Question about Sub-Zero Bottom Freezer Refrigerator

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Ice build up condensation will not drain down the tube to the catch pan under the refiridgerator. As much as 3 inches of ice will build up between the veg bins, causing mold builup in fridge, Model 550 frezer is set on #1 drain tube is freezing between catch basin and collection tray.

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I had the same problem but fixed it recently. The problem originates with the drain trough mounted on the back interior wall of the fridge that slopes down into the middle. The drain tube is attached at this point and runs to the pan under the unit. This drain trough is screwed to the interior and sealed with silicone caulking. Over time the caulking breaks free from the interior wall of the fridge allowing the defrosted water to leak past the trough, collecting in the bottom of the compartment under the veggie drawer. It freezes there building up an ice ***** that eventuallly wraps around the drain tube. Any water that now runs into the tube freezes in place over time forming an ice plug preventing any drainage at all. Now the defrosted water begins to flood the interior of the fridge eventually leaking out which it did in our situtation.

There are two solutions. One is to take off the drain trough, clean it up and the interior wall of the fridge. Also thaw out the ice plug in the drain tube and make sure it is clean and drains freely. I used hot water and a syringe to inject it into the tube until the ice melted. Dry everything off. Reattach the drain trough using silicone caulking approved for kitchen/bath use. You may have to shut down the fridge and warm it up to meet the application temperature limit of the silicpne. The other solution is simpler. After cleaning and drying the drain trough, I applied an adhesive backed closed cell foam rubber gasket (3/16" thick automotive) to the back surface of the trough that sits against the interior wall of the fridge when in place. When screwed back in place, the gasket is compressed preventing water from leaking past. The fridge does not have to be warmed up for this fix. It has been in place for a few months now with now problems.

Posted on Mar 23, 2009

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I HAD THIS PROBLEM ALSO. I DISCONNECTED THE DOWNSPOUT TUBE AND SNAKED/WRIGGLED A PIECE OF FLEXIBLE COPPER WIRE DOWN THE TUBE. I USED MULTISTRAND 12 GAUGE, 24 INCHES OR SO, STRIPED THE INSULATION AND APPLIED ELECTRICAL TAPE ABOUT EVERY 1 1/2 INCHES TO KEEP THE STRAND TOGETHER. WRIGGLED IT DOWN AS FAR AS POSSIBLE, PUT IT UP THROUGH THE DOWNSPOUT DRAIN, BEHIND THE RUBBER SEAL SO IT ENDED UP ON THE BACK WALL OF THE FRIDGE AND TAPED IT THERE. I HAVE HAD NO PROBLEM FOR OVER A YEAR WHERE BEFORE I WAS DEFROSTING THIS EVERY MONTH OR SO. THIS CAN ALL BE DONE WITHOUT PULLING THE FRIDGE.

Posted on Feb 28, 2009

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Where is the drain hole? The refrigerator is defrosting and the condensation is under the bottom drawers instead of the pan beneath the frig. I can't find the place where the water should be draining...


The drain is in the FREEZER. Frost and ice melts off the evaporator coil during the defrost cycle and collects in a tray directly under the coil. The tray is pitched to the drain tube that runs inside the fridge wall to a pan under the fridge - where the water is evaporated by the heat created by the compressor and the fan that cools the condenser coil.

To see these parts, unplug the fridge. You'll need to remove the inside rear wall of the freezer. That means the freezer needs to emptied, ice maker removed, etc. Chances are that the drain is clogged - most likely with ice. Manually defrost with a hair dryer and use a turkey baster filled with hot water to direct a stream into the drain tube. Resist using tools to chip ice - the components are made with soft metal and if punctured will allow freon gas to escape. You can suffer instant frostbite to exposed skin or blindness if it gets into your eyes. Once water is flowing, consider hanging a piece of copper or aluminum wire from the defrost heater down into the drain tube. Make sure the wire hangs down as far as the ice build up did (2 or 3 inches at most). This will help conduct the heat into the drain tube and prevent it from icing over in the future.

I hope this was helpful. If it was, please rate it "4 thumbs up". Thanks!

Aug 01, 2011 | Whirlpool Refrigerators

1 Answer

Ice build up under tray inside freezer. The water started leaking inside the fridge. I now clean the ice 1-2 times per week.


Drain tube The evaporator coils frost up in normal use and every eight hours or so the entire unit shuts down and the defrost heater comes on to melt the frost. This cycle last about 20 minutes. The melted frost drips into a drain pan and through a drain tube to the drain tray under the freezer/refrigerator where it's evaporated by the condenser fan.

Your drain tube may be stopped up with ice at the upper end because it drains too slow because it's stopped up at the lower end in the evaporator pan under the unit at the floor. It can get dust and mold in it. Once you get the ice out at the top a little pressure with a turkey baster will usually clear it out. Flushing it out with hot water and clorox may help. Make sure it drains quick enough to prevent refreezing. . The drain should be located below the evaporator coils on the back of the freezer.

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Your evaporator coils frost up in normal use and every eight hours or so the entire unit shuts down and the defrost heater comes on to melt the frost. This cycle last about 20 minutes. The melted frost drips into a drain pan and through a drain tube to the drain tray under the freezer/refrigerator where it's evaporated by the condenser fan.


Your drain tube may be stopped up with ice at the upper end because it drains too slow because it's stopped up at the lower end in the evaporator pan under the unit at the floor. It can get dust and mold in it. Once you get the ice out at the top a little pressure with a turkey baster will usually clear it out. Flushing it out with hot water and clorox may help.
Make sure it drains quick enough to prevent refreezing. . The drain should be located below the evaporator coils on the lower back of the freezer.

