Refrigerator/Freezer help!

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8/9/2019 8:48 AM

OK, all you appliance guys, hopefully you can help me with this one. I'm stumped!

I have an older (I'm guessing 10 years) Kenmore refrigerator with a built-in freezer. It's a side by side model; I don't know the number.
A year or two ago, my wife and I started noticing standing water on our kitchen floor. We eventually traced it back to the freezer, which had a pretty thick glacier of ice in the bottom. I figured it was buildup from the defrost cycle, so I busted it all up and swept out the ice (wow, that's a lot of ice,) and went about my business.
A few weeks later, we encountered the same thing. OK, now I'm thinking the water supply has a leak. I don't really care too much about the ice maker, so I turned the supply off and busted up the ice again. A few weeks later, same thing. Hmmm..... OK, maybe the water shutoff valve isn't working? Nope. I disconnected the hose and made sure the spigot wasn't leaking. Not a drop. Just for kicks, I left the tubing disconnected from the refrigerator. Now there is no possible way any water is getting inside that appliance. A few weeks later, and again I have a thick sheet of ice on the freezer floor. Was it just leftover water from the icemaker finally dripping out? Nope; it's been doing this regularly for at least a year now since I disconnected the water. There's nothing inside the freezer large enough to hold this volume of H2O.

Now here's where it gets really weird. There's still ice forming in the bottom of my freezer! It's clearly from when the freezer goes into defrost mode, because I can see the frozen rivulets coming down from behind the inside back panel where the freezer apparatus is. Ice melts, runs down, refreezes, etc. When there's enough, it melts on the defrost cycle and pours out the front of the freezer onto my kitchen floor. I just can't believe there's this much condensation in my freezer, though!!! This is happening about once every two weeks. There's no frost on the food or the shelving, no evidence of any spillage from anything, just a shit ton of ice in the freezer. We've been buying bags of ice and keeping them in the hopper but there's no evidence that the water is coming from there. I'm going to take all the ice out and keep it in our deep freezer instead to rule that one out anyway.

So where's the water coming from????
My glacier:
Photo


The broken ice:
Photo

Anyone need to fill a small swimming pool?
Photo

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Braaapin' aint easy.

8/9/2019 8:52 AM

PS- there is a catch basin you can see in the photos; it is the "upper tier" of the flat surfaces just underneath the vanity panel. There is a small rubber grommet in the bottom of that which is clearly a drain; that piece is frozen over. Is there a drain plug somewhere underneath that got plugged? Wouldn't this much water overwhelm the drain anyway? How is that stuff supposed to be purged from the freezer?

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Braaapin' aint easy.

8/9/2019 9:04 AM

I would say your defrost condensate drain is most likely plugged. I work in industrial refrigeration so I can't say my knowledge on this is too in depth but I just googled "defrost condensate freezer" and got a lot of hits with topics you might find useful: https://www.google.com/search?q=defrost+condensate+freezer&rlz=1C1AZAA_enUS742US742&oq=defrost+condensate+freezer&aqs=chrome..69i57.7408j0j8&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

Good luck and let us know what you find!

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8/9/2019 9:30 AM

On that little shelf should be a round hole, it's probably plugged with something that fell into it. I had the same problem. Clear out ice and take a hair dryer to melt any water in there then take something like a metal coat hanger and shove it down the hole. The water from defrost is supposed to run down it but it can't because it's blocked. I'd bet money that's the problem.

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We are the sum of a 1,000 lives. What we know is almost nothing at all.

8/9/2019 12:22 PM

Kenny Lingus wrote:

On that little shelf should be a round hole, it's probably plugged with something that fell into it. I had the same problem. Clear out ice and take a hair dryer to melt any water in there then take something like a metal coat hanger and shove it down the hole. The water from defrost is supposed to run down it but it can't because it's blocked. I'd bet money that's the problem.

Yes, that hole is clearly plugged, but won't all this water just run out that hole instead of the front door of the refrigerator? Where is it supposed to go? There's no drain under the fridge.

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Braaapin' aint easy.

8/9/2019 12:24 PM

ridinbeast932 wrote:

I would say your defrost condensate drain is most likely plugged. I work in industrial refrigeration so I can't say my knowledge on this is too in depth but I just googled "defrost condensate freezer" and got a lot of hits with topics you might find useful: https://www.google.com/search?q=defrost+condensate+freezer&rlz=1C1AZAA_enUS742US742&oq=defrost+condensate+freezer&aqs=chrome..69i57.7408j0j8&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

Good luck and let us know what you find!

