How Long Does It Take to Defrost an Upright Freezer?

Freezer manufacturers recommend that these appliances are defrosted one to two times each year.

The length of time it takes to defrost a freezer can vary from two hours to 24 hours, depending on the size of the freezer and the amount of ice build-up inside.

You might expect that upright freezers will take the longest to defrost because they are typically the largest, though this isn’t necessarily the case.

Even if you have left too much time in between defrosting, and there is a heavy build-up of ice in your freezer, there are things you can do to speed up the defrosting process. By giving the ice a helping hand to melt, you can drastically cut down the amount of time it takes your freezer to defrost, to as little as one hour.

Do Upright Freezers Need Defrosting?

Upright freezers need defrosting just like chest freezers, though if you have a freezer with frost-free technology then it won’t need to be defrosted. Defrosting your freezer will help to free up more storage space inside the freezer, and it also helps it to run more efficiently.

This means it won’t have to work as hard to keep temperatures low, resulting in lower energy bills. Appliance manufacturer Beko, recommends defrosting your freezer twice each year.

Why Do Upright Freezers Need Defrosting?

Why Do Upright Freezers Need Defrosting

There are cold evaporator coils in the freezer, and these will freeze any moisture in the air which comes into the appliance. When you open the door of the freezer on a hot day, warm air will enter the inside the freezer. Warm and humid air has an increased moisture content, so when this air gets frozen it results in the forming of ice.

Over time, this creates a build-up of ice inside the freezer, typically on the walls and on the surface of the shelves. An excess office build-up will reduce the amount of storage space you have in the freezer, and it will also mean your freezer has to work harder to maintain its temperature.

How to Defrost an Upright Freezer

1. Unplug the freezer

The first step in defrosting a freezer is to turn the appliance off at the plug. This will cut power to the freezer. If your freezer is part of a fridge-freezer, then you don’t want to unplug the appliance because this will also cause your refrigerator to turn off and spoil your food. Instead, turn the freezer to standby using the button located on the front of the appliance.

2. Remove the food

As soon as you have turned the freezer off, you need to remove all of the food from inside it. Ideally, you should plan in advance when you are going to defrost the freezer so that you can gradually eat all of the food to save it from going to waste. Most foods are unable to be defrosted and refrozen, so move any food you can into the refrigerator.

3. Lay down towels

Defrosting the freezer will melt all of the interior ice, and there has to be somewhere for this ice to go. Lay old towels on the floor around the door of the freezer so that all of the water gets absorbed and doesn’t cause moisture damage to your flooring,

Tips for Speeding up Freezer Defrosting

If you turn your freezer off and leave it to defrost, it can take as long as 24 hours, depending on the size of the freezer and the level of ice buildup.

The temperature in your home can also affect how long the process takes, with hot summer days encouraging the appliance to defrost more quickly. A relatively long defrost is not problematic for some people if you are happy to be without the use of a freezer for a day. However, if you want to speed up the defrosting operation, there are some things you can do to hasten the melting of the ice.

Use bowls of water

To encourage the ice in your freezer to melt more quickly, fill up several bowls with boiling water from the kettle, and place these on the shelves in the freezer. The boiling water will warm up the air in the freezer and make the ice melt faster. Once the water in the bowls cools to around room temperature, fill them up again with water fresh from the kettle.

Scrape the ice

Scrape the ice

Use a wooden spoon or silicone cooking spoon to scrape the ice away from the walls of your freezer. Take any chunks of ice that you’ve removed and put them outside in your garden, as they will melt and water your lawn or your plants.

Alternatively, put the ice in your sink and it will simply melt in its own time and drain away. Be careful when scraping the ice out of your freezer not to damage the internal walls of the appliance. Never use a metal tool as this is likely to cause harm.

Defrost on a hot day

The temperature of the air in your home can affect the rate at which your freezer defrosts. If you want to speed up the process without having to do any manual work, choose to defrost the upright freezer on a hot day. The warmer air in the home will cause the ice to melt sooner, compared with defrosting on a cold day.

Do All Freezers Need Defrosting?

No, not all freezers need to be defrosted. Some freezers have frost-free technology, which means they don’t get a build-up of ice inside, and therefore don’t need to be defrosted. You can buy upright freezers in both standard and frost-free types.

Frost-free freezers have an automatic fan that sucks any warm air out of the freezer before it has had a chance to freeze, therefore eliminating ice build-up. They are more expensive to buy, but many people find the cost is worth it because they are more convenient.

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