How to Repair a Top-Freezer Refrigerator That Ices Up


If you've discovered puddles of water in your refrigerator or dripping from the freezer compartment, your refrigerator likely has a plugged defrost tube. Normally, the defrost cycle in your freezer thaws any frozen condensation, allowing it to drain down the tube to the tray under your refrigerator. If too much ice builds up, water can freeze in the tube, causing a plug that prevents proper draining. Instead, the water finds its way into the refrigerator. Fixing the problem isn't too complicated -- it's just a little time-consuming.

Things You'll Need

  • Portable coolers
  • Bags of ice or dry ice
  • Screwdriver
  • Turn off the ice maker, if your refrigerator has one, or the water supply to make sure the freezing water isn't caused by a faulty ice maker.

  • Put bags of ice or dry ice in your portable coolers. Unplug the refrigerator. Clean out the freezer and refrigerator compartments. Place the frozen and refrigerated foods in the coolers to keep them from spoiling.

  • Remove the back panel cover in the freezer compartment, using a screwdriver. If necessary, remove the freezer's floor panel with a screwdriver.

  • Keep the freezer door open to let the ice on the floor of the freezer melt as much as possible. Remove water with a sponge and carefully lift ice chunks so you don't damage the appliance. The Family Handyman recommends melting the ice with a hair dryer.

  • Find the small drain hole in the back of the freezer. Clear away any food particles. Pour small amounts of hot water down the drain hole until the water flows freely. You'll hear it running down to the drain pan under the refrigerator. The Family Handyman recommends blowing air down the tube with a tire pump to clear it.

  • Reinstall the floor and back covers. Turn the refrigerator back on. Restock the refrigerator and freezer with the items in your portable coolers.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use extra care when operating a hair dryer around the wet environment of the thawing freezer.

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