Believe it or not, water from your freezer dripping into the fridge is not as big of a deal as you might initially think. It may not seem like it now, but water dripping into your fridge is far better than water leaking out onto your floor. What it means for you is that the fix is simple and fast.
So, what’s the problem? Well, if water in your freezer is making its way to your fridge, it’s due to a frozen defrost drain. If water is leaking onto your floor, and it’s coming from underneath, you’ve got yourself a busted defroster in need of replacing by professional hands. However, you can defrost a frozen defrost drain with your own two hands. All you need is hot water and a turkey baster.
How to Unfreeze a Frozen Defrost Drain
Your freezer has a drain line where water enters, then exits into a drain pan on the other end. Unfortunately, that same line can, over time, freeze. Water is passing through it after all, and on a particularly cold day, that water could freeze and cause a blockage. When the blockage occurs, it’s hard to push through it. Water tries to exit, only to get backed up into your freezer, and then into your fridge.
In reality, this is not that big of a deal. All you have to do is thaw the line. To do that, you need hot water and a turkey baster, like so:
1. First, unplug your fridge and move your frozen foods to a cooler.
Tip: Covering the cooler with a thick blanket will help trap the low temperature. If you have ice, throw that in with it. Don’t open the fridge at this time.
2. Unscrew the back panel to reach the defrost drain line.
3. Now, you’re going to see a few holes. The one you are looking for in particular is circular, not square. The circular hole is the defrost drain line. Some models have a small cap on it.
Tip: If the drain line cap is frozen, use a warm washcloth to defrost the cap.
4. Grab a cup of hot water—boil it if you want—and use the turkey baster to pour a small amount of hot water into the drain line.
5. You should squeeze more hot water into the drain line every three to five minutes. This will give the previous dose of water enough time to melt the ice. Do this for at least an hour.
6. After an hour of dosing the drain line, pull the fridge out so you can reach the back.
7. In the back panel you’ll see a plastic bowl. That’s the drain bowl. Water from the drain line ends up in that bowl and, over time, evaporates. Pull the bowl out and check for any water and or debris. If you see either, then you’ve completed the job successfully.
Explanations for a Water Dripping into your Fridge
If you found that your defrost drain line was perfectly fine or water is still dripping into the fridge, it’s time to look at your fridge as a whole. It’s possible heat is seeping into your fridge and causing condensation to appear on the inside. Here’s a quick list of what you could be dealing with:
Door Gasket Needs to be Replaced
Running along the edge of the doors, both the freezer and fridge, there’s a rubber-like lining called the gasket. It creates a seal when you close the refrigerator door, preventing hot air from coming in and the cold air from escaping.
When the gasket doesn’t seal right, naturally, hot air has a way of entering the fridge and causing all kinds of condensation. This can be because of a broken or dirty gasket. Something as simple as food particles (even mold) can freeze over, forming ice crystals, and break the seal the gasket is attempting to create.
1. Examine the gasket for any damage. You’re looking for damage of any kind. If you find any, like a tear or crack, replace the gasket immediately.
2. Combine warm, soapy water with a washcloth.
3. Wipe the gasket down and dry it with a towel. It’s important that you dry the gasket or else the water that’s left behind can create ice crystals.
Check the Temperature Dials
Did you set your freezer temperature too hot or perhaps too cold? It’s possible a really low temperature is what contributed to the defrost drain line freezing. You may have bumped it by accident or tiny hands were messing with it. At any rate, check the temperature control dial.
Examine the Ice Maker
Is there perhaps a leak with your ice maker? Since the ice maker first needs water added to it before ice is made, it’s possible there’s a leak somewhere.
1. Remove the ice maker and rinse it out. Use hot water to break up the ice, clean it out, then dry it thoroughly.
2. Place the ice maker back into your freezer and start a cycle. Check up on it every five minutes or so, looking for leaks.
In the event that leaks are found, then replace the ice maker, preferably after you’ve examined the defrost drain line for any blockages.
You Need to Know This About Your Freezer!
If you’re noticing problems with your freezer, you need to know what’s causing the issue and if you’ll need to get the freezer repaired or replaced. Having a working freezer is crucial for any home, and fixing it is just one form of home improvement, but there are many more.
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As you can see, there’s very little to panic about if water from your freezer is dripping into the fridge. It’s almost always the cause of a frozen defrost drain line. However, it’s always advantageous to be thorough and rule out other possibilities after the fact—especially if the puddle of water in the fridge decides to graduate to a puddle of water on your floor. Then it’s time to panic.