Friday, March 15, 2013

Clearing a Refrigerator's Defrost Drain

It is very common, especially in rental properties, for the condensate/defrost drain in the freezer compartment of a refrigerator to become clogged.  The result is water moving into the fridge compartment.  Yes, this looks like a leak but it is actually just melted frost going to the wrong place.

Here is a video of me cleaning a refrigerator defrost drain.  Pay special attention to the actual layout and construction of your unit.  Every fridge is different but the basic principal is the same.

Step by Step

  1. Clear out the fridge and freezer space so you can work and so that you don't damage food.
  2. Turn off or unplug the fridge and allow it to set with the doors open for an hour or two to defrost and warm up.
  3. Remove the back panel in your freezer and expose the cooling coils and drain pan.
  4. Use both warm water to melt ice and a pipe cleaner or compressed air to flush out the drain line.
  5. Access the lower drain catch pan by either removing the lower back panel behind the fridge or by removing the air grate in the front.
  6. Make sure the drain line is unobstructed and clean out the pan under the fridge.
  7. It's a good idea to clean the dust and lint off of the lower coils, compressor and fan at this point.  Compressed air works well.
  8. Test the drain with more warm water.  If it works, put everything back together. 


  1. While cleaning a refrigerator, to get those dust bunnies out from the under, remove the grill and run a yardstick covered with cloth underneath.

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