Thanks, man, some of those look like good leads.

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Braaapin' aint easy.

8/9/2019 12:39 PM

Kenny Lingus wrote:

On that little shelf should be a round hole, it's probably plugged with something that fell into it. I had the same problem. Clear out ice and take a hair dryer to melt any water in there then take something like a metal coat hanger and shove it down the hole. The water from defrost is supposed to run down it but it can't because it's blocked. I'd bet money that's the problem.

Falcon wrote:

Yes, that hole is clearly plugged, but won't all this water just run out that hole instead of the front door of the refrigerator? Where is it supposed to go? There's no drain under the fridge.

From what I read in one of those links, the water goes to a drain pan where it evaporates either naturally or from the compressor heat. Can you physically see where the hole leads to or a drain pan anywhere?

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8/9/2019 1:02 PM

Kenny Lingus wrote:

On that little shelf should be a round hole, it's probably plugged with something that fell into it. I had the same problem. Clear out ice and take a hair dryer to melt any water in there then take something like a metal coat hanger and shove it down the hole. The water from defrost is supposed to run down it but it can't because it's blocked. I'd bet money that's the problem.

Falcon wrote:

Yes, that hole is clearly plugged, but won't all this water just run out that hole instead of the front door of the refrigerator? Where is it supposed to go? There's no drain under the fridge.

It goes to a tray underneath to evaporate. Mine had a blueberry stuck in it.

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We are the sum of a 1,000 lives. What we know is almost nothing at all.

8/11/2019 8:32 AM

Drain line frozen up or something stuck in the line. Careful on a heat gun or hair dryer, could melt something. I use hot water, sponge and several try’s till it’s open. Water/ice is from evaporator coil thawing during defrost cycle.

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8/14/2019 9:19 AM

OK, it was definitely a plugged drain. Yesterday the whole freezer was a glacier again... this was 5 days after I broke it up and posted about it. I'm still completely awed by the amount of water coming into the freezer from condensation. It's not even very humid here!!! Crazy.
Anyway, the drain was frozen solid. I melted it all out with hot water and made sure it flowed down to wherever. We'll see what happens now.

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Braaapin' aint easy.

8/14/2019 9:43 AM

Maybe a leak from an ice maker or water dispenser?

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8/14/2019 10:34 AM


If it's draining, which can be checked by pouring some water down the tube or into the tray, which should then show in the pan at the bottom of the unit, I'd look at 2 other things.

First, the defrost timer. Once ever 24 hours that thing shuts itself down and brings in a set of electric heaters that melt the ice in the freezer compartment. They usually stay in for about 20 minutes. Most of the time it's a white plastic thing,
in the bottom of the unit by the drain pan. It will have a plug with about 4 wires going to it. If you think it's that, and is a lot of the time, there will be a small slot that you can advance the timer with. Put a mark on the slot, and one on the body of the timer, both lined up. Check back in 2 hours. It should make one complete turn in 24 hrs. If the marks are still lined up the timer is bad. The heaters that the timer feeds sometime go bad, but not usually.

All that works, clean drain, good timer, good possibility freon leak.
If it's that trash it and get new.

Good luck guy.
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8/14/2019 10:44 AM


Photo
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8/14/2019 12:21 PM

2smokertillend wrote:

Maybe a leak from an ice maker or water dispenser?

I have disconnected the water line from the fridge. It hasn't been connected for some time now; no water is coming into the appliance.

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Braaapin' aint easy.

8/14/2019 1:02 PM

2smokertillend wrote:

Maybe a leak from an ice maker or water dispenser?

Falcon wrote:

I have disconnected the water line from the fridge. It hasn't been connected for some time now; no water is coming into the appliance.

Probably normal ice buildup. I had someone with cracked plastic ice cube trays before. Leaked during normal freezing cycle and froze drain up fast.

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8/16/2019 11:23 AM

2 days since I was able to clear the drain out and no new ice so far. Thanks for the help, guys!

I am absolutely dumbfounded by the amount of ice that forms from condensation. There was enough ice in the bottom of the freezer after 5 days that if melted would probably fill two large glasses of water.

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Braaapin' aint easy.

8/20/2019 5:44 PM

It appears to have been nothing more than condensation. I truly can't believe how much water we're talking about in that regard.

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Braaapin' aint easy.