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Hahausuck
Premium
join:2003-12-14
kudos:2

Freezer leaking water into fridge

So I have been battling an issue of the freezer leaking water into the fridge portion below. I found that there is severe ice buildup in the freezer, and that the ice is plugging the hole that allows drainage to the pan at the very bottom below the coils. My guess is that the freezer runs a defrost cycle and water thaws but it is not warm enough to melt the ice plug so it runs down into the fridge. No matter how many times I defrost everything it keeps occurring. I have a fridge thermometer and the temps are in the range for a fridge, and the freezer operates in it's correct ranges.

Any ideas?
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Lurch77
Premium
join:2001-11-22
Oconto, WI
kudos:4

1 edit

Sounds to me like the defrost timer or related defrost component is on the fritz. A somewhat fairly common issue. If you are handy with a meter you can start checking the timer and related components out (including the heating element).
»www.appliance411.com/faq/howdefr···ks.shtml
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Selfish, adj. Devoid of consideration for the selfishness of others.



PeeWee
Premium
join:2001-10-21
Madera, CA

1 edit
reply to Hahausuck

and verify the line does allow drainage, no plug or kinks.

edit; Not my day for spelling!
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My grandkids ARE cuter than yours!



Lurch77
Premium
join:2001-11-22
Oconto, WI
kudos:4

Yes definitely check the drain line first. I should have known to mention that. The severe ice build up may not be from a faulty defrost system, but from the water not draining before going into the cooling mode again.
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Selfish, adj. Devoid of consideration for the selfishness of others.


Hahausuck
Premium
join:2003-12-14
kudos:2
reply to Hahausuck

Thanks for the suggestions guys. I will have to bring the Fluke home from my toolbag at the shop I guess.

Is the drain line hidden behind the rear panel cover?



tp0d
yabbazooie
Premium
join:2001-02-13
Carnegie, PA
kudos:5

From my experience, the drain line is damn hard to get to... but your situation may be very different.

If you have compressed air available, and can find the end of the line, try hitting it with a good blast, but be ready for water at the min, and possibly black mold at the worst. A drain line like that is perfect for mold.

good luck.

-j


wth
Premium
join:2002-02-20
Iowa City,IA
reply to Hahausuck

Several years ago, I had the same problem.....caused by ONE frozen pea that got spilled out of it's bag and rolled down under the bottom pan in the freezer.


bkjohnson
Premium
join:2002-05-22
Birmingham, AL
reply to Hahausuck

You might also be able to clear the line with suction from a wet dri vac. There may be a diagram of the fridge on the internet.


robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
reply to Hahausuck

I have one with the same problem. If you take the insides out of the freezer you will see the drain. Mine develops an ice plug several inches long. My defrost stuff all seems to be working. I have had it mostly empty now for a couple of months. I will look later tonight and take a pic or two. I have been wondering if it may be a circulation problem will just too much stuffed in the freezer compartment. Anyway, I will try to take a few pics and also verify if my defrost cycle is working properly as it seems to have been. Maybe someone can come up with something I have missed, but I have about decided it is a design problem.

Oh, one more thing. With mine, there is no way that the defrost heater would melt the ice plug in the drain line.



Ascent
And so it begins
Premium
join:2004-11-16
Wichita, KS
Reviews:
·Cox HSI
reply to Hahausuck

It is not an electrical problem with the defrost system. If it were, you would not have water leaking! Likely cause is a plugged or slow drain. Another depending on the design of the refrigerator if the temp drops too low at times it will freeze the drain (sometimes the drain is inside the foam insulation against the liner in the refrigerator and dropping below 32 can start the problem). This can occur in cooler weather with not enough heat load. The thermostat is located in the refrigerator and in cool weather there is not enough run time and cold air from the freezer migrates to the refrigerator.
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robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

Basically what has been happening with mine is the drain line from the freezer freezes. Once there is so much ice there, the water just drains and rains down the back of the refrig. Thus there ends up being a lake in the bottom of the fridge. Everything still cools fine and from what I have seen the defrost cycle is keeping the cooling fins in the freezer clear of ice. Maybe something has changed since I last looked. Pics later of mine!


robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

Here are the pics that I promised. About three months ago I took everything out and unpluged it for a day. Normally after doing this about 6 months later it starts leaking into the fridge.

Pic 1 is a pic of the coils after about 3 months of running with a small amount of food in the freezer.




Pic 2 is a close up of the drain tube and it seems to be showing ice buildup on it. Warning -- I am uploading large files -- if you click on them expect significant bytes and related time to download.




Ascent
And so it begins
Premium
join:2004-11-16
Wichita, KS
Reviews:
·Cox HSI

In your first picture on the separator in front of the evaporator. There are 3 openings the 2 on the end need to have the foam blocks removed and that will solve your problem. Whirlpool has had 3 changes on those and the best fix has been to remove them.


P4C0

join:2004-09-08
Quebec, Qc
reply to Hahausuck

Robbin, I have the same fridge at home with the same problem. Need to melt the ice built up in the drain every 2-6 months. It's quite a hassle... air dryer, pour boiling water, etc. The drain isn't clogged by anything else than ice BTW.

said by Ascent:

In your first picture on the separator in front of the evaporator. There are 3 openings the 2 on the end need to have the foam blocks removed and that will solve your problem. Whirlpool has had 3 changes on those and the best fix has been to remove them.
Wouldn't that increase the air flow from the freezer to the top of the refrigerator, thus freezing everything on the top shelf?


