Tip & How-To about Refrigerators
This is a very common problem on many older side by side and top mount refrigerators. Basically what happens is this, your fridge goes into defrost every so many hours and a heater comes on melting all the ice off its evaporater(cold coils). Once the ice melts off the coils the unit can then start cooling again with a freshly cleaned coil till it goes into defrost again some hours later. Now the water left from the melted ice during this defrost process has to go somewhere, it cant just build up in the freezers back wall. What manufacturers do is make a hole under the heater with a hose that will run through to the bottom of your refrigerator and empty into its drain pan underneath. Sometimes something can break loose in the back of the refrigerator and fall into this drain hole but more often it becomes clogged with mildew, mold, or some form of bacteria. Once the line is blocked the water cannot drain to the pan any longer and will fill over spilling into the freezer and may eventually build to where it is coming out the door seal itself. If the bottom of your freezer keeps getting a layer of ice in it, the best place to start is looking at the drain hole.
Tools you will/may need to repair this yourself are as follows.
*1/4 inch nut driver
*bowl large enough to hold a liter or more
*one or two large towels
Step one unplug the refrigerator. UNPLUG IT.
Step two is prep, lay the towels out to try to minimize any water that might spill out onto the floor.
Step three open the freezer door and remove all the food between you and the rear wall of the freezer along with most of the shelving. If you are working on a top mount all food and shelves need to be removed. On a side by side you need to remove the food and shelves starting at the bottom and going up until you see the top of the rear access panel because this panel is what will need to be removed.
Step four identify the screws in the rear wall holding the panel in place and remove them. In a top mount this is the entire back wall panel. Then pull the panel itself out carefully. The panel can flex but try to minimize it so you don't end up with creases in the panel.
Step five go to the tap and get the water as hot as possible then fill the bowl and head back to the fridge.
Step six with the panel removed you may be able to see the problem drain hole but most times it is covered with ice and not yet visible. You will be able to find it easily because it is dead center of the coils and straight down. There are some variations but almost all are set pretty centered under the coils. Take your baster and load it with water and start blasting downwards where the drain hole is. Keep reloading and shooting till the drain hole is visible. Do not stop there though, now aim your baster directly down into the drain hole and keep shooting till you have cleared the line and all the water begins running down through the hole.
Step seven once cleared take some bleach and mix it with some of the water and inject it into the drain hole. This will kill any bacteria or mold that is in the line or down in the bottom pan.
Step eight just clean up all the ice chunks left and dry up any water left in the freezer bottom. Put the panel back in place and tighten the screws. Put all the shelves and food back into the unit and turn it back on. Job well done.
Posted by M D Hughes on
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