February 13, 2015

Adventures In Defrosting

For the second time in two months our refrigerator was no longer keeping things cool.
The freezer was working great. Too great.
There was a buildup of ice along it’s inside back wall.
We had defrosted it just two months ago.
Perhaps not thorough enough.
So we decided to give it one more defrost, and the next time it fails, get the refrigerator replaced.
Did I mention this is a frost free refrigerator.
So obviously there is a problem.
Although I don’t think it’s leaking refrigerant.
Perhaps it is because we pack every inch of the freezer with food.
The same philosophy I have towards my body.
But back to the fridge.
Fortunately the weather outside was a balmy 15 degrees fahrenheit.
So it would be easy to keep the food cold while we engage in defrosting.
I arose early and emptied the refrigerated contents into a cooler and a plastic storage box and placed them outside.
For the rest of the day I had the suburban hillbilly look, as the neighbors observed my reaching out my front door into a box, every time I needed some milk.
Hours went by and the inevitable flood of water from the melting ice covered the kitchen floor.
This was anticipated.
But well placed towels were in strategic locations to catch the water, and they were neither well placed or strategic enough.

But it did result in getting the kitchen floor clean.
As evening wore on we thought that the process was taking too long.
We didn’t want to go a second day eating from a box outside.
Nor did we want to leave food outside all night.
This only attracts gypsies, hobos and racoons.
Or at least some strange guy named Bob.
So we decided to speed the process along.
Now the last time we defrosted we didn’t wait long enough for all the ice wedged deep inside the refrigerator to completely melt.
My wife suggested we take a hair dryer and aim it at the spots where we knew (and could still see) the ice.
So I did.
Now many years earlier when I had gotten my new tennis shoes soaking wet, my wife suggested I put them in the microwave for a minute to help dry them.
So I did.
I melted my shoes.
At least the soles.
So just as Adam follows Eves’ suggestions, things don’t always turn out as we expect.
Back to the fridge.
Aiming the hair dryer at the ice was proving effective at melting the ice. But it was taking a long time.
After a while my wife said instead of just holding the hair dryer, maybe I could sit it on something, close the door and let the built up heat melt the ice.
I placed the hair dryer on low, set it in a bread pan, and pointed the nozzle towards the the back of the freezer.
I would check on it every couple of minutes.
The flow of water from under the fridge increased so it was working.
My wife said try to shut the door and let the heat build up, and keep checking to make sure it’s ok.
“Duh..ok” I said.
So I did.
I’d check every few minutes and everything seemed to be working as planned.
The freezer got warmer. The ice was melting. It really was getting warmer. It even had a bit of a smell from the heat.
Oh well I’ll check again in a few minutes.
A few minutes later I checked.
It was really hot in the freezer. I turned the dryer off. The insides of the freezer now had bubbles all over it.
Tiny bubbles.

Part of one side looked like a lava flow.
Oh look a stalagmite.
Yes we melted our freezer.
My wife was horrified.
It did look like something from a horror movie.
It looked like somewhere a hideous creature would store its’ ice cream.
I pushed on the bubbles and was able to flatten most of them.
Now the freezer was covered in melted circles.
And stalagmites and lava flows.
It took another two hours for the freezer to cool.
Then we turned it on.
No leaks of refrigerant.
It worked. The freezer worked. The refrigerator worked. We had success.
And a freezer fit for a zombie movie.
Next time we’re getting another refrigerator.

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