How Often Should A Walk-In Freezer Defrost?

Walk-in freezers are key to the success of many businesses, so they need to operate in their optimal state to fulfill their only goal: ensuring perishable commodities stay fresh. And to accomplish that, walk-in freezers need to be defrosted periodically. But how often should that be? We've done the work to bring you the answer.

Not all walk-in freezers are equal, but they generally work using the same mechanism. Usually, walk-in freezers automatically defrost two to four times daily unless manually configured to defrost at set intervals during the day. And it will further vary depending on the location of the freezer. If you’re in a temperate environment, the freezer is exposed to more humidity and heat, so you will need to defrost much more frequently. And the opposite is true in the drier and colder the location. 

Want to know more about why defrosting walk-in freezers periodically is an essential daily routine? Continue reading as we provide you with a comprehensive article about defrosting frequency, why it’s necessary, and when you should conduct it.


A huge and empty walk in freezer, How Often Should A Walk-In Freezer Defrost?

Why Bother With Defrosting Anyway? 

This work might seem tedious and inconvenient for a whole bunch of reasons. But it’s necessary to make sure the equipment functions at its optimum state. For one, it reduces the accumulation of ice in the freezer, which can damage the equipment.

When a certain amount of ice has already built up inside the freezer, the airflow can be obstructed and result in the cold air not circulating properly. Defrosting optimizes the airflow in the freezer, allowing the freezing system to operate more efficiently with less power consumption.

How Many Defrost Cycles Do You Need For A Freezer?

Generally, two to three defrost cycles per day will be enough as this reduces temperature fluctuation in the equipment, the one thing you should always try to minimize. And you may increase this frequency in cases of continuous usage. 

When should these cycles occur? The time at which you defrost your walk-in freezer will vary on the amount of activity. Walk-in freezers remain open more often, which subjects the freezer to more heat and moisture. 

In situations like these, you need to set your defrosting time in three intervals, preferably during times of less activity, such as in the morning, at lunchtime, and in the evening.

Should You Defrost Automatically or Manually?

Interior of a huge walk in freezer

That seems to be a lot of work for such a routine task, right?

If you don’t have time to turn the defrost function on and off, use to your advantage the automatic defrost functionality of your walk-in freezer. Most walk-in freezers have heating systems integrated into their evaporator coils that automatically start the defrost cycle at the time you set beforehand. But note that choosing this option can make your electric consumption surge up. 

On the other hand, you can also choose to defrost your walk-in freezer at certain periods manually. You have to squeeze in the schedule to your daily planner, but at least you will not be consuming as much voltage as compared to automatic defrosting. 

Your choice between these may be obvious, or maybe not. Do you choose time convenience or cost savings?

What Causes A Walk-In Freezer To Freeze Up?

The increased concentration of hot air and moisture caused by temperature and air quality fluctuation can result in ice buildup. The following activities or mishaps trigger the fluctuations and cause ice build-up.

  • Keeping the freezer door open or unsealed more frequently. 
  • Leaving pressure relief port and insulation panel unchecked for malfunctions and water or ice build-up.
  • Failing to set up fan delay, defrost clock, and water drainage ports properly.

How Do You Prevent Ice Build-Up In A Walk-In Freezer?

Leaving these issues unresolved can make your power consumption go up astronomically. Following the simple methods below will help prevent ice accumulation in your walk-in freezer and avoid paying the extra bucks.

  • Ensure all air channels are closed to prevent or minimize the humid air from entering.  
  • Let a technician check pressure relief ports to make sure vents are properly working.   
  • Seal every nook and cranny to stop the outside air from invading your walk-in freezer. 
  • Fix the insulation panel and remove any water or ice that has built up. 

How Long Does It Take A Walk-In Freezer To Get Cold?

A huge and empty walk in freezer

Stability in air quality is necessary before a walk-in freezer reaches the desired temperature. In most cases, it will take four hours to reach the desired temperature to keep commodities frozen. 

Is the freezer new, or has it been servicing your business for the past decade? Is your business or establishment located in a humid, dry, or warm area? Is it working in its optimum state, or has it seen its fair share of repair sessions? Is it filled with commodities that have yet to be frozen? 

How Does Defrosting Work?

All freezers are operating using the same system. They use a heating element on the evaporator coil, the cooling element of the walk-in freezer, that melts away the frost in the freezer.

When the defrost system is turned on, the evaporator coil heats up, melting accumulated ice inside and around the unit. 

On average, this process can last from 25 to 45 minutes, depending on the defrosting type used, which ranges from the air, electric, and demand defrost type. 

One thing to keep in mind is that there is a short delay before evaporator fans restart. This delay ensures the residual condensate from blowing off the coil and latching on any of the products inside the freezer. 

Do I Need to Monitor the Defrosting Process?

Monitoring the whole defrosting process is not necessary. But staying on standby while the process is running can also yield positive results. For one, if an issue arises, you can immediately determine the malfunction in the system and promptly repair it.

Ensure Defrost Systems Work Properly

Walk-in freezers are an essential part of commodity-centered businesses. That’s why ensuring that they function as well as they can should be top of mind for business owners. 

To achieve that, set up routine inspection either internally or with the help of a professional technician—the latter will be the best choice. A trained technician will help you understand how the system works, as well as provide you insight into what’s the true condition of your walk-in freezer and how often you should defrost it.

Make it a habit to always connect with specialists and set a regular inspection of your walk-in freezer to ensure that the defrost system operates normally and is in its optimal state. 

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