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Old 06-11-12, 01:27 PM   #1
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Default Skipping refrigerator defrost cycles

I've noticed that my refrigerator doesn't seem to need to run very long between defrost cycles. When I look at the evaporator coil inside the freezer through its bottom intake vents, there really doesn't seem to be any frost there and I don't really open up the refrigerator often between the probably 2 or 3 days before it kicks the heater on to try and melt frost. The fridge runs more now since it's the cooling season and I don't cool my house too much. It is a recent fridge bought by the previous owners so its up to the latest government mandated energy standards by is not an energy star unit.

When I'm in the refrigerator, I occasionally take a look at the defrost timer and see its position. Sometimes if its about to defrost, I'll twist the defrost timer through its defrost position. I'll do this when the refrigerator is not running(to prevent it from cycling off and immediately back in.

It seems after even the second time around there is still little frost on the coil but I'll let it defrost the second time around anyway.

I'm assuming running a heater to melt the frost, then have the compressor running until it removes that heat has a fairly high cumulative energy usage that may be going to waste if there is no frost on the coil. Is this a good idea? Am I saving energy by skipping every other defrost cycle? Are there replacement defrost timers that will cycle less often for those of us who don't open the fridge every hour to let fresh humid air in that will frost on the coil?

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Old 06-11-12, 01:35 PM   #2
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Why not disable the timer and replace it with a manual ON-OFF switch? I've always had manual defrost refrigerators and freezers and they've never needed defrosting more often than 2 times per year, more often only once.
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Old 06-11-12, 03:46 PM   #3
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"never needed defrosting more often than 2 times per year"

I used to live in a house that had an early 90's era Whirlpool refrigerator, same brand as in this house and it appears to be the same design. The 90's fridge failed to defrost and it would start to run constantly and temperatures would begin to rise after a few months where the flow was completely blocked. We ended up replacing the refrigerator after taking the cover off and defrosting it with a hairdryer multiple times because we didn't know how simple it was to troubleshoot a defrost timer at the time. The evap coils in automatic defrost refrigerators are tiny and once they frost up, it's quick to cause issues. I'm just not sure where the line is drawn for how much frost would equal efficiency loss versus defrosting after x amount of time or x amount of frost.

Usually manual defrost freezers don't matter because their racks are exposed and don't require air flow from a fan that would get blocked where it goes into the refrigerator so they can get frosted pretty heavily and still operate just fine but I don't know think its so much the case for a refrigerator designed to defrost on a regular basis.
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Old 06-12-12, 01:44 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piwoslaw View Post
they've never needed defrosting more often than 2 times per year, more often only once.
Wow! I envy you! I have to defrost my Hanseatic fridge at least twice a month. Frost gets so thick you could hardly close the freezer door. Which laso means it's probably time to get a new and more efficient one..this thing is older than my dog and even outlived the poor mutt
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Old 06-26-12, 09:02 PM   #5
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Found out something else. After watching the position of the defrost timer, it turns out it's basically a 24 hour clock and defrosts every single day. Huge waste considering I only open the fridge a few times a day when I'm going in there for food and only for a few seconds, so the added humidity is minimal. If only there was a retrofit timer that I could put in its place that would trigger once a week or something, especially considering that every time it kicks that 500-600 watt heater on that heat ends up inside the house adding to the cooling load the next time the compressor runs. Definitely never touching a Whirlpool product again. The house has a newer Whirlpool dishwasher though and it seems to be fine and its an energy star but I remember the Whirlpool dishwasher in the house that I grew up in, plenty of failed parts were replaced by me in that unit until 15 years later when the tub seal went and wiped out the motor and flooded the kitchen at the same time.


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