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Old 05-21-2020, 08:22 AM
carlb is offline
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Palmetto Bay, FL
Posts: 1,322

Water Dispenser Iced Up: Any Practical Solution?

We have a bottom load water dispenser (this one). I dug into it a little yesterday to clear out some scale and such that was really restricting the water flow. In the process, I found that there was a significant block of ice in the cooling chamber. It hadn't yet blocked up the openings for dispensing water, but it was well on its way. I cleared it all out, cleaned what parts I could, and mostly reassembled the cooler. Water flow was back to normal.

This morning I couldn't get any water out, and when I looked in the chamber it was almost completely iced up; worse than yesterday.

The only thing I can think is that there is a refrigerant leak somewhere, causing the "evaporator" to ice over. Given the small size of the unit (relative to other refrigeration systems) I assume this is unrepairable; even if I were capable myself of tracing down the leak, fixing it (if possible) and recharging the system, it looks like I'd be almost at the price of a new one. Hiring someone to do it (if I could even find someone to do so) would obviously be prohibitively expensive.

Does anyone have any other ideas as to why the chamber might be icing up like it is, or do you concur that a refrigerant leak is most likely?
Old 05-21-2020, 08:48 AM
jjakucyk is offline
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Cincinnati
Posts: 557
Could also be a bad thermostat causing it to never shut off. Low refrigerant charge usually leads to a block of ice on part of the evaporator, while the rest is barely cold, though it depends on the design. I've filled a top-load water dispenser and was surprised to see about 1/2" to 1" of ice around the cooling chamber, but that was probably only 10-20% of the volume. So some ice is normal. As suggested in another current thread about ice and leaking water from a refrigerator. Shutting the thing down completely for a day to ensure all ice is melted may just fix it right up.
Old 05-21-2020, 08:49 AM
am77494 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 2,133
In my experience, itís not a refrigerant leak. Itís usually 1 of 3 things

1. If there is a fan blower that blows the air around inside the cooling chamber, look for it going bad.

2. Over time small gaps appear on the corners (joint surfaces) which lets outside air in. You may need to seal (caulk) this with low temperature food safe silicone sealant (usually available at hardware stores).

3. Leaks in the water line caused by aging gaskets etc. You can easily diagnose this by adding a food dye to the water and see if the color of the frost changes.
Old 05-21-2020, 11:02 AM
carlb is offline
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Palmetto Bay, FL
Posts: 1,322
Thanks, everyone. I'll do a little more exploring and see what I can suss out.


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