Monday, April 19, 2010

HAMMERS: Not Good for De-Icing

It's a classic American fixit method: hitting stuff.
Remember when we had analog TVs and the picture would go out, or get all weird? You'd smack your TV until the picture came back.
Electric, handheld appliance (drill, blender, toaster) not working. Smack it. Maybe the electric contacts will work.
Batteries in your flashlight failing? Smack the bottom- watch the light flicker and get brighter.
Car won't start, and you're going to be late for work? Pummel the dash several times, cursing.
In our modern digital age, the whacking method doesn't work so well. Things are delicate. Look at Amazon's Kindle- falls can break them. Or take cellphones that a little rain can ruin. But despite all the advances in delicate machinery, there was one thing that remained robust, and worthy of a pounding: the refrigerator. Like the mini, dorm-sized one I had in my basement, stocked with cold drinks for my movie marathons and video gaming sessions.
It was a great little fridge. Despite the fact the kids never bothered to close the door all the way, it still kept working. Oh, and frosting up quite a bit. Like over an inch of ice. To the point the door wouldn't close all the way.
So there I was, tired, ready to go to bed, and now I had to fix the mini fridge. In the past I did my emergency de-icing with a pair of pliers- carefully breaking off pieces of ice that blocked the door. But this time, I saw my hammer. My claw hammer.
I mean, it was right there. Laying out from a project earlier in the day. Taunting me.
Thinking about it, I remembered that once I completely de-iced a freezer on a full-sized fridge with a hammer and screwdriver- carefully tapping away at the ice like a paleontologist excavating fossils. Hmmm... any screwdrivers nearby? Nope- just that  punch I had been using earlier. Well heck, a punch is like an icepick with a screwdriver handle. That'll work.
Oh, it worked all right.
It blasted through that ice no problem. Even tap-tap-tapping, it was slicing through the ice pretty easily. Too easily. Then it hit the aluminum conduit on the mini fridge's freezer. Pffssssss!
No more freon.
No more mini-fridge.
No more cool drinks during movies.
Dammit. There's an $80 to $100 mistake.
The moral of this story is two-fold...
1. Close the door to the fridge, to prevent icing.
2. Time, not hammers, is the best way to defrost your fridge. Time spent with the door open, exposing frost to room temperature.

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