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How to Defrost a Chest Freezer So It Works More Efficiently

Posted by Pekin Insurance on Nov 25, 2019 in Home

4 min read

Defrost a chest freezer in 7 easy steps.

Major appliances can suck up electricity like a supercharged vacuum cleaner. Defrosting your chest freezer could save you from throwing money at the power bill.

When ice builds up, it hogs storage space and eats away at the appliance’s efficiency. Let’s take care of that problem. Grab your gear, and we’ll get started.




Ground Rules and Supplies

With proper maintenance, chest freezers can last close to forever. There’s nothing wrong with keeping yours as long as it works, though newer appliances generally use less electricity.

You should defrost your chest freezer at least once per year or when ice thickness reaches a quarter-inch.

Have these supplies on-hand before you do the job:

  • A few shop towels
  • Coolers or totes filled with ice
  • A gentle cleaner or dish soap
  • A bucket of warm water
  • The owner’s manual

Chest freezers differ from one manufacturer to the next, so the owner’s manual should give you more specific steps.

If your freezer is building up frost faster than usual, follow this advice from Sears:

  • Replace the defrost heater, if needed.
  • Close the door all the way every time.
  • Check the freezer temperature to make sure it isn’t too low.
  • You could have defrost cycle issues if frost only builds up on the back of the freezer.

Now it's time to work!


1. Empty It

Remove the food from your freezer, and put it in coolers or totes with ice. Look for room you might have in a spare fridge.

The full defrost should take a few hours, so plan accordingly. You don’t want your food to spoil!


2. Unplug It

The defrost won’t take as long if the freezer doesn’t kick on. Put your plug in an elevated position so it doesn't get wet from melting ice water.


3. Locate and Open the Drain Plug

Some drains have a hose attachment to release the water. Put a pan underneath the drain to catch the water if you can’t attach a hose.

Not every freezer has a drain plug, though, so you might need to skip this step.


4. Thaw It

The easiest and safest thawing technique calls for one simple step: keeping the lid open.

Other thawing methods include using:

  • A blow dryer
  • A fan
  • Pans of hot water
  • A hot cloth and rubbing alcohol
  • A wet/dry vacuum
  • An ice scraper

Contain the draining water if you choose the blow dryer or fan. You don’t want to get shocked or create an electrical problem.

Avoid using an ice pick or knife that could damage the lining of your chest freezer.


5. Dry It

Use towels to dry any damp surfaces that could form new ice. 


6. Clean It

Dirt and oils can break down the seal of the lid. 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 to lift any grime you find.

Look for the condenser coils, which 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.


7. Plug It In, Turn It On, and Reseal the Drain Plug

Wipe down all surfaces one last time. Plug the freezer back in, and reseal the drain plug.

Adjust your temperature to the desired setting and close the lid. Refill the freezer after it reaches its regular operating temperature.


An Unofficial Step: Relax

This isn’t an easy job, especially if you have a full freezer. The hard work will pay off with years of efficient cooling power. You deserve to kick back and relax now!


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Service equipment contracts and warranties don’t always save you from appliance emergencies. Upgrade your homeowners policy to include a variety of extras, including the cost to replace home equipment.

Your local Pekin Insurance agent is here to help!


Contact your local Pekin Insurance agent today!





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