cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Blocked Fridge Drain

billnotben
Community Veteran
Posts: 7,252
Thanks: 1,775
Fixes: 2
Registered: ‎23-09-2010

Blocked Fridge Drain

Yes we have all been there. Probably dozens of times. Usually a bit of wire / tube shoved down the drain hole and it's clear. Or you can see the tubes around the back behind the heat exchanger so simple to pull off and clean.

But this fridge has me a bit flummoxed. Shoved a bit of wire / tube down the hole. Hard clonk about halfway. Shoved a bit of wire / tube up the hole. Hard clonk about halfway. It's like there's some sort of junction block joining two halves of the drain tube. Can't see nothing around the back. The heat exchangers are on the sides and the back has an insulating sheet stuck on it.

My best effort was push an aquarium tube down the hole, sealing it with my fingers, then blowing it until I go red in the face. Looking at the tissue I place over the evaporation tray it looks like my blowing managed the get a couple of drops through and that was it.

It's not a big issue as when it fills I shove the aquarium tube as far as it will go then drain it. And that lasts three to four days before it fills to the top again.

I've a feeling the only way is to rip the insulating sheet off but I don't really want to do that.

7 REPLIES 7
shutter
Community Veteran
Posts: 20,819
Thanks: 3,178
Fixes: 47
Registered: ‎06-11-2007

Re: Blocked Fridge Drain

@billnotben  The "blockage" may well be a fine filter in the pipe... !

I usually clean our fridge drain tube out with a tightly twisted up sheet of paper kitchen towel. twisted with a very thin pointy end.... then fed down the pipe, and twisted around and around... often comes out with a bit of black sludge on it... ! which was probably sitting on top of said filter !

 

Have you done a "google" and you tube search for this problem on  your particular make/type  fridge?

billnotben
Community Veteran
Posts: 7,252
Thanks: 1,775
Fixes: 2
Registered: ‎23-09-2010

Re: Blocked Fridge Drain


@shutter wrote:

Have you done a "google" and you tube search for this problem on  your particular make/type  fridge?


I tried that but it's a cheapo unbranded effort.

I'll give the paper sludge thing a try. I did try a few drops of the foamy sink drain cleaner down there.

billnotben
Community Veteran
Posts: 7,252
Thanks: 1,775
Fixes: 2
Registered: ‎23-09-2010

Re: Blocked Fridge Drain

Well for the last few times I've been pre-empting it overflowing and draining it every two or three days. As if I forget it's a nuisance to have to mop up a puddle.

Anyway today I push in the tube, it's a soft silicone one, and it keeps going in and in. I try blowing in it and I can. I pull out out one side of the fridge, just enough to put my hand behind, and sure enough I can feel the end of my tube poking out of the drain tube just above the evaporation tray.

The only thing I can think of is, the cockroach that set up home there got fed up with me poking a rubber tube at its ass every few days and decide to move out.

 

I still can think of what was really there. As I have said before when pushing a hard tube down there it stopped with a solid clonk. The soft tube got nowhere. Thick stiff copper wire stopped dead as well. I did entertain that it might be a frozen plug somehow behind all that insulation but as I did a good defrost in the middle of all that I ruled that out. That just leaves the cockroach.😀

RobPN
Hero
Posts: 3,742
Thanks: 1,666
Fixes: 5
Registered: ‎17-05-2013

Re: Blocked Fridge Drain

I had a similar problem a few years ago with the freezer section in a combination fridge/freezer.  Like you, I could poke a length of stiff wire partway (but not as much as halfway) through the drain hose from either end but it would be stopped by something solid.

I was first alerted to the problem due to food, notably bread, not being as frozen as it should be.

The freezer was is the frost-free type and a bit of research on t'internet gave me a rough idea of how the cycle was supposed to work.  It actually involves a heater switching on at some point during the cycle (possibly every 24 hrs) to defrost the freezer matrix at the top of that section, the melt water of which is captured in a built-in tray, and is then supposed to drain away down the tube to be caught in a container attached to the top of the compressor, whereby the heat from the compressor evaporates it back into the atmosphere.  As the water (if the ice was actually being melted) wasn't able to flow away, ice was building up in the tray and around the matrix, which prevented the freezer temperature being maintained.

The tray could not be removed, only lowered slightly at the front so I had great difficulty getting my hand in to poke the wire down (getting several cuts from the sharp aluminium fins in the process).  I didn't know if the heater was actually working because there seemed to be no access to any of the electrical connections without ripping the appliance apart, but I eventually established it was working by checking multiple times after listening to the various noises (clicks etc.) and pushing my fingers into the lowered tray and feeling for heat.

I suspected there was ice in the drain tube so let the freezer defrost overnight (with its door open) but the tube was still blocked, probably due to it running down through thick insulation, so had to leave it disconnected from the mains for quite a few hours longer before it finally cleared - even then I saved some time by dislodging bits of ice with the stiff wire.

 

In the meantime I'd found a tip on YouTube which involved introducing some heat into the drain tube to stop it freezing.  My method was to wrap some thick copper wire around the compressor (ISTR it was 10mm²), twist the two 'ends' together, and feed it up the tube until it reached the top opening, making sure to form a drip loop over the container on the compressor.

No problems since.

billnotben
Community Veteran
Posts: 7,252
Thanks: 1,775
Fixes: 2
Registered: ‎23-09-2010

Re: Blocked Fridge Drain

That's just it I could understand the ice bit on a freezer drain but mine is just a cheapo which I have to defrost manually every six months or so. The only frost free drain bit being just on the fridge with the usual drip gutter drain hole. Though it felt solid like ice in couldn't have been otherwise the drain would always block and never work.

I'm almost tempted to drag the fridge out a little more to see what's in the evaporation tray.

 

And once having typed that I had to look. Can't really see but running my finger in there it was a fair bit all slimy and gooey until my finger stirred it up. Obviously that lot had come down today and hadn't had time to evaporate yet. Maybe the few drops of dettol I dripped down the drain hole helped in breaking up some mystery lump.

 

RobPN
Hero
Posts: 3,742
Thanks: 1,666
Fixes: 5
Registered: ‎17-05-2013

Re: Blocked Fridge Drain


@billnotben wrote:

That's just it I could understand the ice bit on a freezer drain but mine is just a cheapo which I have to defrost manually every six months or so. The only frost free drain bit being just on the fridge with the usual drip gutter drain hole. Though it felt solid like ice in couldn't have been otherwise the drain would always block and never work.


If the fridge is above the freezer perhaps the drain tube passes close to the cold rear wall of the freezer?  Although that would seem to be an unlikely poor design feature.

billnotben
Community Veteran
Posts: 7,252
Thanks: 1,775
Fixes: 2
Registered: ‎23-09-2010

Re: Blocked Fridge Drain

As far as I can see there is a main insulating layer that the drain runs close to then a secondary insulating sheet over the entire back so it must be cool. If it was freezing every drip down that tube would freeze.

I suppose it will come down to whether the problem repeats itself. Then it could be some sort of insulation failing. If it generally keeps clear then it was just a freakish blockage.