We’ve found that a heat gun significantly speeds up how quickly a freezer defrosts, whether it be frost free or manual defrost.
Have rented a few apartments equipped with manual-defrost freezers. Indeed at this very moment, I have a manual-defrost Frigidaire upright freezer in the basement that requires semi-annual defrosting (two or three times per year) to keep clear the cooling coils built into each of its shelves.
We’ve only tried this defrost freezer procedure on upright, vertical units (those with a vertically positioned door). However, this method will defrost a chest freezer also (those with a horizontally-positioned door on their tops). In that case, just find a place above the freezer from which to aim the heat gun down into the open chest, instead of up from the floor as the procedure below instructs.
For either chest or upright freezer defrosting, heat guns work well because they have a built-in stand that allows for sitting them on the floor (or on a nearby shelf or chair for the chest freezer case) and aiming the ejected hot air through the open freezer door.
So to defrost our Frigidaire upright freezer, we perform the following procedure every six months:
How to Defrost Freezer with Heat Gun
1. Disconnect Freezer from Power
Unplug the freezer, without touching its thermostat. Leaving this alone preserves its current temperature setting.
2. Prop Freezer Door Open
Then, block open the freezer door with a board. Take care not to force it too far wide, lest you break the hinges, the door, or the freezer case itself.
3. Move All Freezer Contents to Insulated Coolers
Next, remove all food items to a couple of insulated coolers nearby so that frozen meat, vegetables, and bread, remain rock-solid throughout this operation.
4. Break Out the Heat Gun
Next, aim the MHT Products heat gun from the floor up into the interior of the freezer. Next, turn it on, making sure that you turn its intake vent completely open. This gives maximum hot air discharge with minimal chance of overheating.
5. Watch that Ice Quickly Melt Away
Then, wait until all the ice inside has melted; periodically mopping up the floor at the freezer’s front. This can take the better part of an hour for heavily accumulated ice in a deep freezer.
6. Every so Often, Wipe up Water from Melting Ice
Many tall freezers feature a drain plug that you can open, as well as a drain tube that you can route into a drain or bucket. However, if not, or you can’t use that draining facility, wipe up the melting ice water as it trickles down into the bottom of the freezer.
7. Done with the Heat Gun
Once all the ice has disappeared, turn off the heat gun, and set it in a safe place to cool, away from furniture, draperies, carpets, and other items that it could scorch or burn.
8. Clean Inside of Freezer
Then, wash out the interior of the freezer with a soapy cloth and warm water, and rinse it out with another clean cloth. The interior may still be near freezing cold. So spending too much time on this step may chill your hands. Therefore, be quick about it.
9. Thoroughly Dry the Freezer Interior
Then, dry the inside of the freezer with an old but clean bath towel. You want to leave as little water behind as possible so as to lengthen the time before the next required defrosting. You will likely need at least several towels for this.
10. Power Up the Freezer Again
Wipe off the cord, especially the AC plug. Make sure there’s not dirt or corrosion on the prongs. If so, clean it up. Also, inspect the cord for damage at this time, and replace if frayed, nicked, stiff, or it shows any other signs of aging.
11. Move all Food Back into Freezer
As you replace each food item, wipe off any wetness from condensation or melting ice. To avoid having to defrost again for as long as possible, you’ll want to assure that your food containers are as dry as possible before storing them again in the freezer.
Advantages, Benefits, and Pros of How to Defrost Freezer with Heat Gun
Seriously Cuts Freezer Defrosting Time
Using the heat gun in this way accelerates the defrosting operation such that with the heat gun a-blowing, I can clear all ice from the interior of my Frigidaire in less than a half-hour; without the heat gun, defrosting can take three to four hours.
No Need to Hold Heat Gun Once Set Up
I once upon a time used a hair blow dryer. However unlike the heat gun, these have no floor stand. So you’ve either got to hold the blow dryer in your hand throughout the entire freezer defrosting operation, or find some way to position it on a chair so that the warm air goes inside the freezer. For this purpose thus, heat guns are highly convenient.
Requires Less Work
I’ve also tried the pot-of-boiling-water trick, you place a pot of boiling water inside the freezer and then close the door, sealing in the heat from that pot. This worked okay. However, the pot required reheating on the stove every twenty minutes or so to keep the freezer ice a-melting. The heat gun solution is n my experience, by far the most convenient and speedy means to defrost an ice-caked freezer.
Disadvantages, Cons, and Problems with How to Defrost Freezer with Heat Gun
Risk of Severe Burns
Of course, caution is the word of the day when defrosting a freezer with a heat gun. At close range, an 1875-watt heat gun can produce significantly hotter (and thus, more dangerous) air than does a blow dryer. So position the heat gun at least two feet from the open freezer to assure that by the time that hot air reaches the freezer’s internal walls and shelves, that it has cooled sufficiently so as not to melt any plastic parts therein.
Beware of Falling Ice and Water
Also consider that some rather large chunks of ice and significant amounts of water (perhaps a gallon or two in extreme cases) will be falling out of an upright freezer as defrosting continues and collect on the floor. For that reason, be sure to place plenty of towels in front of the freezer on the floor, and position the heat gun close enough for effective defrosting yet far enough away that the water and ice do not spill on it.
Risk of Electric Shock
Keep the heat gun and cord well clear of the dripping water and ice, and to virtually eliminate the risk of electrocution, the heat gun should feature the third (grounding) prong on its power cord, and you should plug it into a GFI outlet, avoiding the use of long extension cords.
Well, that’s it for today. Hope this heat gun tip helps speed your freezer defrosting.
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- 2019-03-12: Added keyword targeting, more subheadings, and more tags.
- 2016-01-15: Simplified this article’s title to: How to Defrost Freezers with Heat Gun
- 2015-12-12: Added appropriate tags.
- 2015-09-22: Added more content and tags.
- 2015-01-10: Added picture of freezer defrosting in progress while a heat gun blows hot air into it.
- 2014-12-25: Moved to the Tom’s Tek Stop blog, added whitespace, tweaked content, and adjusted ad positioning.
- 2012-03-09: Originally published.