left partially open. Humid air inside your home is pulled into the refrigerator, and the moisture in the air immediately condenses on the walls and ceiling, forming small water droplets. These water droplets then freeze, forming frost. Modern refrigerators and freezers have self-defrosting mechanisms, but a leaking gasket can cause more frost to form than the unit can remove. Repair or replace the gasket as necessary to resolve the issue.
Introducing any moisture to your refrigerator or freezer compartment can contribute to frost formation. An open container with liquid placed inside a refrigerator can cause frost to form, as the water inside the container is evaporated into the refrigerator compartment and condenses on the walls and shelves. Make sure all food is properly sealed in containers or bags, and nothing warmer than room temperature is put in your refrigerator or freezer.
Problems With the Defrosting Mechanism
The self-defrosting system uses a small heater to heat up the refrigerant coils inside your refrigerator and freezer on a timed schedule. This slight increase in temperature thaws any frost that has formed on the walls and shelves, and this water is drained into the drain pan. If the drain line to the pan or the drain pan itself becomes clogged, you can have issues with frost formation. Remove the grill on the bottom front of the refrigerator, and remove the screws holding in the drain pan. Pull out the pan and clean it thoroughly. Open the refrigerator and freezer compartments, and locate the drains in the refrigerator and freezer compartments. A solution of vinegar and warm water poured down the drain helps ensure the line is free from ice clogs, and is flowing properly.