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Old 05-19-2020, 10:05 PM
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How can I fix this refrigerator problem?


I moved to a new place, and within a week or so I started noticing a small pool of water on the floor near the refrigerators. It is a side-by-side refrigerator/freezer. I found that a layer of ice about 1/8 inch thick forms at the bottom of the freezer side. If I chip that layer out, I don't get the water on the floor, but the ice layer re-forms within 8 or 10 hours, and I have to chip it out again.

I thought it might be leakage from the ice maker, but I turned off the water source to the unit and emptied all the ice, and I'm still getting the ice layer.

What is going on with my refrig?
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Old 05-19-2020, 10:21 PM
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My first guess would be the door is not closing all the way or you have a defective door gasket
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Old 05-19-2020, 10:23 PM
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Where is the ice forming? On the condenser? Somewhere else?
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Old 05-19-2020, 10:41 PM
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I had a similar problem, and it was the ice-maker leaking. Are you sure the water supply is completely off, have you actually disconnected it or just turned a valve? Because it seems odd that so much fresh ice could be accumulating so fast without a water supply.
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Old 05-19-2020, 10:43 PM
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You may have a bad defrost heater, timer or thermostat.
Also, the drain in the freezer might be plugged.
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Old 05-19-2020, 10:45 PM
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Your freezer has a drain port near the bottom of the freezer for the frost it melts off when it is defrosting. That drain port leads to a pan under the fridge where the runoff will harmlessly evaporate away.

The drain port has gotten plugged. You can check this by slowly trying to pour some water into it. It will over flow. If you pour more than about a 1/3 cup of water without it overflowing, stop. You don't want to overflow the drain pan.

I used a syringe with very hot water in it and forced the water down the drain port. It cleared whatever was plugging the port.

Do NOT pour much more water down the drain port after that. The pan under the fridge might overflow.

I pulled out the fridge and took the cardboard backing off the bottom of the back before I started. The drain pan was dry. I then cleared the drain port and after that I could see water in the drain pan.
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Old 05-19-2020, 11:06 PM
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You are experiencing some sort of defrost problem.
Blocked drain or defrost heater not working. But I would guess blocked drain.

The evaporator coils (the cold ones) are in the freezer. Air with moisture in it enters the unit when ever a door is opened. The evaporator cols cool the air to around 0 degrees F. Any moisture in the air will turn into ice on the coils. If the unit does not go into a defrost cycle the ice will build up to the point there will be no air flow across the evaporator coils and the freezer section's temperature will begin to increase. When the unit goes into defrost, the compressor stops and a heating rod is powered up to melt the ice. As the ice melts it drains off and goes down the drain in the freezer section. The water will drain into a pan under the freezer section. Whe the compressor starts the condensate fan will also start blowing air across the pan and the condenser coils9the hot coils).

If the drain get plugged up then the water will refreeze in the drain tube and water overflow into the freezer. Where it will freeze on the bottom of the freezer.

If you and get to the drain easily the do as cmmosdes suggest.

If you can not find the drain the turn off the unit for 24 hours and leave the freezer door open. The ice plug should melt. Pull ulnit away from wall and find where the drain line is. Then you can try and suck the drain clear with a vacummn. To tes then blow back up the drain line. If you cannot blow back up the drain line the blug is still there and needs to be cleared.
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Old 05-19-2020, 11:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmosdes View Post
Your freezer has a drain port near the bottom of the freezer for the frost it melts off when it is defrosting. That drain port leads to a pan under the fridge where the runoff will harmlessly evaporate away.

The drain port has gotten plugged...
How is this hypothesis consistent with water pooling on the floor under the fridge?
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Old 05-20-2020, 12:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Riemann View Post
How is this hypothesis consistent with water pooling on the floor under the fridge?
The defrosting produces water that runs to the bottom of the fridge. That should go thru the drain tube into the evaporation pan below the fridge. But if that is plugged, the water pools in the bottom of the fridge. Some frezes into a small layer of ice at the bottom, some leaks out the bottom of the door into a pool on the floor.

The other possibility is a defective, leaky gasket at the bottom of the fridge. Then the warm, humid room air meets the cold freezer, water condenses out of that air, some stays inside & freezes into a small layer of ice, some leaks out through the damaged gasket & pools on the floor.

Testing for this last one is easy: close the door with a dollar bill halfway in/out of the door. If you can pull this out quite easily, the door isn't closing tight enough. In fact, for the amount of ice generated so fast, you could probably stick your hand down there & feel cold air escaping.
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Old 05-20-2020, 05:22 AM
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Rule number one for ALL fridge issues: remove contents, unplug for twenty four hours. Now plug back in and witness that seventy five percent of the time THIS ALONE will resolve the problem! (My experience from being a landlord many years. I never stopped thanking the fellow that taught me this!)

