Defrosting a Freezer Without Turning It Off

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It is possible to defrost your freezer without turning it off.
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Freezers are one of the appliances in our homes that we often forget about when it comes to care and cleaning. You know your freezer is in need of some attention when you notice ice buildup on the sides of your freezer walls. Defrosting a freezer never seems like an enjoyable task due to the amount of food that is probably being stored in the freezer, however, if you want your freezer to be functioning at its best, then you should begin the defrosting process immediately.

Defrosting a Freezer

It may not seem like it at first, but defrosting your freezer on a regular basis is an important task. Compact Appliance recommends defrosting your freezer if the ice buildup is 1/4 inch or more in thickness. Otherwise, consider defrosting it regularly, at least once per year and more often if necessary.

Leaving a buildup of ice in your freezer can actually decrease its efficiency, costing you more on electricity. Ice buildup can also take up crucial space in small freezers, especially for compact freezers above or below a refrigerator. The ice buildup can also get out of control and affect the way your door shuts or how your freezer functions. If you see signs that this may be happening, you should defrost your freezer as soon as possible.

Defrost Freezer Without Turning Fridge Off

Many people have their freezers attached to their fridge, and being able to defrost the freezer without turning the fridge off would be a huge benefit. So, what's the best way to defrost a freezer? Before assuming that you cannot turn your freezer off, take a look inside your freezer or fridge for dials that correspond to the chill factor of your respective units.

GE Appliances tells us that many bottom unit freezers have numbered control dials in the fresh food drawer compartments found in the fridge. Simply turn these dials to 0 (the higher the number the higher the chill factor will be) and you will have successfully turned off your freezer.

If you cannot find a control dial, then begin defrosting by removing the food and packing it in an extra freezer unit or tightly together in the fridge. Place towels on the floor to soak up any excess water and place bowls of boiling water in the freezer. The steam and heat from the water should soften the ice, making removal easier. If you want to speed up the process, you can work at chipping away the ice with a wooden spatula but be careful not to hit the walls of the freezer for risk of damaging the integrity of the unit. Continue replacing the bowls of boiling water until all the ice is gone.

Defrosting Freezer With Hairdryer

You may consider speeding up the process even further with a hairdryer. While it has been done by many, it is strongly discouraged due to the risk of electrocution this method poses. Defrosting your freezer with a hairdryer may seem like a quick and easy way to get rid of the ice buildup in your freezer, but you can also easily damage the inside of the freezer.

If you choose to use this method, make sure to not point the hairdryer directly at the walls but at the ice just enough for it to soften. Try breaking off the softened ice with a wooden tool and be careful not to strike the walls. More importantly, steer clear of any water puddles that may accumulate on the floor. These are a clear sign of potential electrocution.


Taking on the role of the household's 'handyman' was a natural path for me. Watching my dad as a child be able to fix anything made me want to be just like him. Now with a toolbox of my own I tackle any task that my home throws my way. If the task can be accomplished with my own two hands, I have never been the type to hire someone else to do it. There is nothing more satisfying than staring at your completed project while you brush some dirt from your hands.

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