Bornloser

join:2002-09-04
Alliance, OH
Reviews:
·WOW Internet and..

1 recommendation

The best cure is to get a 6" piece of 12 guage solid copper wire. Wrap it around the defrost heater and stick it into the drain about 1 to 1 1/2 inches. We call it a shepherds hook and have been doing it for over 30 years on all brands. Yes it is a common problem on top mount Whirlpool/Kenmore refrigerators. We've been doing the shepherds hook trick with great results.



Koil
Premium
join:2002-09-10
Irmo, SC
kudos:2

said by Bornloser:

The best cure is to get a 6" piece of 12 guage solid copper wire. Wrap it around the defrost heater and stick it into the drain about 1 to 1 1/2 inches. We call it a shepherds hook and have been doing it for over 30 years on all brands. Yes it is a common problem on top mount Whirlpool/Kenmore refrigerators. We've been doing the shepherds hook trick with great results.
Ha...nice!

Hahausuck
Premium
join:2003-12-14
kudos:2
reply to robbin

That's the exact same layout as my fridge Robbin!!



That little drain hole plugs up and it's a bitch to get it to defrost.

Bornloser, that is an excellent idea I will give it a shot.



Zupper
Premium
join:2002-12-28
Novelty, OH
reply to Bornloser

said by Bornloser:

The best cure is to get a 6" piece of 12 guage solid copper wire. Wrap it around the defrost heater and stick it into the drain about 1 to 1 1/2 inches. We call it a shepherds hook and have been doing it for over 30 years on all brands. Yes it is a common problem on top mount Whirlpool/Kenmore refrigerators. We've been doing the shepherds hook trick with great results.
I, too, have this same problem, except mine is a full size freezer (no fridge). The drain hole freezes, and so the water collects on the inside "floor" of the freezer. Once that fills up, then it starts spilling out the door. Time to defrost.

Anyway, I had that thought about how to transfer the heat from the defrost heater to the drain. The simple copper wire trick really works? Should you "double up" the end to make more thickness in the drain?

Hahausuck
Premium
join:2003-12-14
kudos:2

I would not think one needs to double-over the CU wire in the drain hole. I'd think just having it there would thaw the ice should a plug start forming.



Melatonin06
Premium
join:2002-02-05
NJ
reply to Hahausuck

Sorry I didnt read all the previous posts, but thought I would add an idea.

I had a problem with water overflowing the auto ice maker and thought you may have a similar problem. It just over filled the ice tray every cycle and the run off would drip down and freeze on the bottom every time.
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Hahausuck
Premium
join:2003-12-14
kudos:2

Nah not the ice maker its not even hooked to a water line. Thanks though


P4C0

join:2004-09-08
Quebec, Qc
reply to Bornloser

said by Bornloser:

The best cure is to get a 6" piece of 12 guage solid copper wire. Wrap it around the defrost heater and stick it into the drain about 1 to 1 1/2 inches. We call it a shepherds hook and have been doing it for over 30 years on all brands. Yes it is a common problem on top mount Whirlpool/Kenmore refrigerators. We've been doing the shepherds hook trick with great results.
Great idea! Now before I open up the back plate... where would I find the defrost heater? Is it the darker tube below the coil/evaporator?

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

Yes -- basically it looks quite a bit like the element in an electric oven.



Bornloser

join:2002-09-04
Alliance, OH
Reviews:
·WOW Internet and..
reply to Zupper

The wire can only be used if you have a calrod (solid element) heater. It is useless if you have a glass tube heater. I had a customer a few weeks ago who called a company last year for the same problem. He installed some stranded wire over the "glass" heater and charged her over $100 for the so-called repair. What a bozo. I had to order an auxiliary heater to put into the drain. They are available and are low wattage so they won't melt plastic. It is wired in with the defrost heater. Easy repair.


robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

Part number?



Bornloser

join:2002-09-04
Alliance, OH
Reviews:
·WOW Internet and..
reply to P4C0

It is attached at the bottom of the evaporator. Blackish in color. A wire on each end. You can dislodge the heater on each end and in the middle for more clearance to attach the wire. Only held in place by small tabs. Make sure you put it back in proper place. ALWAYS PULL THE PLUG FIRST!! And be careful on those aluminum fins. They are like razor blades. Sliced my finger on one last week. Like a small paper cut, but got infected.



Buckethead
Who?

join:2001-07-30
Saint Paul, MN
reply to Hahausuck

I have had the same problem for a few years - take the bottom off the freezer, chip ice out, turkey baster hot water into drain to defrost...

every 4 - 8 months.....

I will have to try the copper wire trick next time to see if it prevents the build up again.


P4C0

join:2004-09-08
Quebec, Qc
reply to Bornloser

Well Bornloser I have tried your trick, we'll see how it goes in the next months... Hopefully the plastic drain line won't melt with the ice!

Thanks to AMD Phreak for raising the issue



Bornloser

join:2002-09-04
Alliance, OH

1 edit

P4C0: It only has to go into the hole about 1-2". Keep it loose in the hole and centered. As long as you don't have it wedged against the plastic tube, you should be OK.



Buckethead
Who?

join:2001-07-30
Saint Paul, MN
reply to Hahausuck

Click for full size
Click for full size
Well finally got around to adding the shepherds hook that Bornloser See Profile was talking about. Hoping that this does the job and prevents the ice buildup. If not new fridge is next step.