How to Fix a Refrigerator With a Drain Pan Overfilling
Dec 05, 2016
A necessary byproduct of modern frost-free refrigerators and freezers is water condensation. Condensation forms inside the unit and is drained away from the freezer and refrigerator compartments down to a drain pan situated on the bottom of the appliance. This water evaporates, aided by the waste heat from the condenser, evaporator and fan motor. When a refrigerator's drain pan overflows, there are a number of potential causes that may be to blame.
A clogged drain inside the freezer or refrigerator compartment can lead to water overflow. Empty the contents of the refrigerator and freezer, and wipe out the drain using a solution of warm water and soap. The drains typically are located in the back corners of the food compartments, and can become clogged by food debris or ice.
Frozen or Clogged Drain Line
The drain line, leading from the drain inside the food compartment to the drain pan, can become clogged as well. Food debris can be forced down into the line and cause a blockage, or water draining away from the food compartment can freeze and stop up the line. In either case, a warm solution of water and vinegar can be used to free up the line. Use a turkey baster to pour the solution down the drain inside the food compartments, and ensure the drain is clean and clear. A pipe cleaner can be used to clean out the first few inches of the line as well.
Check the Drain Pan for Damage
A cracked or split drain pan can lead to water leaks and floor damage. Unplug your refrigerator before attempting to service the pan. A refrigerator's drain pan is located on the bottom of the unit, near the floor. It typically can be accessed by removing the grill on the front of the refrigerator and sliding the pan forward. Clean the pan thoroughly and check for cracks or splits. A damaged pan has to be replaced by a replacement part sold by an authorized dealer for your particular brand of refrigerator.
Condenser Fan Issues
Ensure your refrigerator is unplugged before attempting any maintenance with the fan. The condenser fan is located near the drain pan and keeps air circulating under the refrigerator, allowing the water that accumulates in the pan to evaporate before the pan overflows. If the pan is filled with water, and the fan is not running, it has likely burned out. A replacement fan can be purchased through an authorized service center for your brand, and typically can be installed by the user following the instructions provided.