How to unclog a refrigerator drain

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Most of us are so used to our refrigerators that we cannot imagine surviving a single day without it. Have you ever wondered how to unclog a refrigerator drain tube? Most of us would rather leave it to the experts. However, if you don’t have a help at hand, you will need to fix basic things yourself. A refrigerator continues its condensation process each time you put food or drinks inside to cool. It also works the same way even you open the door of the refrigerator. This is because you are letting in hot air whenever you open the door. Condensation may also leak out of the freezer and eventually drain out of the fridge into a pan at the bottom.

The water collected at the bottom evaporates after a while. But if the water does not evaporate, the water will start accumulating inside. The main reason for this is because the drain may be clogged and cannot let the water pass through. To avoid moisture accumulating in the fridge, simply follow a few steps to unclog your refrigerator drain. This will not take too much time and you can get everything in working order sooner than you think. It is advisable to clean the refrigerator drain tube from time to time and avoid such blockages.

● Signs that your refrigerator drain needs cleaning

If you observe your refrigerator and find any the following, it means that your refrigerator drain needs a good cleaning.

  • Water in the fridge and under it.
  • Too much ice on the base of the freezer.
  • The fridge isn’t defrosting, causing leakages.

Cleaning does not take a lot of time, and if you do make cleaning the drain a regular practice, it will not give you any trouble.

● Getting acquainted with your refrigerator

If you’re not familiar with the refrigerator, the product manual can help you. The drain may be positioned differently depending on the refrigerator model you have. Look for your refrigerator brand and get information about how to access the drain. Usually, the drain is positioned directly under the freezer coils. Some refrigerators are equipped with drain heaters. Drain heaters prevent the water in the drain pan from re-freezing and clogging the defrost-drain. If your drain heater is defective or is not in the proper position, the defrost-drain might freeze over.

● Access the refrigerator drain

– A drain strap is a metal attachment that joins the defrost-heater leading to the defrost-drain. If there is excessive ice gathered in the freezer, the defrost-heater is turned on. This will melt away any ice that is gathered near the defrost-drain and below it. It prevents excessive formation of ice and keeps things working smoothly.

– Side-By-Side

In side-by-side refrigerators you can get access to the refrigerator drain easily without using any tools. All you need to do is open the freezer and look down to see the drain. If the drain is not accessible, turn off the power to the refrigerator and remove the cover of the evaporator at the back of the freezer. You will then get access to the drain.

– Bottom-Freezers

It can be difficult to gain access to the refrigerator drain on bottom-freezers depending on the model. Some models have a drawer type door on the freezer. For these, you have to remove the door to gain access the drain. Remove the evaporator cover after you remove the door. Once you remove the cover in back of freezer, you will be able to locate the drain under the coils. Do not forget to turn off the power switch before you do anything.

– Top freezers

There are different types of top freezers, some of which have drains positioned quite differently from each other. Before you attempt to unclog the drain, make sure you have sufficient knowledge about the mechanism. This will help you save time. Top freezers made after 2000 are made with drains that go along the refrigerator liner. You can only get access to the drain only through the freezer. If you have an older model, the drain will come out of the refrigerator halfway down, at the back side.

If the refrigerator drain comes at the back, halfway down, look for the drain trap. Most of the time you will find the main blockages here. In such cases, try flushing out the blockage with a water spray. This will dislodge the clog and restore the drain to normal functioning. Some other models may have a drain cup placed inside the fresh food section. If this cup gets clogged with foodstuff or minerals, it may lead to clogging of the refrigerator drain.

If your top freezer doesn’t have a drain coming out of the back, the only way you can assess the drain is from the freezer. The process is the same. Remove the cover of the evaporator from the back of the freezer. Once you remove the cover from the evaporator, you will be able to see the drain. It is usually located under the evaporator.

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● What you need?

You will need only basic stuff like plastic pipes, some hot water, and baking soda. Keep a container and a piece of cloth handy. You can use chemical cleaners if you want to. They are available at any department store. Be aware that chemicals can be quite harmful. Use a pair of gloves while you are using them to be on the safe side.

● Where to start?

First things first. Turn off the refrigerator and pull off the plug from the socket. You may use a circuit breaker if you decide against unplugging the refrigerator. Open the refrigerator and try to locate the refrigerator drain hole. If you still can’t locate it, try going through the user’s manual for more details. Remove all objects that from the bottom shelf and the drawers. The drain in most refrigerator models is located under the vegetable trays, and it is very easy to find. The cause of the blockage is usually foodstuffs that can be removed from the drain. Sometimes there can be some mineral or matter build-up inside that needs more intensive cleaning. Hot water is ideally used to clear out greasy blockages. Pour hot water into the refrigerator drain hole, after keeping the drip pan in place, and empty the pan when you’re done.

● How to handle tough blockages?

If the hot water alone doesn’t do the trick, try using baking soda to clean up any food residue that might be causing the blockage. You don’t have to buy expensive chemicals to clean the drain. Use baking powder and flush with hot water after a few minutes. Repeat the cycle 2-3 times to get the blockage cleaned out. Remember that refrigerator drains can get clogged often. If you spend a few minutes to regularly clean them, they won’t give you any trouble. By cleaning the drain periodically you can prevent it from clogging.

● Step-by-step guide to clear tough blockages

  1. Insert a flexible tube into the drain and press until it reaches the other end.
  2. Pour a mixture of chlorine and water into the drain.
  3. Empty the drain pan completely and replace the tray.
  4. Repeat the second and third step till the water in the drain pan is clear.
  5. When the water in the pan runs clear, replace the pan and the grill.

Replace all the stuff inside and turn on the refrigerator.

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