Tip & How-To about Refrigerators
Water leaks can come from may sources, this tip is designed to help with water that is from the freezer due to a defrost drain not working properly.
Frost free refrigerators have automatic defrost cycles. Without this automatic cycle the cooling coils would become covered in frost and the cold air could not circulate where needed. To rid the coils of frost every 8 to 10 hours a heater is activated for around 15 minutes, this is long enough to eliminate the frost but not long enough to warm the freezer temperature. During this defrost cycle the water that is created by the frost thawing is designed to flow down a drain into a pan under the refrigerator and evaporate from the heat produced by the compressor and condenser.
The drain that the defrost water flows down can get restricted and plug up or drain so slow it freezes. Depending on the model of refrigerator it can be a very easy fix or a bit more complex.
Locate the evaporator (cooling coils) they are going to be in the freezer section behind the shelves and back wall. On some side by side models you can simply remove the lower bin (drawer or shelf) from the freezer and you can see the drain opening. On most models both side by side, top mounted and bottom mounted freezers you will need to remove the panel from inside the freezer, this will require unplugging the refrigerator, removing the food and shelves and the panel behind the shelves, on some models you will need to remove an ice maker to get this panel off.
Once the panel is off you should see a tray, pan or trough that the water drips into off of the coils. In this pan will be a hole about the size of dime. This is the drain. If heavy ice is built up, you may not see it.
Be careful working around the evaporator coils, they can be sharp and also are very fragile, do not poke, chisel or pound on them. To remove the ice use hot water or a hair dryer. If a hair dryer is used be careful not to get the plastic walls of the freezer too hot. Use towels to capture the water as the ice melts, you do not want the water running on the floor.
Once the ice is gone and the drain opening is visible, take a turkey baster or syringe and squirt very hot water down the drain until the water runs down it freely. It make take a while, depending on how far down the blockage is. Have towels around the sides and front of the refrigerator to absorb any water that spills out of the pan when working on this and for a few hours after. Once the drain is clear, reassemble and enjoy a leak free refrigerator.
Posted by Philip on
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