simple 110v wire resistance heater

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by rpd611, Aug 1, 2009.

  1. rpd611

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jul 31, 2009
    Looking for a ready-made or home-built device to thaw the ice that builds up periodically in the drain tube located in the freezer compartment of a "frost free" refrigerator. This is a common problem that affects many models particularly in the south in the summer. The defrost cycle produces more run-off than the drain can handle so it freezes into a lake on the bottom of the freezer compartment, eventually dripping into the refrigerator compartment below.

    I have extended what can be a monthly maintenance chore in the summer to once every three months or so by looping a 6" piece of heavy gauge bare copper wire over one of the defroster bars and down into the drain tube directly below. The idea is to conduct the heat from the defroster bar into the wire and thus into the drain tube. Eventually even the wire freezes into the tube and it has to be manually thawed.

    If I could wrap a few coils of flexible heater wire around the small length (less than 3/4") of the copper wire actually accessible without disassembling the back of the freezer, I could quickly thaw the ice in the tube. This is intended to be a maintenance procedure, not a permanent installation. The commercial pipe heater tapes are too stiff and wide to get around the copper wire. I now use a hair dryer which is less than ideal.

    The design requirements: operate on household current, built from components no more exotic than can be found at Radio Shack or Home Depot, novice assembly, apply non-damaging amount of heat by turning device on or off, thin and flexible heating wire.
  2. tkng211

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 4, 2008
    maybe you can use the PTC heater in a small hot melt glue gun. it's comparatively smaller and safer to use. good luck
  3. rpd611

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jul 31, 2009
    Do you mean to disassemble the glue gun and remove the heating element from the glue delivery tube? Or, use the glue gun as is by pressing the nozzle against the copper wire stuck down the drain tube?
  4. fanie

    Active Member

    Jan 20, 2007
    If it's that cold why not just leave the freezer off ?
  5. jj_alukkas

    Distinguished Member

    Jan 8, 2009
    Heating up a freezer is not a good idea.If you need to defrost a freezer, switch it off for some time. Heating will damage the cooling systems and decrease the efficency very much. You can also fix a timer to the power supply to shut it down for an hour every few days.