How to Run a Refrigerator Without a Defrost Timer
Refrigerators with defrost timers are called self-defrosting refrigerators. Most modern refrigerators are self-defrosting. Older models, however, may not have a self-defrosting timer or system in place. In addition, defrost timers sometimes break down in self-defrosting refrigerators, causing the defrost unit to stop running -- although this is rare, according to the Repair Clinic website. If your refrigerator is lacking a defrost timer or has one that is not working, it is still possible to run your refrigerator -- you just have to defrost it manually.
Wait until you see ice or frost building up on the inside walls of your freezer. This is a sign that ice is also building up on the freezer's evaporator coils, which means you need to manually defrost the refrigerator.
Remove all of the food from the fridge and freezer. Store it in a friend's fridge to keep it cool.
Unplug the refrigerator and open both doors. Let it defrost for two days. During that time, the ice and frost will melt. If there is a lot of ice, place towels around the fridge to catch the runoff.
Plug the refrigerator back in and wait for it to cool. Put the food back into the refrigerator and freezer.
Things You Will Need
- The defrost timer does two things: it tells the fridge to stop pumping coolant, and it turns on the defrost heaters, which are near the evaporator coils in the freezer. This happens about three times a day. If the defrost timer malfunctions or the refrigerator does not have one, ice will quickly build up on the evaporator coils and on the inner walls of the freezer.