It costs nothing and is always worth a try!

Good Luck!
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Old 05-20-2020, 06:50 AM
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You could also do a web search on the particular brand and model # of the fridge. Our fridge had the same issue, and it turned out to be a known problem with that model, with a replacement part available (the hose from the drain port to the evaporating pan, which was too easily blocked). Ten bucks on the internet and 45 minutes work (most of which was pulling the fridge out and putting it back) and the problem was permanently fixed.
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Old 05-20-2020, 08:47 AM
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You said you moved recently; was the refrigerator moved also? Because I seem to recall that some types have issues if they are stored or transported on their sides.
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Old 05-20-2020, 09:13 AM
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Bad gaskets would lead to white frosty build-up, whereas condensate not draining away would lead to glassy ice formation, which is what we seem to have here. Typical refrigerators defrost roughly twice a day so that lines up pretty well with the ice sheet returning in 8-10 hours. I'd say a clogged/frozen drain is the most likely culprit as others have mentioned.
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Old 05-20-2020, 09:53 AM
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So... with the information I've gained in this thread, I'm just starting to second guess whether I diagnosed my own problem correctly. I had water pooling on the floor in front of the fridge, and a layer of ice forming at the bottom of the freezer (freezer compartment at the bottom), i.e. exact same symptoms as the OP.

My ice maker had always been flaky, so I suspected that. I turned the fridge off for long enough to partially melt and remove the ice, and also disconnected the water supply since I rarely use the ice machine anyway, and that fixed it. So I concluded it was the ice machine leaking.

But now I'm wondering - could it have been a clogged drain tube that cleared itself simply by turning it off for a few hours, and disconnecting the water supply was irrelevant?
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riemann View Post
So... with the information I've gained in this thread, I'm just starting to second guess whether I diagnosed my own problem correctly. I had water pooling on the floor in front of the fridge, and a layer of ice forming at the bottom of the freezer (freezer compartment at the bottom), i.e. exact same symptoms as the OP.

My ice maker had always been flaky, so I suspected that. I turned the fridge off for long enough to partially melt and remove the ice, and also disconnected the water supply since I rarely use the ice machine anyway, and that fixed it. So I concluded it was the ice machine leaking.

But now I'm wondering - could it have been a clogged drain tube that cleared itself simply by turning it off for a few hours, and disconnecting the water supply was irrelevant?
No real way to know at this point, unless you want to reconnect the water supply and see what happens.

As elbows said, turning it of for 24 hours is a good way to fix things. In the case of a plugged drain, it will likely give an ice plug a chance to melt away and perhaps take any debris with it. In the case of a vapor lock sort of situation, it gives the oil in the compressor a chance to settle back to where it belongs.

The first time I ran into this I found a pea in the drain pan after flushing. You could look for a large chunk (relatively) of something in your drain pan and if you find something conclude that was it.
  #16  
Old 05-20-2020, 01:02 PM
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How is this hypothesis consistent with water pooling on the floor under the fridge?
I had this problem with my fridge. Drain is poorly designed and can ice over. I realized I had a problem because of water on the floor near the fridge. What happened was the ice build up on the bottom of the fridge was enough that when it went into a defrost cycle the water ran across the ice on the bottom of the freezer section and leaked out the door onto the floor. I cleaned up the water on the floor removed all the ice from the bottom of the fridge until I had a time to clear the drain.

So fat it has happened 3 times. The drain looks clear other than a ice block in drain.
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  #17  
Old 05-20-2020, 03:00 PM
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A friend had the same problem with a bottom freezer. He got this and it fixed the problem.

https://partsdr.com/blog/w10619951-u...-tube-fix-kit/
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Snnipe 70E View Post
You are experiencing some sort of defrost problem.
Blocked drain or defrost heater not working. But I would guess blocked drain.

The evaporator coils (the cold ones) are in the freezer. Air with moisture in it enters the unit when ever a door is opened. The evaporator cols cool the air to around 0 degrees F. Any moisture in the air will turn into ice on the coils. If the unit does not go into a defrost cycle the ice will build up to the point there will be no air flow across the evaporator coils and the freezer section's temperature will begin to increase. When the unit goes into defrost, the compressor stops and a heating rod is powered up to melt the ice. As the ice melts it drains off and goes down the drain in the freezer section. The water will drain into a pan under the freezer section. Whe the compressor starts the condensate fan will also start blowing air across the pan and the condenser coils9the hot coils).

If the drain get plugged up then the water will refreeze in the drain tube and water overflow into the freezer. Where it will freeze on the bottom of the freezer.

If you and get to the drain easily the do as cmmosdes suggest.

