Is your fridge and / or freezer building up with ice, giving you less space to store things? If so, it is definitely time to defrost your fridge / freezer. Even though this isn’t the most fun task in the world, it is something that needs to be done, as a layer of ice will give you less space, make the appliance less efficient, and end up costing you more in energy.
How often it needs to be done is dependent on how fast the frost builds up. Our guide will take you through the process of how to defrost a fridge or freezer, step by step.
What Causes The Frost To Build Up In Your Freezer?
The frost inside your freezer or fridge comes when the warm, humid air from the outside gets combined with the dry, cold air on the inside. Frost build-up can often block up the ventilation ducts of the fridge, or interfere with proper airflow, causing the fridge to compensate for any temperature fluctuations by having its compressor working harder, leaving you with a higher energy bill.
- Open doors – Warm air from your kitchen enters your fridge / freezer every time you open it. The moisture caused from the warm air will freeze once the door shuts, and eventually lead to frost build-up.
- Bad sealed doors – If the gasket is not sealed properly, the warm air will leak in, even when it’s closed, leading to fluctuations in temperature and ice to build up.
- Storing hot food – Putting any leftovers away while it’s still warm will cause a condensation effect, as the hot and cold air will lead to more moisture on the inside of your appliance.
Defrosting Your Fridge / Freezer – Step By Step:
1. Empty The Fridge or Freezer And Turn It Off
First thing you need to do when defrosting your fridge / freezer is to empty it and store the food somewhere else, like in a cooling bag or in an insulated box along with some bags of ice or cold packs. When empty, you need to turn your fridge / freezer off.
2. Remove Drawers, Trays and Shelves
Removing drawers, trays and shelves will make defrosting and cleaning a lot easier. If these are covered with ice, you might want to wait a little, or be extra careful, as you could break them.
3. Collect Leaking Water
Make sure to prepare the area around the fridge or freezer with some towels and / or newspapers that can soak up the water as the ice melts. To speed up this process instead of waiting for it to melt on its own, you could boil a large pot of water and put it on a shelf (on a trivet) inside the fridge / freezer, and close the door. You could also use a plastic spatula or something similar, to loosen the ice. Use towels to wipe up the water as you go.
Don’t use any sharp objects like scissors, knifes, forks, etc to loosen the ice, as these could cause you to damage and accidentally puncturing the walls of your freezer or fridge, and even cause a gas leak.
4. Clean Your Fridge or Freezer And Dry It Off
If the refrigerator or freezer needs to be cleaned, this is the perfect time to do it. Once it is clean, remember to dry it off completely, before you turn it on again. In this case, you won’t have any ice re-forming immediately.
5. Place Everything Back Where It Belongs
Put the fridge back on and put the drawers, trays and shelves back in place. You may want to wait a little while before you put the food back in, to ensure that the fridge is back at its ideal temperature. This is also the ideal time to reorganize your fridge, and store the food by how you use them, which for most is the most practical way.
One other good tip, would be to keep one shelf relatively free for storing cooked and prepared foods. This will save you from having to move everything around to accommodate it.
When To Concider Getting a Replacement?
Most new refrigerators and freezers are designed to either defrost themselves or to be completely frost free. Fridges and freezers with auto-defrost usually have a temperature-control mechanism that takes care of any frost issues before they become a problem. This is of course of huge convenience, compared to having an older model.
With that being said, it doesn’t mean that you should buy a new fridge or freezer, just because your old appliance has a bit of ice built up in it. Unless you find yourself regularly having to defrost your refrigerator or freezer, then keeping the old machine for as long as it is working perfectly fine, would be the better idea.