Our Kenmore side-by-side refrigerator is forming ice in the bottom of
the freezer compartment. Once the ice builds up high enough, water
leaks out the freezer door onto the floor. After I chip out the ice
with a plastic-handle utensil, usually it's ice-free for several days,
but one day there's a solid sheet.
In the bottom-rear of the freezer compartment is a raised area with a
drain hole. When the ice forms, the drain area has no ice, but ice is
present on the two ends away from the hole. To me, that indicates the
drain is open and draining. I pushed a wire down the tube and can't
feel any obvious blockage.
I turned off the ice maker, thinking its level sensor might allow
overflow during the fill cycle, but that made no difference.
I replaced the ice dispenser flapper cover because the rubber was
warped and didn't seal well, allowing a large amount of frost to form.
Once replaced, the frost stopped forming, but the ice still appears.
Can anyone suggest something else to check? Thanks in advance for any
I wouldn't think you should get that much ice in only a few days without a
water leak somewhere. I assume this has an ice maker and perhaps a water
dispenser? Check that it hasn't sprung a leak. If this is in the door,
look for a leak in the tubing that probably runs thru the hinge. A small
amount of ice may form in a frost-free due to the normal defrost cycle, but
a large amount is not normal. Even if it made its way to the drain, it
sounds like you'd have more water than would normally evaporate from the
catch pan under the frig.
Gotta be a leak somewhere. Look it over closely.
I had a similar problem with my refrigerator....it turned out that there is
a drain-hole at the back on the bottom of the fridge....the drain hole leads
to a pan under the fridge. This drain hole was plugged with frozen
water-ice. All I had to do was melt the ice in that drain hole/hose...did
this with a hair dryer and pouring some hot-water down the hole.....it's
been functioning fine for the past year after having done this. Hope this
gives you something to check and fix. Good luck.
Clogged/frozen drain. Below's a short article excerpted
from last month's issue (10/04) of my newsletter that
should be of interest.
Here's a little trick I've used for about 20 years now,
and it's saved countless return trips on refrigerator jobs.
One of the most common problems I see with frost-free
refrigerators is drain freeze up. This is usually caused by
the defrost drain clogging, then freezing. On older units, it
can also happen when the insulation around the drain gets
'waterlogged' - as it usually does over the years - and no
longer keeps the drain above freezing temperatures.
The first symptom, at least in top-mounts, is water under
the crisper drawers, on the floor of the refrigerator section.
(In side-bys it'll appear as a slab of ice on the freezer floor).
Before I found this little trick, this was a frustrating problem
that was hard to keep from recurring.
Now I keep a handful of 'drain heat exchangers' in the truck,
and use a dozen or two most summers, when humidity is
highest and refrig. drains have to handle the most water.
These are easy to make. Just cut a piece of #12 copper wire
(strip from regular 12-2WG household wiring 'Romex') about
6 inches long and bend it around a 1/4 inch round rod. A
screwdriver shaft works well for this, but any 1/4 inch dia.
piece of metal will do.
Now when your refrig drain clogs and you find the trough
under the evaporator full of ice, here's what you do. Clear the
ice, open the drain (use hot water in your one gallon pressure
sprayer and the wet-vac - you DO read the DRSNews back
issues, Don't You? Hmmm?), and hang this little piece of
copper on the defrost heater, so it extends down the drain. On
most units, this is a black rod under the evaporator coil. Some
use a radiant heater inside a glass tube, with which you can
use this method, but you must carefully bend the hook on your
copper wire to the diameter of the glass, being sure it puts no
pressure on the glass.
This heater is responsible for melting all that frost that we
don't have to deal with since the advent of Frost-free units,
and it glows a dull red during the defrost cycle, so there's
plenty of excess heat for our purpose.
Anyway, since copper's such a good conductor of heat, some
of the defrost heater's energy will transfer down the copper wire,
into the drain, and keep it open. What I like to call 'stupidly
simple', this uses no extra electricity and works very well!
One precaution: hang this piece of copper *loosely* over the
defrost heater. Don't squeeze or crimp it on, or you risk
damaging the heater.
Copyright 2004 www.DavesRepair.com
This article may be reprinted and distributed freely,
but only in its entirety, including this message.
Hope that's of some help.
Happy Thanksgiving, and God bless,
Dave's Repair Service
New Albany, PA
Free home appliance tips from a 32-year pro repair
technician! Get your monthly email newsletter here:
(Back issues now posted too!) www.DavesRepair.com
Thanks to all for the suggestions and insight. Alas, I don't seem to
be much closer to a solution.
The ice doesn't appear to be coming from the water dispenser in the
door, because the door hinges (where the water tube is, I believe) are
outside of the freezer bottom. Any leak there would run out onto the
The ice also doesn't seem to be coming from the ice maker refill
operation. I turned off the ice maker for several days, and eventually
ice still formed on the freezer floor.
I will try probing the condensate drain with a more flexible wire, and
also heating it with a hair dryer to thaw any frozen blockage.
However, the area around the drain is clear of ice, but the ends of
the drain "tray" are filled with ice. It looks like the tray filled
with water which froze before it all drained out.
Someone suggested hanging a copper wire from the defroster heater unit
into the drain. Is this heater behind the plastic shield directly
above the drain, on the rear wall of the freezer?
It's interesting that the ice appears only after several days with no
ice. It doesn't gradually appear over time; one day there's a sheet of
I'll keep looking; thanks again.
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