Dopers in crappy apartments, want to beat the heat? Defrost your freezer!

Do you have a lame apartment with no air conditioning? Then you probably have a sad-ass, wheezy old refridgerator-freezer combo without automatic defrost, too, right? Then read on . . .

Last night the hubby decided that an ice cream sandwich would be just the thing in the 90-degree heat. (Not to mention the 80% humidity.) He went to get one from the freezer, and said, “Um, this thing is liquid. That’s not good.” And, shore 'nuff, the freezer had finally built up about six inches of ice on the ceiling, and was long overdue for defrosting.

All things considered, there are worse ways to spend a hot summer evening than standing in front of the freezer, up to your elbows in ice.

Now, I’m told that you don’t have to wait for your ice cream to turn to soup before you defrost the freezer. I have never experienced such a thing myself, but I’m told that you can defrost your freezer voluntarily, pretty much any time there’s a bunch of ice built up in there. So, hey, I recommend that you do it!

We chucked all the food into the cooler (except for an elderly tub of Cool Whip and two packages of unidentifiable meat products, which we threw out.) Using pans of warm water to loosen things up, we went to work with a hammer and a screwdriver. Or, rather, I should say that mostly he went to work, because as The Boy, my husband obviously was Main Head Überboss In Charge Of The Hammer.

In defrosting, there is The Hammerer, and there is the Ice-Monkey. The Hammerer gets to chip away at the ice using the hammer and a screwdriver as a chisel, which is fun and interesting. The Ice-Monkey gets to shuttle hands-full of icechips to the sink, which is boring. We did trade off a few times, but I noticed that if at any stage my chiseling technique was turning out to be particularly effective and efficent, suddenly it had to be his turn so he could do it his way, which inevitably was was stupid and not as good as my way. But there was nothing for me to do, since he was Main Head Überboss In Charge Of The Hammer.

Being The Physicist, though, I was allowed to make bossy pronouncements about the laws of thermodynamics, and was High Queen Of Warm Pans Of Water, which is not as exciting as being Hammerer, but more intellectually stimulating.

'Twas a fine, fine thing to stand, arm-in-arm, cool, refereshed, and truimphant before an empty, clean, dry freezer at the end of the evening. I highly recommend it.

I know that in instructions in my refrigerator say do not chip the ice loose, let it thaw and fall off on its own. And if it has been a long time since you last defrosted, you need to let it sit for 24 hours to allow all the ice in the walls of the freezer to melt.

Not to mention which, chiselling is a good way to puncture a coil and kill your fridge altogether.

Let it melt and pull it out when it’s loose.

[sub]Don’t ask me how I know this.[/sub]

Our refrigerator is so ancient that if it had to be replaced, I think that would be a significant step in decreasing atmospheric CO[sub]2[/sub] levels.

Plus, really, there was a hell of a lot of ice in there. 24 hours probably wouldn’t have melted it (There was still a little bit of unmelted ice in the sink the next morning!) and in the meantime our frozen food would have been a total loss. The whole inside of the freezer compartment is lined with metal, and most of the chipping was nowhere near the liner, because by the time we got down to an inch or so two of ice, the warm water had warmed up the metal lining enough that it did come loose on its own.

Okay, so that’s my lame justification for our extremely reckless acts. Defrost your own freezer at your risk.

Before we finally got rid of our old Wheezer, it was needing a defrost job every 4 days. Ugh.

Had it down to a ‘T’, I tells ya.
Transfer food into cooler.
Remove shelf and icemaker.
Start hammering at edges until cracks form.
Hang blow dryer on shelf hook, partially shut door, let heat for 10 minutes.
(Make sure no water can get in dryer):stuck_out_tongue:
Remove large chunks.
Fling ice over shoulder into the sink.
Leave blow dryer in additional 10 minutes.
Remove rest of surface ice.

Then it got not-so-fun.
Remove screws, take out liner.
Blow dry heat, remove other ice.
Pour vinegar through drain hose.
Replace all parts, plug in.
Let it cool for two hours, replace food.
Empty drain pan.
Clean up mess.

Of course, I didn’t get the nice A.C. effects doing it that way.

I hated that damned thing. :dubious:

We should form a sorority of half-assed house-cleaners - I have a self-cleaning oven, and one of these days, by golly, I’m actually going to use the cleaning setting to clean that thing! We’ve only been in this house a year and three-quarters - don’t want to start overdoing things.