Bushman Upright Fridge frost improvements

About a year ago, we got rid of our 12V chest fridge, and moved to an 85L Bushman Upright Fridge. We did a comprehensive review on the unit, which you can read for yourself – Bushman Upright Fridge Review. Overall, it was a huge improvement for us, and looking back now its not hard to see why so many people have also made the move.

However, the one thing I was really not happy about at all (asides from the fan failure) was the fact that our Bushman fridge would frost up seriously fast, and according to the manual it was supposed to be manually defrosted at more than 5mm. In the northern climates, we were seeing 5mm of ice within 7 days, and that put simply, is unacceptable.

Lots of ice defrosted
A huge amount of ice defrosted from our Bushman Fridge (off the freezer section)

The defrosting process involves turning the fridge off, and allowing the ice to melt. If you have something to catch the ice its much better, but you ultimately end up with some, or a large majority of your food not staying cold, which is not a position that you want to be in.

Scraping the ice off can be done, but we’d read of people puncturing their gas lines by doing this, so waiting for it to melt is the recommended option.

I said to myself that if we could sort the frosting issue, we’d be laughing; it would be the ultimate improvement in every way. After extensive conversations with Bushman they seemed to suggest it was purely from opening the door often, which happens when its your only fridge and you literally live out of it. I’d say it probably gets opened 20 – 30 times a day, and possibly even more, but that is unavoidable.

Bushman did recommend that we look further into the door seals, and I read that they should be heated up with a heat gun to ensure they seal properly. However, at a visit to my much smaller mates recently he suggested that the door seal might not actually be in the right place. You could see on the top of the door it was only biting by about 7mm, whereas the bottom was around 15mm, which certainly wouldn’t help.

Upon closer inspection I realised the metal that the door seal actually magnetically grabs to had a 1 – 1.5mm gap right at the top, which was about the same depth. In theory then, this gap would be allowing cold air out, and humidity in all day, every day. I looked to see if the metal had moved to make this gap, and I reckon its just been manufactured this way. I don’t know if all of the fridges are like this, but it’s a big gap to have, and I simply filled it with a bit of silicon.

This did help, and I ran a piece of paper around the door seal to see if there were any gaps, and heated it up with a heat gun to get it to mould as well as possible, but the fridge still frosts up, and on our Lap of Australia over the last 7 months, its been done roughly every 3 weeks (except in Victoria where the temperatures were cooler)

I have considered installing a small fan inside, which I know will also resolve the problem, as it keeps the air moving and the temperatures more balanced, and stops the frosting from occurring. However, this would be a third party modification which Bushman likely won’t approve of, and I question why I should have to do this, and why it isn’t done from the factory.

Fridge power consumption
I spent a lot of time looking at the door seals, and doing what Bushman recommended

Using a hair dryer

The best solution that I can find for now though, is simply to speed the defrosting process up. I turn the fridge off, open the door and remove any dairy, and meat. This goes into a fridge bag, with the frozen items in the freezer, and then I pull out a hair dryer.

This, used off our inverter melts the ice fairly quickly, which drips down onto the lid of my fishing tackle box, and when most of the ice is off, I shut the fridge and leave it for half an hour (to get it all out), and then open it, wipe it down with a tea towel, and put everything back in again with the fridge on.

This can be done very quickly, and whilst its unacceptable and really annoying, I live with it.

Have you had issues with your Bushman Upright fridge frosting up? What have you done about it?

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  1. Hey Stephen,

    That’s very disappointing to hear. It’s super annoying. I’m doing mine every 2 weeks sometimes, up in QLD.

    Get yourself a hair dryer if you can run it. Makes life much easier to defrost it.

    All the best

  2. Stephen Maguire says:

    Having the same issues Aaron. Installed a 12v fan to circulate air. Also installed 4 12v fans at rear to help condenser, placed a dehumidifier inside.

    All this to prolong the defrosting interval by a week. Still doing it every 5-6 weeks.