Refrigeration Defrost Termination & Fail Safe – Short 135

In this short podcast episode, Bryan covers the differences between defrost termination and failsafe. He also covers the basics of defrost in refrigeration applications.

In medium-temp applications (also called coolers), the box stays above freezing temperatures, but the coil may drop below freezing. When the air is above freezing, we can use off-cycle defrost. The coil defrosts when the system naturally cycles off. We may also use timed defrost, which pumps down or cycles the compressor off at set times to force a defrost cycle.

In low-temperature applications, the box will typically be below freezing. We may use electric heat to melt ice off the evaporator coil, and the fan stays off; this method is usually accompanied by a pump-down to remove refrigerant from the coil. We may also use hot gas defrost, which pumps discharge gas through the coil to melt the ice off it. (Kool gas may use a warm fluid instead of hot gas.)

We want to stop the defrost as soon as the coil is ice-free; we don’t want to keep adding heat when we don’t need to melt anything. A defrost thermostat detects when the coil is free of ice and terminates the defrost when the temperature reaches around 55 degrees Fahrenheit; this is called defrost termination. We rely on a failsafe to terminate the defrost in case the defrost termination fails; the failsafe is the maximum amount of time a system is allowed to remain in defrost.

Demand defrost uses time and temperature to tell the controls when to put the system into defrost; this method uses trend analysis and sensors to force the system into defrost at set times and intervals.


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