Monday, October 19, 2015

The puddle of ice in the bottom of my freezer: thawing the drain line

I seem to have bad luck with refrigerator/freezer drain lines.  Or maybe I just keep my freezer too cold.  In any case, I now have had to thaw the drain line in the freezer at two different homes in one year.

I just moved in May, and at my old apartment I had to unplug and empty my freezer, then use a blow dryer and hot water to thaw out the drain line when I found water dripping from the top freezer compartment into the refrigerator compartment.  The refrigerator there had the freezer on top of the fridge with separate doors like any typical cheaper modern refrigerator.  In the back of the freezer there was a panel that could be removed.  Once it was removed I could see the freezer coils and the defrost heating element.  I also could see a puddle of ice in a sump with a drain hole at its bottom.  The drain hole led to a pan at the bottom of the refrigerator that actually increases the efficiency of the refrigerator by collecting the defrost condensate and then using it for evaporative cooling.

It took me a while, and I am not sure I went about it in the best way, but eventually I thawed the long drain line with a blow dryer.  The line seemed to run close to the smooth back panel of the refrigerator.  In any case, eventually it thawed.

Now this week in my new condo, I have been finding a puddle of ice at the bottom of the freezer compartment in my side-by-side refrigerator.  After a Google search I decided I was in for another drain thawing session.  I unloaded the freezer and again found some screws to remove a panel that revealed the freezer coils with a drain sump below them.  Happily, in this case, the coils were near the floor, so the drain line was short.  It didn't take me very long to thaw the line with a blow dryer and some boiling water and a pencil to plunge the boiling water into the drain line.

Maybe I should keep my refrigerator and my freezer a little warmer.  Manufacturers recommend 0 F freezer and 37 F fridge. I will try -3F freezer and 33 fridge.

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