If you can not find the drain the turn off the unit for 24 hours and leave the freezer door open. The ice plug should melt. Pull ulnit away from wall and find where the drain line is. Then you can try and suck the drain clear with a vacummn. To tes then blow back up the drain line. If you cannot blow back up the drain line the blug is still there and needs to be cleared.
Quote:
Originally Posted by elbows View Post
Rule number one for ALL fridge issues: remove contents, unplug for twenty four hours. Now plug back in and witness that seventy five percent of the time THIS ALONE will resolve the problem! (My experience from being a landlord many years. I never stopped thanking the fellow that taught me this!)

It costs nothing and is always worth a try!

Good Luck!
I had a fridge with a very similar problem.

This is correct - the cooling coils refrigerate.
Fans blow cold air through teh cooling coils into either the cooler or freezer.
In a regular fridge, coils are usually between the freezer and cooler.
Over time, the coils will ice up with condensation.
A timer unit will every so often reverse the refrigeration process and heat the coils to melt the ice.
The melt drains through an outlet tube and down the back of the fridge into a shallow pan under the fridge to evaporate.
Clever designs blow the compressor heat across that pan too.

If the water pools in the bottom of the fridge (and then onto the floor) it means the drain tube from the cooling coils is plugged. In my case, it was dust bunnies (??!! not my fridge) and bits of onion skin. I took a pipe cleaner to the part that went through the back wall of the fridge and that cured the problem. Eventually I had to take the bottom out of the freezer part, let the coils thaw, and push the crud out from inside instead of back in from behind. Make sure the rest of the piping is unobstructed. (In my case it was a clear plastic line like a fuel line, about 1/4" diameter.

Also, if the fridge slowly stops cooling, it means the timer is died and the fridge never does the defrost cycle; the coils slowing fill with ice until no cooling air can get through to cool the fridge or freezer. Replace the timer.

Worse is when the timer dies stuck on defrost, and your fridge becomes an oven. Replace the timer.

If the interior ices up all the time, even the fridge part freezes, possible your thermostat is broken and the fridge does not realize it can stop cooling (it tells the fan blowing cold air across the coils when it can turn off when fridge is cool enough)


Better yet, when this gets to be a hassle, unless you are mister handyman, get a new fridge.

Doing the 24-hour defrost may not cure the problem, it just goes away until a week later when the coils ice up again or the melt water accumulates.

Last edited by md2000; 05-20-2020 at 11:33 PM.
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Old 05-21-2020, 01:06 AM
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I had a fridge with a very similar problem.


A timer unit will every so often reverse the refrigeration process and heat the coils to melt the ice.
The melt drains through an outlet tube and down the back of the fridge into a shallow pan under the fridge to evaporate.


.
I have only heard of heat sump reversal of the refrigeration on large refer boxes. Or very large and expensive house hold units.

Most all home fridges the compressor stops and a calrod melts the ice.
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:51 AM
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I have only heard of heat sump reversal of the refrigeration on large refer boxes. Or very large and expensive house hold units.

Most all home fridges the compressor stops and a calrod melts the ice.
Could be. Anyway, something melts the condensation buildup proactively, not just stop and wait for it to melt. My friend's old fridge turned into an oven. (A bit of an exaggeration, it probably got over 100F or 40C in there...) The timer had stopped on the thaw cycle.
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Old 05-21-2020, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
Could be. Anyway, something melts the condensation buildup proactively, not just stop and wait for it to melt. My friend's old fridge turned into an oven. (A bit of an exaggeration, it probably got over 100F or 40C in there...) The timer had stopped on the thaw cycle.
There is supposed to be a defrost thermostat to prevent that.
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Old 05-21-2020, 10:38 PM
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I moved to a new place, and within a week or so I started noticing a small pool of water on the floor near the refrigerators. It is a side-by-side refrigerator/freezer. I found that a layer of ice about 1/8 inch thick forms at the bottom of the freezer side. If I chip that layer out, I don't get the water on the floor, but the ice layer re-forms within 8 or 10 hours, and I have to chip it out again.

I thought it might be leakage from the ice maker, but I turned off the water source to the unit and emptied all the ice, and I'm still getting the ice layer.

What is going on with my refrig?
I am guessing it's the same problem we had (a GE side-by-side): the self-defrost cycle on the freezer causes a small amount of condensation. Usually it drips down to a spot in the bottom, where there's a small hole (about the size of my pinky fingertip), where the water drips below and then evaporates.

After a while, though, THAT gets clogged.

The fridge instructions actually described what to do to fix / prevent this: once you get the layer of ice chipped out of the way, take a cup of hot water with some baking soda (I think, maybe it was just salt) and drizzle it into the hole. At first it'll overflow, but after a couple of attempts it'll melt whatever ice has clogged the hole. Problem fixed for another year or so,.
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