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1 Answer

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Hello, this sounds like you have a blockage in the drain tube, remove panel back/bottom of freezer..you may see ice build up...melt ice with hair dryer/heat gun...you will see a pan below evaporator...melt ice in pan...dry water up in pan with paper towel...now you should see a hole in pan that leads to drain tube...pour some hot water in pan..wait a couple minutes..mop up water and repeat this step 2-3 times....once you have done this find some flexible curatain wire or electrical wire..poke down the hole until you see the water drain..now it is clear..put back panel back and you are good to go. The reason you see water in the fridge is because the water has been leaking into the freezer and down the vent into the fridge instead of running into the drain hole...Please feel free to comment again if you need any further assistance. Mike

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2 Answers

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Hello, this sounds like you have a blockage in the drain tube, remove panel back/bottom of freezer..you may see ice build up...melt ice with hair dryer/heat gun...you will see a pan below evaporator...melt ice in pan...dry water up in pan with paper towel...now you should see a hole in pan that leads to drain tube...pour some hot water in pan..wait a couple minutes..mop up water and repeat this step 2-3 times....once you have done this find some flexible curtain wire or electrical wire..poke down the hole until you see the water drain..now it is clear..put back panel back and you are good to go. The reason you see water in the fridge is because the water has been leaking into the freezer and down the vent into the fridge instead of running into the drain hole...Please feel free to comment again if you need any further assistance. Mike

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1 Answer

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Your evaporator coils frost up in normal use and every eight hours or so the entire unit shuts down and the defrost heater comes on to melt the frost. This cycle last about 20 minutes. The melted frost drips into a drain pan and through a drain tube to the drain tray under the freezer/refrigerator where it's evaporated by the condenser fan.


Your drain tube may be stopped up with ice at the upper end because it drains too slow because it's stopped up at the lower end in the evaporator pan under the unit at the floor. It can get dust and mold in it. Once you get the ice out at the top a little pressure with a turkey baster will usually clear it out. Flushing it out with hot water and clorox may help.
Make sure it drains quick enough to prevent refreezing. . The drain should be located below the evaporator coils on the lower back of the freezer.

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1 Answer

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Your evaporator coils frost up in normal use and every eight hours or so the entire unit shuts down and the defrost heater comes on to melt the frost. This cycle last about 20 minutes. The melted frost drips into a drain pan and through a drain tube to the drain tray under the freezer/refrigerator where it's evaporated by the condenser fan.


Your drain tube may be stopped up with ice at the upper end because it drains too slow because it's stopped up at the lower end in the evaporator pan under the unit at the floor. It can get dust and mold in it. Once you get the ice out at the top a little pressure with a turkey baster will usually clear it out. Flushing it out with hot water and clorox may help.
Make sure it drains quick enough to prevent refreezing. . The drain should be located below the evaporator coils on the lower back of the freezer.

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2 Answers

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Hello, this sounds like you have a blockage in the drain tube, remove panel back of freezer..you may see ice build up...melt ice with hair dryer/heat gun...you will see a pan below evaporator...melt ice in pan...dry water up in pan with paper towel...now you should see a hole in pan that leads to drain tube...pour some hot water in pan..wait a couple minutes..mop up water and repeat this step 2-3 times....once you have done this find some flexible curatain wire or electrical wire..poke down the hole until you see the water drain..now it is clear..put back panel back and you are good to go. The reason you see water in the Freezer is because the water has been leaking into the freezer instead of running into the drain hole...If you need any further assistance please feel free to comment again. good luck! P.s Please don't forget to rate my solution thanks! Mike.

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1 Answer

Lots of water pooling on top shelf of refrigerator, toward the back. It is not condensation. Water is apparently dripping down the inside back, as I noticed it has pooled under the veggie bins as well. ...


Hello, this sounds like you have a blockage in the drain tube, remove panel back of freezer..you may see ice build up...melt ice with hair dryer/heat gun...you will see a pan below evaporator...melt ice in pan...dry water up in pan with paper towel...now you should see a hole in pan that leads to drain tube...pour some hot water in pan..wait a couple minutes..mop up water and repeat this step 2-3 times....once you have done this find some flexible curatain wire or electrical wire..poke down the hole until you see the water drain..now it is clear..put back panel back and you are good to go. The reason you see water in the fridge is because the water has been leaking down the vent instead of the drain hole...If you need any further assistance please feel free to comment again. good luck! P.s Please don't forget to rate my solution thanks! Mike

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1 Answer

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most commercial freezers have a drain to the back of the compressor area where the condensate goes into a pan and is boiled off into the air by a loop of hot gas tubing in the pan or an electric heater in the pan. when it defrosts the ice on the coil melts and the water flows out . if the tubing gets plugged the water flows out of the pan and down into the bottom of the box where it refreezes on start of the next refrigeration cycle. clean and clear drain with a shop vac or air hose where water can flow out of pan under the evaporator coil when it defrosts. if you have a domestic residential freezer , most of these have no defrost and neeed to be shut down and manually defrosted every few years. if you leave the door ajar or it doesn't seal well ice builds up and can accumulate in the bottom as frost etc. it would be mosyt unusual for a residential box to have a defrost clock, drain and all, but possible and same rules apply. find the drain and clear with shop vac .

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