Refrigerator water leakage problem

We have an 11-yr-old Gibson (Frigidaire) side-by-side that accumulates a solid block of ice in the bottom of the freezer compartment within a day or less after digging the ice out. It continued to do this even when the water supply to the water dispenser/icemaker was turned off, so it's not the result of a leak there.
Frigidaire Customer Support says they cannot suggest any reason why it would do this and recommends calling a service person, but I thought somebody here might have some ideas. I'm not sure it's worth investing the cost of a service call in this old appliance.
Where is the water produced by melting of the accumulated frost during the defrost cycle *supposed to* go? There does not seem to be a pan underneath to catch the water.
MB
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There has to be a pan somewhere at the bottom. If you remove the panels inside the freezer to access the coil and fan there is a drain at the bottom(right underneath the eaporator coil). That drain under normal circumstances follows a drain tube to the bottom of the refrigerator which frequently is in front of the condenser fan. Most likely what happened is some food particles got into that line and now there is water always frozen in there. Since I seriously doubt that you have a heat gun and some way of lightly pressurizing that drain line, there is an alternative. At your own risk, use a hair dryer to defrost the drain hole until you no longer see ice there. Now pour some hot water there and leave sit for a while. If the that water drains into the pan underneath the refrigerator, your home free. If not call in the pro. Make sure you unplug the refrigerator before you do any of this.
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We have previously had refrigerators with a pan that sits on the coils underneath the cabinet, but on this one there is no such pan and no way of sliding one in from the front, although there is from the back, I think.
This refrigerator was in the house already when we moved in, so I don't know what its "history" is, but I was surprised to see a label on the back designating it as an Engineering Sample, so it could perhaps differ from regular production units.
MB
On 11/07/04 05:41 pm sirhc put fingers to keyboard and launched the following message into cyberspace:

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On Sun, 07 Nov 2004 22:41:49 GMT, "sirhc"

The drain duct inside your fridge is blocked. The best fix is to clear out the contents of your fridge and let the fridge defrost overnight with all the fridge's doors open. That solid ice frost build-up is a good indication that there is blockage. A big defrost will clear many things and when you fridge is turned on again the "solid block of ice" frost buildup should not recur.
I had a similar blockage problem where the freezer compartment was working overtime but the main compartment remained warm enough to let the milk curdle. The big defrost produced 2 litres of water from hidden frost buildup that I could not have suspected and had not noticed since the icebox was shielded by unremoveable plastic covers.
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OK, I looked at a parts list and discovered that the pan on these refrigerators is a small one right underneath the compressor rather than a large one that can be removed from the front.
I removed the back wall of the freezer compartment and used a hair dryer to melt all the visible ice, then poked a wire down the tube. It went down a fair way, and I assumed that the tube was clear, but now that the refrigerator is operating again the ice is accumulating again. I guess I have to repeat the procedure and ensure that the water does run freely down into the pan.
MB
On 11/07/04 05:41 pm sirhc put fingers to keyboard and launched the following message into cyberspace:

> There has to be a pan somewhere at the bottom. If you remove the panels

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There is a drain tube that would go to a pan under the frige and evaporate. It is clogged, Find the tube, forced air should blow it clean. Or perhaps the defrost is not working, just a guess . Look where the hose goes there should be a pan.
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Hi Minnie,
You have a clogged/frozen defrost drain. I carry a one gallon pressure sprayer in the truck for these (and for defrosting refrigerators), but a baster-type squeeze bulb works well too. The smaller style used with infants is the best, and can be bought at any drugstore.
Just use it to work hot water (nearly boiling) into the drain area and force it down the drain, which you'll see directly under the evaporator (cooling coil) in the freezer. You may be able to do this on your Gibson without pulling the back cover, but that often needs to be removed to get to this drain hole.
In some cases it's easier to force the hot water up the drain tube from underneath, but it'll probably work best working from the top down, bc the problem's usually the worst at the top end.
If you have any more questions/problems on this, feel free to contact me, and we'll go from there.
I've pasted an article below on the subject that appeared in the current (October) issue of my monthly newsletter, 'The DRSNews'. If your defrost heater's not more than a few inches above the drain, this little trick will prevent this from happening again:
***
'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.'
- from The DRSNews, October 2004, all rights reserved
***
God bless,
Dave Harnish Dave's Repair Service New Albany, PA www.DavesRepair.com snipped-for-privacy@sosbbs.com 570-363-2404
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
John 3:3

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This is Turtle.
Like others have said. You got a defrost water drain stopped up.
TURTLE
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