Appliantology Newsletter, May 2011: The Case of the Leaking Refrigerator
Greetings and Permutations to all my fellow Appliantologists!
This month, the Samurai brings you glad tidings for a refrigerator problem that lots of folks are having this time of year: water leaking out of the refrigerator.
The good news is that this is easy to repair and usually requires no parts.
The bad news is... well, there is no bad news!
The cause is what we professional Appliantologists call a "plugged condensate drain."
I hear you; at this moment you're wondering to yourself, "What, o besotted Samurai, is a condensate drain and in what unspeakable manner does it become plugged."
Good question and Im'ma splain it to you.
Y'see, Hoss, there's this coil inside your freezer compartment that gets real cold and that's where all your cold air for the entire box is made. This coil normally runs at a temperature of about -15F. That's enough to give anyone a pointy chest! The fan inside the freezer pulls air across those chilly coils and cools it down to about 0F.
Well, it don't take a nucular fizzisist, like yours kinda truly, to know that at that temperature, water vapor will freeze into white fuzzy ice on that thang faster than fried on rice in a hot wok. After a short while, that frost can build up so thick that the air is no longer contacting the coils but is flowing over the fuzzy ice instead, which is at a considerably higher temperature than -15F.
Okay, enough theory. Periodically, the refrigerator has to defrost that coil in the freezer. When it does this, all that frost is melted into water that we professional Appliantologists called "condensate," which then runs into a trough with a drain hole underneath the coil and then on down to the condensate drain pan down by the compressor, where it evaporates.
Pop quiz: Where does all that melted condensate go if the drain hole in the trough happens to be plugged?
Answer: Out onto your floor!
To fix this, you have to remove that back wall inside the freezer and clear the trough and drain. Don't be surprised if you find a slab of ice there. Or there may be an ice plug extending down the condensate drain hole. You just need to patiently work at it with hot salt water. The salt helps melt the ice faster, but be careful not to get the salt water on the coil because it could cause corrosion. If you're not comfortable using salt, just use plain hot water and add a little more patience.
If you need help taking your fridge apart so you can get at this stuff, come to the Samurai School of Appliantology <http://appliantology.org> and start a new topic in the Kitchen Forum. We can post diagrams and instructions that'll show you how to get to the condensate drain and get 'er done. In fact, we can help you fix any of your appliances that are givin' you some trouble.
And if you need appliance parts, get 'em thru the parts search box at the top of the page there at the Samurai School. There's a one year warranty on all parts ordered thru the site so, if you order a part and it doesn't fix it, return it for a refund-- even special order or electrical parts that you already installed! It's the deal of a lifetime!
Samurai Appliance Repair Man
The Samurai School of Appliantology