Defrosting a chest freezer is an easy enough activity… once you’ve done it a few times. Here’s how to go about it.
How Often To Defrost?
A typical chest freezer should be defrosted twice a year. This will vary based on the location of the freezer, the ambient temperature, the ambient humidity, how much food is in the freezer, and similarly related factors.
You will know your chest freezer needs to be defrosted when you see 1/2″ of frost build-up accumulated inside the freezer. The frost may not be uniform but a half inch (about 13mm) is a good indicator.
This frost should never be picked or scraped with metal! This can damage the thin liner of the freezer and cause leaks to the cooling gas inside the freezer. If you want to aid the defrosting with scraping you should use a rubber spatula or plastic scraper.
How To Defrost A Chest Freezer
Here are the instructions for a manual defrost…
- Turn the freezer off and the unplug it.
- Remove all the food and other contents from the freezer.
- Let the ice melt naturally or pour warm water on the ice to quicken the defrost process. Pick up and remove any large pieces of ice to quicken the process even more.
- Look for a drain cap at the bottom of the freezer, normally towards the front. Place a drip pan under the drain before opening it.
- Open the drain plug (there may be an exterior drain cap as well) and let the water collect in the drip pan. You may need to empty the drip pan periodically.
- When most of the water has dripped out and the frost is gone, you can wipe down the interior with a sponge or towel to get the rest of the water and condensation out.
- When the freezer is dry clean it out with a mixture of warm water and baking soda. Towel dry when done.
- Replace the drain plug.
- Plug in the freezer and replace the food.
As you can see this is a quick and easy process. It’s easiest to do it at a time when you don’t have much food in the freezer, but if you have more food than you can place in another freezer you can put the food in portable ice chest or in wrap it in towels and put it in a cardboard box.
If you are using the cardboard box method then you will want to use water warm to aid the defrosting process, taking the defrost type down from a few hours to just a few minutes. Food will stay cold in the towel setup for at least an hour.