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How to Know if the Fridge is in Defrost Mode

Lisa Wampler

According Whirlpool, the biggest benefit to a self-defrosting refrigerator is convenience. You do not have to do anything for the refrigerator to start defrosting itself. In fact, you do not have to take anything out of the refrigerator or freezer when the refrigerator starts to defrost. It defrosts slowly enough and at a cold enough temperature that it will not harm your food. Although every brand and manufacturer uses a different defrosting system, there are several ways for you to know when your refrigerator is in defrost mode.

A self-defrost refrigerator defrosts without you knowing it.
  1. Listen for the sound of water running or water dripping. As the ice buildup melts inside the refrigerator and freezer, the water runs through a drainage system and ends up in the drain pan, where it evaporates.

  2. Place a kitchen thermometer inside the refrigerator. When the thermometer rises above the thermostat setting, it indicates that the heater coils turned on to start the defrosting process. This method is not 100 percent accurate, as leaving the door open for long period will have an effect on the temperature inside the refrigerator.

  3. Complete a visual inspection of the ice buildup in the freezer. If the ice appears wet or slushy, it indicates the refrigerator is in defrost mode.