What to do when your freezer is punctured

A freezer puncture is a big problem: it causes your freezer to malfunction, the temperature to fluctuate and all that food to spoil. Here's what you can do to fix the issue.

What to do when your freezer is punctured

One minute you’re defrosting your freezer, chipping away at the chunks of ice that have formed on the walls, the next minute the ice pick slips and hits something. You hear a hissing sound coming from your freezer and know there’s a problem. You’ve punctured your freezer! Now what do you do?

Your first step

Don’t panic! Turn off your refrigerator by disconnecting it from the power source. Then, remove all the contents. Remember, you'll want to preserve the frozen food so it doesn't spoil and have to be discarded.

  • On the other hand, this is also a good time to throw away old food.
  • If you suspect Freon gas has leaked, open some windows and ventilate the room.

If you've punctured your Freon line

If you hear a hissing noise, you've likely punctured your freezer’s Freon line.

  • If this is the case, you will have to replace the freezer.
  • Older freezers and dorm room-sized fridges often require a lot of defrosting before you can start the repairs. Plus, the cost of replacing an evaporator and recharging the freezer’s Freon system are expensive. For that reason it’s probably more cost effective to simply replace the punctured freezer.

Repairing your freezer with no gas leak

If you haven’t punctured any Freon gas lines and your freezer is leaking water because it isn't cold enough, your freezer may be salvageable.

  • The freezer puncture needs to be closed up in order to maintain the ideal temperature inside.
  • If there is no Freon gas leak, using a refrigerator repair kit may be better than replacing the whole freezer.

If you're not comfortable repairing the freezer on your own, consider hiring a certified appliance repair and service technician if the job seems to big for you.

Avoiding punctures in the future

To avoid puncturing your freezer in the future when defrosting it, here are some simple steps to follow:

  • Turn off your freezer and remove any food, drawers, trays or shelves.
  • Find the drainage hose and direct it away from the freezer.
  • Lay down old newspaper to catch water and prevent puddles.
  • Choose your defrosting method: either wait for ice to naturally melt; use a hairdryer to heat the ice; loosen ice chunks with a hot cloth or spatula; or set bowls of hot water on the shelves.
  • Do NOT use an ice pick or sharp object to chip away the ice! That’s what started the trouble to begin with!

Remove the ice as you go and mop up all water.

  • When done, clean the freezer and dry it before turning it back on.
  • Be sure to check the seal around the door to see if it needs replacing.

Try defrosting every time there is one-fourth of an inch of ice or less in your freezer.

  • This makes the defrosting process easier and keeps food from spoiling.
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