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Aug 20, 2006 01:46 PM

Need new standing freezer. Manual or Automatic Defrost?

I have had my freezer for longer than I have my husband (24 years) and now it is losing its seal. It is a manual defrost model. It currently has 5 gallons of homemade ice cream and sorbet in preparation for a party next weekend. I would love an automatic defrost model but I am worried that the ice cream would be adversely affected. Some advice would be appreciated. TIA.

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  1. I have an 18 cubic foot Amana that I regret buying. Oh well, the reason I bought it moved out long ago too.

    It is automatic defrost. You know how that works don't you? It periodically heats up to melt the frost.

    So your food heats up too - serious wear and tear on your eats - you can't keep things in there nearly as long as in a manual defrost. It also defrosts your ice cube trays if you use those (so you're left with no ice).

    Of course, the fact that I've had to have it fixed 3 times in 10 years hasn't helped either.

    My next freezer will be manual defrost, and it won't be upright either, picking the food off the floor every time I open the door has gotten old too.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Chris Weber

      Is automatic defrost different from frost-free? The idea of a freezer "heating up" to defrost makes no sense, a modern one should keep from frosting up by dehumidifying the internal air, not by heating its contents. The dehumidification will "eat up" your ice cubes through sublimation, but your alternative there is to periodically transfer them to a sealed plastic bag or container.

      1. re: BobB

        Automatic defrost = frost free. And yes, heat is the way it works, when it works.

        Cold air is not good at holding moisture. Most of the "frost" comes in when you open the door and let moisture laden, warm air in. The moisture in the air turns to frost pretty quickly when you close the door again. The defrost happens on a regular timed cycle. By that time, it's ice.

        Do you know how a dehumidifier works, like the kind you have in your basement? It has cooling coils which cause moisture to condense on them, then it collects the liquid.

        Pretty hard to use that method in a freezer - unless first you heat it up and the frost melts and evaporates again, then it uses the same method, and collects that moisture and drains it out.

        An upright freezer lets more air in than a chest freezer. Since the outside air is warm, it's unlikely to go down into a chest freezer, but an upright freezer dumps its cold air on the floor when you open the door letting in a lot of warm, moist air.

    2. We have a frost free upright freezer which is packed to the gills. In over 2 years I have yet to notice any deterioration in the frozen foods we keep which includes around 2-3 gallons of homemade ice creams/gelati/sorbets right now.

      My SIL has a manual defrost chest freezer which is periodically defrosted by loading everything into coolers and the freezer compartment of her refrigerator. Whatever doesn't fit is discarded - this is usually the stuff which was at the bottom and too difficult to reach. They pull it into the driveway, allow it to drain and wash it out with a hose. Seems like too much work for me.

      1. I had a manual up right which burned out a couple of years ago and I need to replace. Never will I go to a manual defrost again. That is too much like work and the ice up takes up precious room. I never had a problem with food falling out and because of back problems I avoid having to bend over anymore than necessary and bending over trying to find what is at the bottom of a chest type is just not going to happen.