Allowing frost to accumulate in your freezer can make it less efficient and raise your electric bill. To counter this, some modern freezer models have an automatic defrost functionality. For others that don’t come with this feature, users have to defrost manually.
So what is a manual defrost freezer? A manual defrost freezer is simply a freezer that doesn’t have an automatic, or self-defrost feature.
An automatic defrost freezer cycles on/off at regular intervals, heating the inner coils and melting the ice crystals or frost. On the other hand, a manual defrost freezer requires human intervention. In most cases, it involves removing all the food items in the freezer and allowing the frost to melt.
What is a Frost
Frost is simply solidified ice crystals that result from the cooling of air inside your fridge. Whenever you open your refrigerator, air gets in. Now, the temperature inside the refrigerator causes the air to cool down and condense into water. After a while, the condensed water freezes and turns into ice crystals.
These ice crystals is what is called frost while the entire process that leads to the formation of these crystals is regarded as frosting. Frosting usually occurs in the freezer part of the refrigeration unit.
Over time, the accumulation of frost inside the refrigerator causes a decrease in performance and cooling efficiency, and may even shorten the service life of some refrigerator parts. Frost will also reduce the available space you have to store your food items, and in severe cases can lead to freezer burn.
What is a Manual Defrost Freezer
As earlier indicated, there are two main types of defrost systems – manual and automatic. A manual defrost system is one that doesn’t feature any heating component to prevent ice buildup or frost. This method was the first to be used, and it’s still pretty popular today.
Usually, you open the refrigerator and offload the food items. Then you leave the door open so the ice crystals can melt.
The major advantage of using a manual defrost freezer is that it’s cheaper and doesn’t consume as much energy as self-defrost units. On the other hand, defrosting the freezer by yourself can take a lot of time and effort.
What is the Difference Between Manual and Automatic Defrost Freezers
The major difference between a manual defrost freezer and an automatic defrost freezer lies in the way the excess ice crystals or frost is removed.
With a manual defrost freezer, you have to do all the work by yourself, while with a self-defrost unit, the major work is done by the refrigerator.
Self-defrost freezers feature heat coils that melt the ice in the cavity and prevent buildup. The heating of the coils is done in cycles throughout the day and is regulated by the system. This saves you a lot of energy and time.
Most people who opt for self-defrost refrigerators mainly do so due to its convenience and ease of cleaning. However, the freezers are more expensive and tend to consume more energy than the manual defrost freezers.
Self-defrost is also known as automatic defrost or frost-free.
Are Manual Defrost Freezers Better
Whether you have a business or you’re using the refrigerator for your home, here are a few factors you need to consider before choosing a Defrost Method.
- Cost: A self-defrost upright freezer usually cost more than a manual defrost freezer of the same size, regardless of the style. This is mainly because of the lack of a defrost feature in a manual defrost freezer.
- Energy Consumption: Self-defrost freezers are also known to consume more electricity than many defrost freezers. To be more specific, a manual defrost refrigerator may consume just around40 percent of the energy used by an automatic defrost unit. This is because many defrost systems have simpler components and don’t feature heating elements. In addition, due to the cycling routine in self-defrost freezers, temperature fluctuations is regular, so the system has to do more work in restoring and maintaining interior temperature.
- Maintenance: Manual defrost freezers generally require more time and effort to clean and maintain. As a result, they may not be the best option for businesses. A self-defrost system takes care of the hardwork for you which makes sense if you have little spare time. However, the extra convenience usually comes at an expense of higher upfront cost and energy usage.
- Application: As earlier indicated, a self-defrost freezer is great for business settings where efficiency is desired. On the other hand, a manual defrost freezer will work better in a home setting where the emphasis may be on reducing cost.
Normal Way to Defrost a Freezer
The easiest way to defrost a freezer is to simply allow it to defrost on its own. Just turn off the unit, open the freezer door and leave it open till all the frost has melted away.
This manual method also happens to be the safest but also the longest. You might want to keep a towel close to absorb the water from the melting ice.
How to Defrost a Freezer Quickly
If you don’t have much time to wait for the ice crystals to melt on their own, then you can follow any one of these six methods to speed up the process.
Use Hot Water
A large pot of hot water can also do the magic.
Just get a hot pad and place it inside the freezer. Then fill a pot or bowl with hot water and place it over the hot pad. Then close the freezer door. Make sure the pot is not surrounded by anything.
Alternatively, you can set pans of boiling water on the shelves, and replace them after every 10 minutes. This would involve more work but it would make things faster.
As the ice loosens and melts, you can pry them with a plastic scraper. You can do this after waiting for 30 minutes.
As usual, make sure you have your towels at the bottom of the freezer to receive the melted ice.
Use Hot Fabric and Alcohol
Instead of placing a bowl of water inside the fridge, you use a hot cloth instead. Now, dip the piece of cloth or rag in hot water or boiling water. Then pour alcohol on it.
Rub the cloth on the ice starting from the edges. You should notice it melting quickly.
This method is most effective when you only want to remove a small layer of frost.
Blowing the Frost
You can use a compact hairdryer for the defrosting process. Just focus the device on one portion of the melt and allow it to melt. Do this repeatedly until you’ve covered the whole area that has frost.
Soon after you start blowing warm air behind the ice, the edges will start releasing. To make things faster, use a plastic scraper to gently scrape the ice off the walls.
There should be towels at the base of the unit to soak up water from the melting ice.
Make sure you keep the end of the dryer at a safe distance from the coils and freezer side to avoid damaging the unit. Remember, the freezer wall is plastic, and you’re applying heat.
Fanning the Frost
If you don’t have a hairdryer, then you can use a fan.
However, this method is only effective if you have warm air in your home. Ideally, it should be used for a freezer in the garage.
Simply open the freezer door, and set up the fan in front of it. The fan circulates the warm air from the room to the freezer, which helps the ice crystals to melt.
Admittedly, it will take a little while depending on how thick the frost is, and the warmth in the room. But it will still be faster than just leaving the freezer door open without a fan or any other thing to help melt the ice faster.
How Often Should You Defrost a Freezer
You can defrost the freezer as soon as you notice ice buildup. This can be a block of quarter-inch ice on the fridge walls.
The exact time the frost appears will depend on how often you use the refrigerator. For some people, this could be frequent while for others, it could be occasional.
Whatever category you belong to, make sure you defrost at least once annually.
My candid advice to you is to unplug the freezer whenever you want to defrost irrespective of the method you choose to use. This is very important to ensure your safety.
How Long After Defrosting Freezer Can I Put Food Back In
This depends on how cool the food is after you finish defrosting. If the food has moderate temperature, then you can wait 30 minutes before placing it back in the fridge. This is the time it will take the unit to reach the temperature of the food.
However, if the food item is still frozen, then you need to wait at least an hour or longer.
If you place the frozen food sooner before the temperature inside the fridge is conducive, then the food can melt and get contaminated in the process.
To Wrap it Up
By now, you now know what is a manual defrost freezer is and the alternative.
It’s a matter of time and money, and which one you have more.
If you have more time, then a manual defrost freezer is the way to go. You will enjoy lower more energy savings but will spend more time cleaning the unit.
On the other hand, if you have more money, then you can enjoy the convenience of a self-defrost freezer.
Let us know if you have any more questions about what is a manual defrost freezer, and we will be glad to help. Meanwhile, happy defrosting!