If you’re privileged to belong to the 17% of the households around the world that have a refrigerator, one basic rule is to defrost it at least once a year or when the ice levels hit 1/4-inch thickness.
Defrosting prolongs the appliance’s lifespan and ensures that you get the best out of it. But unfortunately, there’s no widespread knowledge on deicing a fridge, and in fact, most refrigerator owners can’t even tell how long it takes to defrost refrigerator coils.
Now, if you’re one of these people, don’t worry. I’ve got priceless insights knit up for you in this article! But as usual, I’ll begin by tackling today’s big question.
How Long To Defrost Refrigerator Coils?
The duration it takes to defrost a refrigerator depends on several factors; the size of the fridge, the ice levels, and other factors. Depending on these factors, the process could take as little as an hour to even a day or two.
Frost and refrigerator are two words that seemingly go together. And to some extent, they do. After all, the fridge is, in a way, a miniature icebox. But the frost buildup that you see on the coils of your refrigerator is a bad thing, and it can quickly build up and impede your fridge’s efficiency.
You see, as much as frost is almost inevitable in a fridge, it shouldn’t be in excessive amounts. It should only be in small quantities that can quickly melt away. But when the frost builds up and becomes too thick, it prevents proper airflow in the fridge.
This could cause your fridge to overwork, leading to higher electricity consumption and, in turn, increasing your utility bills. Not to mention, it could also shorten the lifespan of your fridge. So it’s best to eliminate the frost as soon as possible.
The good news is that defrosting your fridge is a relatively easy task that you can do by yourself. As long as you have some time to spare, you can get the job done without any problems. And usually, this affair may take anywhere from a couple of hours to even a day, depending on the factors I mentioned earlier.
How Often Should You Defrost a Fridge?
You can defrost your fridge once or twice a year, or when the ice buildup becomes too thick (1/4-inch thickness). Defrosting will do you and the refrigerator a lot of good. It improves the appliance’s efficiency and saves your pocket through lower electricity consumption.
Some refrigerators have automatic defrosting features. These freezers use some innovative functionalities to detect when the ice buildup has become too thick and then proceeds to defrost itself. Of course, this is the best-case scenario since you won’t have to lift a finger.
Even so, sometimes, the automatic defrosting feature may fail, and manual intervention will be necessary. So it’s still good to know how to do it yourself, just in case, but more of that will come later in the article.
Why Do Refrigerator Coils Freeze Up?
We really don’t have one reason why coils freeze up. It can be attributed to various causes: faulty defrost heater, defective defrost thermostat, broken defrost timer, and faulty door gaskets. Either of these can cause your coils to freeze up.
You see, a refrigerator has a defrost system tasked with melting the ice that builds up on the coils. When either of the defrost components is not working correctly, it could cause the coils to freeze up.
Here are common causes of refrigerator coils freezing up;
1. Defrost Heater
A defrost heater is the part that’s responsible for melting the ice that builds up on the coils. So when this part breaks or isn’t working correctly, the ice will not melt as it should. This, in turn, will cause the coils to freeze up.
2. Defrost Thermostat
The thermostat is an essential element of the defrost system, whose job is to monitor the coil’s temperature. It then turns on the defrost heater when the coils get too cold. A broken or flawed defrost thermostat will not be able to detect when the coils are cold enough and will not turn on the heater. This, again, will cause the coils to freeze up.
3. Broken Defrost Timer
The defrost timer is what controls when the defrost system should be turned on. So when this component malfunctions, it may result in missed sessions of defrosting. This will cause the ice to build up on the coils and eventually freeze them.
4. Faulty Door Gaskets
Although door gaskets aren’t part of the defrost system, they’re still worth mentioning. A fridge has door gaskets that create a seal between the fridge’s body and the door. This seal is essential in preventing cold air from escaping and warm air from getting in.
When the gaskets are damaged, humid air might sneak into the fridge. This air will then condense on the cold coils and eventually freeze. So as you can see, damaged door gaskets can indirectly cause the coils to freeze.
What is the Fastest Way To Defrost a Refrigerator Coil?
The fastest way to defrost a refrigerator is by blowing hot air over the coils with a blowdryer. Blowdryer will melt the ice quickly, and you’ll be done in no time. Even so, note that speed sometimes comes with heightened risk.
This is because the coils are made of thin metal, and if you subject them to too much heat, they might warp. So be careful not to overdo it. If you’ve got enough time, it would be better to work with the least risky method, which involves letting the fridge defrost on its own.
