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Freezer pipe burst solution?
June 19, 2010 7:56 AM   Subscribe

I think I've managed to puncture the piping on the freezer section of my fridge.

The freezer section of my fridge is in dire need of defrosting. Being a complete idiot I decided that the use of a hammer and blunt object would speed things along.

I figured that with a degree of care I could do this without damage by gently dislodging larger portions of ice. During the process, tackling a particularly stubborn section, there was a sudden eruption of what I can only assume was gas from the actual pipes that surround the box (but which stopped soon after).

Does this mean that the fridge is completely finished? Is there a particular health issue with any gassy emissions?

I realise that this a completely dumb approach to a common household chore, but I've been unable to turn up any info on what to do when this happens.
posted by panboi to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
 
My father did this once, while trying to separate ice from a fridge using a hammer and chisel!

Fortunately he was doing it outside, so the area was well ventilated. If your accident happened inside, you probably want to open some windows and things to keep the place ventilated.

Wikipedia has some information on what the escaped gas could have been, and you can google names and 'MSDS' to get a Material Safety Data Sheet (example) which should give basic information on the dangers.

Unfortunately you're going to need a new fridge.
posted by Mike1024 at 8:09 AM on June 19, 2010


"Does this mean that the fridge is completely finished? Is there a particular health issue with any gassy emissions?"

Unless you have some super fancy fridge repair is going to be more than replacement. The gas won't hurt you though the oil dispersed with it can be nasty smelling and hard to wash off. Toss any food that was contaminated with oil and you'll be fine.
posted by Mitheral at 8:44 AM on June 19, 2010


A talented refrigeration repair guy can solder the puncture and recharge the system with the proper refrigerant gas, try a commercial service.
posted by hortense at 10:31 AM on June 19, 2010


You can repair it, but I have a question for you. Is the unit supposed to be self-defrosting? If not, then don't worry about it. If it is, you could fix the compressor system but you'll end up with the build-up again. Is the seal fine on the freezer unit? Take a minute to look at it and if it isn't you should get it replace; that is, if you plan to repair the compressor system.
posted by ZaneJ. at 11:13 AM on June 19, 2010


I did this to someone's fridge, right after saying, "don't worry, I won't..." PFFFT!

In her case the landlord was kind enough to claim it on his insurance, and supply a replacement.
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:39 AM on June 19, 2010


Do not spend a dime repairing anything that is old enough to need manual defrosting.
posted by sageleaf at 12:22 PM on June 19, 2010


hortense writes "A talented refrigeration repair guy can solder the puncture and recharge the system with the proper refrigerant gas, try a commercial service."

Repair requires making a leak free patch (no small task); pumping down the air and flushing contaminates; installing a filter/dryer because you won't get all the contaminates; then adding oil and refrigerant. A couple hours labour + parts. Generally more money than buying a brand new fridge.

sageleaf writes "Do not spend a dime repairing anything that is old enough to need manual defrosting."

Manual (and push-to) defrost models are still available brand new.
posted by Mitheral at 2:24 PM on June 19, 2010


Call the repair guy, I did that once and he used some kind of epoxy. Did warn me not to chip at it ever. That was a while ago and it may cost more than the fridge is worth.
posted by sammyo at 4:40 PM on June 19, 2010


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