How to Defrost a Freezer

Frost isn’t cool. Not only does it take up valuable freezer space, it can also have a chilling effect on your electricity bill. If it builds up to a thickness greater than 6mm (about the width of an iPhone), frost can increase energy costs by reducing the freezer’s energy efficiency.

Defrost Freezer

You should defrost your stand-up or chest freezer once or twice a year to keep it clean, cool, and efficient. Follow these instructions on how to defrost a freezer by hand or with a defrost drain.

Why Frost Builds Up in a Freezer

Frost forms when warm air enters the freezer from outside. The cold temperature in the freezer causes the moisture in the air to accumulate as frost on the floor and liner walls.

Some warm air sneaks into the freezer whenever you open and close the door. Frost also builds up when you put an unfrozen package of food (or worse, food that’s still steaming-hot) into the freezer.

You can reduce the amount of frost in a freezer by opening the door less often and making sure food goes in cold. But no matter how careful you are, it’s natural for some frost to build up over time. That’s why it’s important to defrost the freezer at least once a year.

How to Defrost a Freezer with a Defrost Drain

While you can defrost most freezers manually, a number of Danby freezer units come with a defrost drain. These freezers remove frost automatically by circulating the air and depositing any moisture on the cooling coil. The coil periodically warms just enough to melt the ice, which flows into the defrost drain for quick removal.

The process of defrosting a stand-up or chest fridge with a defrost drain is simple:

  1. If the freezer has a low temperature alarm, turn it off.
  2. Find the drain plug on the outside of the freezer. Twist and pull the plug to remove it.
  3. Insert the drain hose adaptor into the drain, and connect the hose to the adaptor. Both the hose and the adaptor come in a plastic bag along with the Use & Care Guide.
  4. Place the other end of the hose so the water will flow into a drain or a pan.
  5. Remove the drain plug on the inside of the freezer.

Replace the inside and outside plugs after draining the water. Don’t forget to turn the low temperature alarm back on!

How to Defrost a Freezer by Hand

We won’t lie — defrosting a freezer by hand is a bit of a chore. But it’s important to do the job right. Here’s how to defrost a stand-up or chest freezer that doesn’t have a defrost drain:

  1. Unplug the freezer.
  2. Empty the freezer, placing the frozen food in a cooler for temporary storage. If you don’t have enough cooler space, put the food in bags, and wrap them in blankets or towels for extra insulation.
  3. Wait about 15 minutes for the ice to soften. Placing a pot of hot water in the freezer will speed this up.
  4. Scrape the ice from the walls with a wooden spoon or spatula.
  5. Remove the fallen ice from the floor of the freezer before it melts.

Caution: Don’t remove ice with a knife, ice pick, or any other sharp instrument! Doing so can damage the freezer liner and will likely void its warranty.

Once you’ve refilled and plugged the freezer back in, give yourself a pat on the back! You’ve tackled a task most people forget to ever do. Your electricity bill will thank you.

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