Do not use sharp objects to remove ice in a freezer. Period!

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When the coating of ice around the freezer in a refrigerator grows so thick that the door no longer closes tightly or food items are stuck and difficult to remove, the only thing worse than defrosting is plunging in with a sharp object in all frustration.

Irregular defrosting patterns means that help will be hard to find if something goes wrong. And using a knife, fork or sharp object means that something probably will – especially if the object slips and punctures the freezer’s tender aluminum skin. This sets off a hissing noise that signals the end. In less than two minutes, the pressurized chemical used for cooling will escape and the refrigerator will become inoperable or dead resulting in no cooling.

We have been regularly receiving complaints of no cooling post defrosting. What customers hold back telling us is that they used a knife to remove the ice and resulted in a teeny weeny hole in the body of the fridge which they assume is harmless.
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                                Picture courtesy : Starranty.com customer
The temptation to use an sharp object -a temptation that should be avoided at all times – is especially strong in summer, when the sheathing of ice in one-door refrigerators builds up faster than it does in cooler seasons. The humidity is higher so more moisture enters the refrigerator, condenses and freezes.

The timetable for defrosting also depends on how often the door is opened. With manual-defrost models – which have one outside door with a small inner freezer compartment – defrosting is usually necessary once or twice a fortnight, according to manufacturers.

With some ”cycle-defrost” models – which have two doors and a separate freezer at the top or bottom – the refrigerator section never needs to be defrosted, but the freezer compartment does – usually once or twice a year, according to manufacturer

How to defrost?

Most manufacturers recommend letting the ice melt by itself, by turning the refrigerator off or setting it for ”defrost” if the dial has such a setting. The melting can be hastened by filling a couple of fairly deep pans with hot water and setting them on the shelves beneath the freezer – or even in the freezer.

To accelerate defrosting, using a hand-held hair dryer set to a moderately warm temperature -not hot. Be careful not to touch anything wet while the dryer is on. Again, to avoid damaging the plastic components, do not point the hair dryer at any one spot for too long.

Melt away ice crystals with hot water and a cleaning cloth. Saturate a cleaning cloth or sponge with hot water. Hold the damp cloth directly on top of any ice buildup or frost. Press down on it gently to warm up the ice below. If the cloth starts to get cold, soak it in some more hot water and reapply it to the frost. Continue this process until the frost melts away completely.

If you still insist on defrosting with an ice pick or some other sharp instrument, you might save a major repair or replacing the entire refrigerator if you unplugged it as soon as you heard the refrigerant hissing out through the hole you created. Disconnecting the power will keep the rest of the system from churning on and burning itself out.
Damage caused by pointed objects can usually be repaired. A pin-size hole can be sealed and the refrigerant can be replaced with some warranty.
There are few basic steps involved in repairing a puncture:

– The first is to purge the tubing of any remaining refrigerant.

– The next step is the most difficult – the soldering of a patch over the hole. If the tubing is made of aluminum, it is difficult to solder and as a result most technicians recommend a replacement of the ice box unit.

– If, however, the patch holds, the next step is the installation of a dryer-strainer which retains moisture. Then the  refrigerant is sent up in a capillary tube and moisture can freeze and block the tube.

 

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