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Discussion Starter #1
Many people probably already know about this, but I had to deal with it again today so thought I'd post it just in case it might help someone else.

Judging by Google and Youtube, many refrigerators of many different brands have this problem of water leaking into the refrigerator.

When the heater comes on for the automatic defrost of the cooling coils, the melting water runs down and into a drain hole under the coils which takes it to a pan for evaporation. The problem happens if this drain line freezes solid and the melted water has nowhere to drain so it runs down into the refrigerator section, and in severe cases, out onto the floor.

Our fridge is a Kenmore with top freezer (made by Whirlpool) so the first time this happened my wife thought the water line to the icemaker was leaking inside the fridge so she called a Sears serviceman. He knew exactly what the problem was when he arrived from seeing it many times, proceeded to remove the panels inside the freezer to expose the coils and the drain hole, and it was iced over and plugged solid. He used a heat gun and hot water to thaw the line, put the panels back on and charged us over $100 for the "repair".

And of course it happened again, in fact a couple of times, but now that I knew what the problem was I could take care of it myself. But it's aggravating to have this keep happening so I researched online trying to find a way to solve the problem permanently. Found that this is a very common problem and they do sell a kit that is supposed to fix it so I went ahead and ordered one to be ready for the next time I had to take it apart and thaw it out.

Whirlpool-819043-Heat-Probe

So today the drain froze up again. After thawing it this time I added this probe to see if it will solve the problem. It's a very simple fix if it works, just attaches to the defrost heater running below the coils with the probe going down into the drain hole to transfer some heat into it when it defrosts. All reviews I saw were good for it, and saw some comments from people saying they had done the same thing with a piece of copper wire. Time will tell whether or not it works for me.
 

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Great post!

It may be silly, but I enjoy appliance repair. So many things turn out to be simple fixes, and so many folks just replace them. Our microwave at the old house died once, 5 minutes with a meter and I found two blown thermal fuses. $8 fix.

Our two year old fridge at the old house died, again just a few minutes of work turned up a blown fuse soldered into the control board. New board was $180, so I unsoldered the factory fuse and soldered in two wire leads that I connected a standard fuse to. Had everything on hand, no cost fix.

Our fridge in this house died a few months ago, troubleshot and found a failed component on the main control board. New board was $120 on Amazon, GE sold it to me for $38. Replaced the fridge with a new one for other reasons, but fixed the old one and sold it for $175 in a day. Appliances really aren't that bad to diagnose and repair, and it sounds like you've got a good fix for your fridge. :good2:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Another thing to look for causing the plug is pieces of paper from cartoons plugging the drain hole X2 for me
Must be a different style fridge than mine, on mine you can't even see the drain hole until you remove the icemaker and the back and bottom panels in the freezer that are held in with screws. Nothing can get to it to block it with those panels in place.
 

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Oh man - I can't believe this! All this time (years now) we have water in the refrigrator section and I thought it was comdensation of some sort coming from somewhere. Now that I think of it, when I was cleaning the evaporator coils (? Under the fridge) it looked to me like the evaporator pan has never seen water in it.

So my freezer is defrosting and leaking into my fridge huh? Wow.....

OK - this makes perfect sense. Can anyone help with some nice detailed instructions to access this drain so I can check it out? I like to read instructions before I dig into something.

Thank you spferdil! Our members here are awesome!

Edit to add - never mind about the instructions - I found some good info already on-line for my Kelvinator.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Great post!

It may be silly, but I enjoy appliance repair. So many things turn out to be simple fixes, and so many folks just replace them. Our microwave at the old house died once, 5 minutes with a meter and I found two blown thermal fuses. $8 fix.

Our two year old fridge at the old house died, again just a few minutes of work turned up a blown fuse soldered into the control board. New board was $180, so I unsoldered the factory fuse and soldered in two wire leads that I connected a standard fuse to. Had everything on hand, no cost fix.

Our fridge in this house died a few months ago, troubleshot and found a failed component on the main control board. New board was $120 on Amazon, GE sold it to me for $38. Replaced the fridge with a new one for other reasons, but fixed the old one and sold it for $175 in a day. Appliances really aren't that bad to diagnose and repair, and it sounds like you've got a good fix for your fridge. :good2:
We think a lot alike, I've always like repairing about anything. Had to learn out of necessity in the early days, couldn't afford to replace anything. :laugh: But it has served me well, even made a good living at it for several years.

I've got 3 Sears garage door openers that I put up in my garage when I built it around 1985 and they are all still going. I've had to replace the plastic gears in them several times, some control boards, at least 1 motor, etc., but I like these openers better than the new ones now so I plan to keep them going as long as possible. I had to put 3 of the new type in my shop building when I built it a few years ago and they pale in comparison.

A year or so ago I had a Mighty Mule automatic gate opener die. I knew it was something minor but the company wouldn't provide any schematics or individual parts, just a complete circuit board they quoted at nearly $200. I finally traced the problem down to a miniature relay on the board, found the exact relay in Mouser catalog for $4. Ordered that relay and replaced it, been working fine ever since.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Oh man - I can't believe this! All this time (years now) we have water in the refrigrator section and I thought it was comdensation of some sort coming from somewhere. Now that I think of it, when I was cleaning the evaporator coils (? Under the fridge) it looked to me like the evaporator pan has never seen water in it.

So my freezer is defrosting and leaking into my fridge huh? Wow.....

OK - this makes perfect sense. Can anyone help with some nice detailed instructions to access this drain so I can check it out? I like to read instructions before I dig into something.

Thank you spferdil! Our members here are awesome!

Edit to add - never mind about the instructions - I found some good info already on-line for my Kelvinator.
Coaltrain, there are lots of Youtube videos showing how to fix this, you might find a video of your exact model there.
 

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Coaltrain, there are lots of Youtube videos showing how to fix this, you might find a video of your exact model there.
I did find some - I edited my post above after the fact.

This is something I need to learn - appliance repair. Thankfully there is usually good information on-line including youtube. While so much of youtube is just ridiculous there are a lot of good videos on stuff like this.

I've always been afraid to tear into things like appliances blind - I don't have a mechanical background. But with proper instruction I can do it. Very satisfying to be able to repair something for a few bucks especially when you can't afford to replace it. There is also a great deal of satisfaction to this. There is no such thing as an appliance repair service around here so I need to do it myself.
 
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