Water leaking into fridge
Unless you have a lot of confidence in your ability as a handy person and plumber, it may be better to leave this to a pro. Here's the story.
When the freezer automatically defrosts, water from the melted ice collects into a tray behind the back panel of the freezer. There is a drain in this tray, and the drain empties into a pvc tube that carries the water down into an evaporation tray that extends from front to back on the bottom right side of the refrigerator. A fan blows air over the evaporation tray to dry the water in the tray before the next defrost cycle.
Over time, the drain tube gets partly clogged with gunk, the water in the upper collection tray doesn't drain completely into the lower tray, and when the defrost cycle ends, the water still in that upper tray freezes. After a few defrost cycles, enough ice forms in the collection tray so it blocks the drain completely, and this plug won't melt during the defrost cycle. Now every time there is a defrost cycle, water collects, overflows, and drips down through the air channel at the back of the fridge into the refrigerator section.
The fix is to clear the drain tube leading from the upper collection tray to the lower evaporation tray. Here's how (if you have the know-how to tackle the job):
First, move the fridge away from the wall, unplug it, and remove the fiberboard panel that runs across the the bottom back. From the front of the fridge pull out the trim grill that runs across the bottom. Locate the evaporator tray on the right, but don't remove it yet.
Empty the freezer, and be sure to safely store the removed items in another freezer, or an insulated cooler, if you can complete the job in an hour or two. Be careful with ice cream and such, which cannolt be allowd to defrost, even partially.
Remove the ice maker if you have one, remove the screws holding down the bottom panel of the freezer, remove it, and remove the screws holding the back panel, and remove it.
Leave the refrigerator door closed, to keep the food in it from spoiling. If this job is going to take you more than an hour or two, move the food in the fridge to another fridge.
Now you need to let the freezer defrost (a hair dryer will make it go faster, but don't let it get wet), and sponge out all the water, There will remain an ice plug in the drain at the bottom of the collection tray at the back. Use hot water to dissolve the ice plug, use a drinking straw inserted into the drain (don't let it drop!) to be sure the ice plug is melted.
You still have to clear the plastic drain tube of collected gunk. This is like snaking out a drain pipe. I found that 8 feet of 1/8 pvc tubing works well. Before you clear the drain tube, remove the lower evporation tray. There is a finger hole at the front. Use it to lift the tray up and forward (be carelful, it may contain water).
Put the pvc "snake" down into the drain in the upper collection tray, and gently work it down through the drain tube. You are done when the snake emerges from the bottom of the drain tube, at the back bottom of the fridge, above where the evaporator tray sits. . Snake up from the bottom, and then back down again from the top, to be sure the drain tube really is clear. Replace the evaporator tray, and slowly pour 2 cups of water into the collection tray at the top, and confirm that it drains quickly and completely into the lower tray.
Empty the lower tray, replace it, and reverse all the disassembly steps.
This is not a permanent fix, because the drain tube could clog again, but should be good for a few years before you have to repeat this operation. At least now you know the cause and the fix, and can deal more effectively with a repair tech, even if you don't tackle the job yourself.
Jun 20, 2009 |
Roper RT21AKXKQ Top Freezer Refrigerator