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Looking to defrost a freezer? Within the last 5 months of the year, our home lost electricity for 2-3 days twice. Once was due to strong wings and rain from a hurricane that passed through and the other time was due to a large snow fall (11+ inches!). We did not have any lasting effects from the electricity losses, except for our upright freezer that resides in our basement. We lost some food, and the bit of ice build up that we already had on the shelves did nothing but get worse. The complete lack of usability of the top shelf was embarrassing!
If the top shelf looks like this, it is definitely time to defrost!
I’ve put off cleaning and re-stocking the freezer in fears that the winter would leave us with another power outage. We often get our worst snows at the end of February into early March. Now March is here, and we have no bad storms in the forecast, so I’ve decided to bite the bullet and defrost, clean, and work on restocking the freezer.
Our upright freezer has been a lifesaver in the past. I have not given it enough credit over the years, and its dark space in the basement does not do it justice. It has seen us through the birth of our triplets and our son’s illness, both times when we relied on freezer meals. Between pre-planning and gifts from friends and family, there have been times that our freezer was stocked! With a busy season of life, I’m excited to get our freezer back to that point. Defrosting a freezer can be overwhelming. After all, it is not a fast process. But it is something that should be added to any upright freezer owner’s deep cleaning list. With these tips, I jumped into the job and completed defrosting and cleaning throughout the course of a day.
Tips for Defrosting an Upright Freezer
#1 Read the owner’s manual. The owner’s manual will have steps for your exact unit. All upright freezer models are different, and the process for defrosting the freezer may vary for each. If you no longer have the manual for your unit, many are available from the manufacturer online. Always begin by referencing your specific manual in order to keep within the guidelines for safety of yourself and the unit and for maintenance of the warranty.
#2 Have plenty of old towels nearby. My husband and I have a stack of worn out towels in the basement that we keep on hand for a variety of projects. These are great for cleaning and drying the freezer. If you know that defrosting the freezer is in your future, begin saving and collecting old towels a few months ahead of time.
#3 Have a back-up for freezer items. If the freezer is fully stocked, those items have to go somewhere while the defrosting process takes place. Have a plan of where to freeze these items ahead of time. Move the food products prior to turning the freezer off.
#4 Turn the freezer to “Off” and UNPLUG. Before beginning, regardless of the freezer model, make sure that the unit is totally disconnected from electricity by unplugging it. I also go an extra step and make sure that the plug is off the ground and will not be in contact with any water from the defrosting process.
#5 Thoroughly dry and clean. After following the manual’s instructions for defrosting the freezer, take the time to thoroughly dry and clean the freezer. Those old towels come in handy here!
#6 Make sure the unit is safe before plugging in again. All water in and around the until should be gone. If the unit had a removable drain plug for defrosting, re-insert the plug. Do a thorough inspection of the unit and surrounding area before plugging it back into the electrical outlet.
#7 Start the unit. Plug the freezer back into the electrical outlet. Set the freezer to your desired cold setting. Allow the until overnight to return to the desired temperature. Check the unit to make sure that it is freezing correctly. I usually do this by placing a few reusable cold packs in the freezer.
It’s time to re-stock the freezer!
I’m excited to get our freezer back to full capacity. Not only does a slightly full freezer run more efficiently than an empty freezer, but it is a peace of mind to know that we have a variety of ready-to-make foods available for those busy weeks or in the case of an emergency.