Problems Defrosting the Freezer in a Refrigerator

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Problems Defrosting the Freezer in a Refrigerator
Some models require you to turn off the refrigerator before defrosting it. (PhotoObjects.net/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

While most of the newer models of refrigerators are frost-free, some of the older models require a manual defrosting. Defrosting the freezer prevents excessive amounts of ice build-up and is necessary whenever you move or store the refrigerator. However easy the defrosting cycle usually is, there are a few isolated problems that can occur in the defrosting process.

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Ice Melting

Depending on the ice build-up in the freezer, it can take several hours for the ice to completely melt. Refrigerator manufacturers sometimes suggest placing pans of hot water into the freezer compartments to speed up the defrosting process. To prevent excessive ice build-up, manufacturers advise defrosting the refrigerator whenever the frost is 1/4-inch thick. Using a knife or other sharp object to scrape off the ice build-up is not recommended, but you can use a plastic scraper to remove the ice.

Water Leaking

When the freezer is defrosting, you may notice water leaking around the bottom of the refrigerator section. Most manual-defrost refrigerators have a drain pan that catches the water as the freezer defrosts. If the drain pan is pushed out of place, it is unable to sufficiently catch the dripping water. Check the placement of the drain pan to make sure it is positioned correctly and empty it if it appears full.

Smells and Mildew

Some refrigerators require that you turn off the refrigerator and freezer controls to start the defrosting process, while other models have a defrost control. When the defrost control is used, the refrigerator switches the refrigerator and freezer back on automatically after the defrost cycle is complete. If you turn the refrigerator off when you defrost it, keep the doors open until you turn the refrigerator back on. Keeping the doors shut may cause a musty odour and mildew growth to occur inside of the refrigerator and freezer.

Other Suggestions and Warnings

After defrosting, remove the drain pan from the refrigerator, empty it and wipe it dry. Remove the crisper at the bottom of the refrigerator after it finishes defrosting and clean up any excess water that has leaked into the refrigerator. Do not touch the refrigerator coils at any time but especially when your hands are wet as it could pose an electrocution risk. Clean the refrigerator and freezer sections thoroughly after defrosting the freezer. Use a solution of baking soda and water to clean the refrigerator and freezer. Dry the refrigerator and freezer thoroughly after cleaning them to prevent mould growth.

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