When two engineers are faced with the problem of clearing an inch of frost in the freezer, they think of mass expansion and heat transfer. Story of my life.

The fridge was filthy, filthy, FILTHY. The was water at the base near the crisper (the section where your mummy would normally put the vegetables in), there were ketchup stains everywhere and there was even some icky green stuff between the rubber strips on the door gasket. That afternoon, as I got to town to stock up on food and enjoy a bar of vanilla fudge chocolate, I also bought a pair of rubber gloves, scouring pad, and diswashing liquid.

I turned off the switch, transferred all the food into the other fridge (there are two fridges in the house), took out the clear glass shelves and started attacking the walls of the fridge with a sponge and dishwashing liquid (no heavy duty chemicals required. Just a good sponge with a gentle scouring pad will suffice).

My housemate came out of the room to see what the fuss was all about, and proceeded to clean the removed shelves (which I placed on the table) without being asked. Excellent!

Then, came the freezer.

Apparently, somebody had turned down the temperature, causing frost buildup. There was a least one inch of ice covering the cooling coils (or whatever you call it). I started with scraping the top layer of ice off furiously with a spoon (never do this if the ice layer is thin. You don’t want to risk damaging the coils). It was fun, seeing all the ice scrapings fall. Reminds me of the cendol back home, except without the cendol jelly and the toppings.

After about twenty minutes or so with nearly one pound of ice shavings dumped into the sink, housemate and I decided that that method was going to take forever. He suggested using a hair dryer. I wondered if the heat is going to cause some parts to crack due to sudden expansion. He explained that since the refrigerating system is under pressure anyway, that’s not going to happen. Mmm…okay. So off I went to fetch my hair dryer. Plugged it in and blasted the hot air away.

Personally, I would prefer to scrape all night. That’s because ice shavings are easier to remove than constantly wiping off and catching water droplets as the melting begins to threaten a puddle in your kitchen. Anyway, we placed towels and plastic containers to catch the dripping water at the bottom of the freezer.

The ice began to melt when he got the idea to put a bowl of hot water into the freezer compartment and let it sit there for half an hour or so with the doors closed. It took a while, but eventually the residual icicles in there became less than a centimeter thick. Huraah! Hurraah! The process was repeated twice. Finally, the door was left open to let the remaining ice melt on its own. Tracings of ice are still present at moment of press.

Housemate : “It takes a lot of energy to melt the ice.”

Me : *Chuckles* Thinking of : Specific latent heat of substance.


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