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Water Dripping into Freezer Compartment on Whirlpool Refrigerator ET1CHMXKT04

Posted by Russell Wright on January 4, 2014

Do you have water dripping into your freezer causing ice buildup in your Whirlpool refrigerator?  This is a common problem that can be easily rectified.

Assuming you don’t have water simply running into the freezer compartment from the ice maker, this issue is usually caused by the defrost drain becoming clogged and icing up.  If you aren’t familiar with how a frostless refrigerator works, a defrost timer turns on a heating element (the long, black thing in the picture) on a periodic basis to melt the ice that forms on the coils of the evaporator.  The water drips into the stainless trough and down the drain hole and tube into the drip pan at the bottom of the fridge.  The water in the drip pan evaporates due to the heat of the condenser and the fan below.  But, what would cause this problem in the first place, you ask? 

Well, if the refrigerator is tilted too far forward, it is possible the water dripping off the evaporator during the defrost cycle is running into the freezer compartment (which can be fixed by adjusting the feet on the front of the fridge), but it is more likely the problem is caused by some bit of food or debris entering the drain, starting a clog and then beginning the vicious ice cycle.  Fixing this problem takes a little time, but it’s pretty straightforward.

Empty the freezer and take out the wire shelf by tilting to one side or the other and lifting it out of the way.

Then, remove the ice maker.  While I don’t have a picture of this, there are usually 3 screws that have to be loosened or removed, two on top and one on bottom.  Many times the top one or two screws don’t have to be completely removed, just loosened enough to lift up on the icemaker and unhook it from the screws.  Once you detach the icemaker, there is a single connector that you must disconnect so it can be extricated from the freezer. 

After the icemaker, you’ll notice two screws that hold the back in place.  These need to be removed and then, depending upon your current ice buildup, you will probably need to use a hair dryer to melt the ice so you can completely remove the back of the freezer.  When you do, what you should see is the evaporator and fan, as seen in the picture.

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Offset, over to the right is the drain hole in question.  Using the hair dryer, take your time and melt the ice (it’s probably easier and safer if you unplug the fridge).  I used a shop vac to vacuum up the water from melting the ice along the way.  At some point, you should be able to heat up some water to the boiling point and pour it down the drain hole.  This should clear the drain tube and the water should be running into the drip pan at the bottom of the refrigerator.  If you use a flashlight and peek under the fridge, you should be able to see it running into the pan (hopefully you HAVE a pan!).

If you remove the cardboard back off the fridge, you should see the tube and be able to access it with your shop vac.  Looking into the pan, I noticed the "crap" that ended up in it…it appeared to be pieces of chicken and other food products.  I vacuumed the water out of the drip pan and then used the shop vac to pull a suction on the tube, using my hands to seal the interface.  Then I ran some more super hot water down the drain a few more times.  Here is the final result. 

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After getting it all cleaned out, it’s time to put it all back together.  Put the back on, install the icemaker and insure the correct tilt of the fridge by making sure the door closes on its own when you release it.

My advice to you is to keep your freezer clean and be aware of any "accidents" that occur that may unknowingly initiate the process again in the future.

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