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How to Defrost a Chest Freezer So It Works More Efficiently

Posted by Pekin Insurance on May 02, 2016

Learn how to defrost a chest freezer so you can keep your food frozen and your appliance in ideal operating condition.


There's no question that major kitchen appliances can suck up the electricity. Even the most efficient of these can put a strain on your meter. When it comes to chest freezers, it's not unheard of for older and less efficient models to last for many decades. That's one reason everyone should know how to defrost a chest freezer: that simple action can save you money!

There are many different ways to measure efficiency. When you keep an older appliance in good shape, you conserve resources, plus there are direct benefits to your wallet. Newer appliances are efficient because they use less electricity.

Those old chest freezers can also be efficient if they don't work harder than they need to. With that in mind, here is how to defrost a chest freezer to keep it running its best. 

How to defrost a chest freezer in 7 easy steps

Unplug your freezer 

Your freezer will defrost more rapidly if it doesn't accidentally turn on while you're defrosting it. Don't forget to place your plug in an elevated position so it doesn't get wet from melting ice water.

Empty your chest freezer 

Remove all the food from your freezer, and put it in coolers or totes with ice. Plan for a few hours to fully defrost your freezer, and make sure to get plenty of ice to keep your food cold. 

Locate and open the drain plug 

Some drains have a hose attachment so that you can drain the water to a sink or outdoors. If you can't attach a hose, place a pan underneath the drain to catch the water.

In either case, lay down a few shop towels to keep the area around the freezer dry.

Thaw your freezer

You can thaw your chest freezer in several ways. The easiest way is to leave the lid open and let your freezer thaw. This is also the safest method. Using an ice pick or knife can damage the lining of your chest freezer. 

Dry your freezer  

Don't forget to dry your freezer thoroughly before cleaning it and turning it back on. Any remaining dampness will spur the formation of new ice. 

Clean your freezer 

Once your freezer is fully defrosted and dry, it's time to clean. Dirt and oils can break down the seal of your freezer. Dust and debris around the fan or condenser coils force the unit to work harder, decreasing its lifespan. Use a gentle cleaner or dish soap and warm water for most general purpose cleaning.

Locate the condenser coils; they are usually on the back of the freezer. Use a vacuum cleaner or dust rag to clean these, as well as the fan and any air filters you can reach. 

Plug your freezer in. Turn it on, and reseal the drain plug 

Give your freezer one last wipe down, and make sure it is completely dry. Plug the freezer back in, and reseal the drain plug. Adjust your temperature to the desired setting and close the lid. Once the freezer reaches its regular operating temperature, refill it, and then treat yourself to a sweet iced tea. You deserve it!

The steps for cleaning a chest freezer are easy, but that doesn't mean this is an easy job, especially if you have a full freezer. If you haven't cleaned it in a while, plan to use elbow grease to give it that shiny, new freezer sparkle. 

That hard work will pay off with years of efficient cooling power. 

Service equipment contracts and warranties are not always enough. Even the most prepared homeowners face unforeseen costs when it comes to disasters, emergencies, and repairs. Upgrade your homeowners policy to include a variety of extras, including the cost to replace home equipment for just pennies a day.

Do you own a chest freezer? Have you owned it for a while? What advice would you give someone on how to defrost a chest freezer? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comment section. 


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