An alternative way of defrosting your coils is enclosing a pot of steaming water in the fridge. The steam will help melt the ice on the coils. Just make sure that you line several bath towels at the bottom of the refrigerator before you place the pot inside. This will catch any water that drips from the fridge as the pot melts the ice.
Defrost Freezer Coils With Hair Dryer: What To Do
If you’re planning to defrost your freezer with a hair dryer, then it’s completely fine. However, keep basic safety precautions in mind when using this appliance. As long as you’re good at following instructions, then you’ll be fine.
First, ensure that the hair dryer doesn’t come into direct contact with any water or ice. If it does, then it might cause the hair dryer to malfunction. Plus, focus on defrosting one area at a time. This will help prevent the coils from overheating.
Additionally, begin with the lowest setting and see how it goes. If the ice doesn’t seem to melt, you can gradually turn up the heat. But again, don’t overdo it, and always keep a safe distance from the coils.
Last but not least, unplug the hair dryer once you’re done and let the coils cool down for a bit. After that, you can proceed to clean the area.
How Do You Check If Fridge Coils are Frozen?
The best way to check if your fridge coils are frozen is to look at them. If you find them covered in ice, then it’s a pretty good indication that they’re frozen. Take action immediately to prevent the ice from thickening and damaging the coils.
Another way to tell is if your fridge isn’t cooling properly. This is because the coils are responsible for transferring heat – or rather coldness – from the refrigerator to the food inside. If the coils are frozen, then this process will be disrupted, and your fridge won’t be able to function correctly.
So if you notice that your fridge isn’t cooling as well as it used to, then there’s a possibility that the coils are frozen. Again, take action to prevent further damage.
How To Defrost Refrigerator Coils?
We’ve got several ways you can defrost refrigerator coils, with different methods taking different amounts of time and posing different risks. So, choose the method that best suits your needs and situation.
Here are some of the effective ways to defrost refrigerator evaporator coils;
1. Leave It To Nature
The first method is the most straightforward and the slowest way to eliminate the ice buildup on your evaporator coils. Here, you only need to turn off your fridge, unplug it from the power outlet, open the door, and let nature do its work.
As the outside warmer air comes in, it will eventually melt the ice that has built up on your evaporator coils. One thing, though, is that this method may not be the most effective, especially if you live in an area with a colder climate.
2. Use A Fan
You can also opt to use a fan to thaw the ice that has built up on your evaporator coils. To do this, you need to place the fan outside your freezer, with the door open, and let it blow warm air into the unit. This method usually works where the air is warmer.
3. Place Pots of Boiling Water
If you have boiling water to spare, then you can place pots of boiling water on the shelves inside your freezer. By doing this, you can close the doors to keep the internal environment warm, which will eventually help melt the ice on your evaporator coils.
Replace the pots of water every 10 minutes, depending on the ice level, and place them on thick folded towels—but not directly into the freezer—to avoid damaging your appliance.
4. Use a Blow Dryer
You can also use a blow dryer to thaw the ice on your evaporator coils. We’ve already talked about how you can effectively use a blow dryer to defrost your refrigerator, so that I won’t get into details again.
5. Scrap The Ice
It’s the most popular method, but you must use the recommended tools. Avoid using screwdrivers or sharp objects that can damage your evaporator coils. Instead, work with ice scrapers, wooden spoons, or even a plastic spatula.
6. Use A Heated Spatula
This is probably the most dangerous method, but it’s also one of the most effective. To do this, hold a heated spatula over a flame and place it on the ice. But be careful as this method can easily damage your coils.
How Long Does It Take To Defrost Refrigerator Coils?
It really depends on the method you choose. Depending on your chosen method, it would take a few minutes or even a day or more. And whichever defrosting technique you follow, always remember to observe the basic safety precautions.
For instance, always begin by unplugging your refrigerator from the power outlet and removing all food items. Then, line the bottom of your fridge with old bath towels or any other materials that can help catch the water from the melted ice.
As long as you choose one of these methods and follow the proper safety precautions, you can be sure to have your refrigerator coils defrosted without putting your safety and that of your refrigerator in danger.
Defrosting your refrigerator coils is basic knowledge that every refrigerator owner should have. Not only will this help you keep your appliance in good condition, but it will also help you avoid costly repairs. And in case one of your refrigerators has
Sure, most refrigerators have self-defrosting features. But sometimes, they might not work as intended. In such cases, know what’s causing the system to fail before you opt for manual defrosting. You can use a multimeter to test the continuity of the different components of the defrost system. Alternatively, have a professional refrigerator repair technician take a look at it.