Why are there water puddles forming in front of my refrigerator?

Kenmore Elite Refrigerator with Bottom Freezer . Model 596 76252702. Water puddles have appeared on floor at front corners of fridge 3 times past 2 months. Twice on right; once on left. Built-in cabinet surrounds fridge. To get to back of fridge must pull out of cabinet. What should I be looking for? What can I do to solve problem? Floor is a brand new cork floor. Would like to solve problem so that water doesn't pool under fridge and damage floor. Thanks much.

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expert
Barbara H.

It sounds like you have a beautiful kitchen and I can understand the need to get this problem fixed before it does cause damage. The expert will review and respond to your unique situation, but if you would like to check a similar expert post for this model I attached the link below. If you feel some help is needed to access the fridge due to the cabinet and make sure everything on the fridge is checked out, another option would be to use the scheduler at Sears Home Services to have a technician visit. I attached the links below. Hope this helps.

http://www.managemylife.com/mmh/questions/218129-bottom-freezer-kenmore-elite-refrigerator-leaking

http://www.searshomeservices.com/refrigerators-freezers/repair

Scott
expert
Scott D expert

I'm sorry you are having this problem. The information you have received from Barbara is very good. Excessive humidity in the area can create this type of problem. If the humidity is not excessive, check to see if the front of the cabinet around the doors is sweating. If so, it would indicate the hot tube kit inside the cabinet liner is not working. It may be too far back inside the cabinet and not allow the heat to transfer to the front, keeping it warm and preventing the condensation from occurring. Also check the door gaskets to make sure the seal is tight and there are no gaps. If you do notice a gap or some gaps, you can use a hair dryer on the gasket to smooth the gaps out. Just be careful not to get the gasket too hot. This can also be a drain problem. The drain may be overfilling or have a crack in the drain pan. To check the drain pan will require pulling the unit out, so the back panel cover can be removed. With cover removed, you will be able to see the drain pan under the compressor. If the drain pan is leaking, I recommend having a technician replace the pan. It's a very difficult job and will require lowering the complete base assembly. It's very easy to damage the refrigerant lines when lowering the bottom base assembly and this would be a major repair job. I hope this will help you. If you would like more assistance, any additional details will be helpful and I will be glad to assist you further.

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Nancy

Thanks for your suggestions. How do I access the evaporator drain line once the fridge is pulled out? What if the problem is that the drain line is clogged? Is that an easier fix than what you have described in terms of the drain pan? Is it possible to clean out the drain line using hot soapy water? If there were a leak in the drain pan, wouldn't there be a constant puddle of water? There was no sweating on the front of the cabinet around the doors. I appreciate your comments. I would like to know all of the possibilities before I call a technician.

Scott
expert
Scott D expert

Yes, the drain can be frozen but when this happens there will normally be a sheet of ice on the floor of the freezer. The water will drain on to the freezer floor and when it gets high enough, the water will leak out of the door and on to the floor. If you do notice a sheet of ice on the freezer floor, it will indicate the drain is frozen. To access the drain, you will need to remove everything in the freezer, so the back panel can be removed. Be sure to disconnect power to the unit first. The back panel will have some screws holding it in place. With the panel out, you will see the evaporator and directly under it, the drain trough. Remove the ice from the trough and you will see the drain hole. Use plain hot water to clear the drain hole. Keep pouring the hot water and wiping the excess, until the water runs down, to the bottom pan. If the drain pan was leaking, it's a good chance water would be constantly puddling, depending where the leak was on the pan. If you would like more assistance, any additional details will be helpful and I will be glad to assist your further.

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Nancy

The puddle appeared once more. FYI. This was not a constant leak; it had only occurred three/four times over the past two months. I called a technician. The technician came and determined that the ice maker was not leaking. He then took the inside back panel off of the bottom freezer and determined that the drain hole was frozen over. He used a special heat tool to melt the ice and clear the drain hole. Things appeared to be fixed. However, the next day there was an even larger puddle on the floor at the front of the fridge. I called and explained that the fix hadn't really worked. The technician came back again today, took the bottom panel off of the outside back of the fridge (as opposed to working from the front of the fridge inside the freezer compartment.) Once he had the back panel off, he determined that there were two cracks in the sides of plastic drain pan and that there was also a one inch by one and a half inch chunk of plastic broken out of the bottom off the drain pan. ............You stated in your response of May 2 the following, "If the drain pan is leaking, I recommend having a technician replace the pan. It's a very difficult job and will require lowering the complete base assembly. It's very easy to damage the refrigerant lines when lowering the bottom base assembly and this would be a major repair job." ..............My question is: What could have caused the plastic drain pan to have two cracks and a hole? Is this a common problem? The plastic drain pan does not touch the floor; there is a metal plate that is below the drain pan. You mention that is it is a very difficult job. How difficult is difficult? The fridge is perhaps three or four years old. The serial number is KY3380368. Any additional comments/suggestions will be appreciated. Thank you.

Scott
expert
Scott D expert

The drain pan cracking is not a common problem. There is no explanation as to why it cracked. It may have just been a couple of weak spots in the pan. The drain pan is under the compressor and the bottom base plate will need to be lowered. It's very easy to damage the refrigerant lines in this process and then it would involve a very costly job to repair these lines. I would strongly recommend having a technician make this repair. Now, if you can see and get to the cracks, in the pan, it may be able to be repaired without removing it. Unless the cracks are very large, usually some RTV will seal it but it has to remain dry for 24 hours to give the RTV time to get firm. RTV can be purchased at most any local hardware store or you can use # 8201711, which is available at the link listed below.

Scott
expert
Scott D expert

The drain pan cracking is not a common problem. There is no explanation as to why it cracked. It may have just been a couple of weak spots in the pan. The drain pan is under the compressor and the bottom base plate will need to be lowered. It's very easy to damage the refrigerant lines in this process and then it would involve a very costly job to repair these lines. I would strongly recommend having a technician make this repair. Now, if you can see and get to the cracks, in the pan, it may be able to be repaired without removing it. Unless the cracks are very large, usually some RTV will seal it but it has to remain dry for 24 hours to give the RTV time to get firm. RTV can be purchased at most any local hardware store or you can use # 8201711, which is available at the link listed below.

http://www.searspartsdirect.com

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Nancy

Thanks for your continued observations. You suggest that RTV can be used to seal the cracks and that it has to remain dry for 24 hours in order for it to get firm. Can the fridge be left on during those 24 hours or does the fridge have to be unplugged? If it is unplugged, will we have to wait for H20 to drain before beginning the RTV sealing? If so, how long would we have to wait. The fridge is currently pulled out of its cabinet and there have not been any more puddles. I would like to try the RTV seal before having someone attempt what you have described as a difficult job. Thanks again. Any additional tips/suggestions would be appreciated.

Scott
expert
Scott D expert

If the unit is pulled out now and the power disconnected, remove the back panel cover. With the cover off, you will now be able to see the compressor and under it, the drain pan (# 8 in picture). If there is water in it now, wipe out what you can and use a hair dryer to finish it. You can continue to use the hair dryer on the pan until it's dry but be sure not to get it too hot. If you can locate the crack, now use the RTV to seal it and leave the unit off for at least 24 hours to allow it time to dry. I hope this will help you.

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frank

We have a refrigerator that is leaking on floor also. We checked and ran hot water to make sure line line not iced or clogged. Still getting water. When took the back off refrig- the drain pan is bone dry but still refrig is leaking all over floor (which is now ruined) It almost seems that the drain is bypassing the drain pan- Is this possible and how can I check to see if this is happening? Is it something I can do without having a tech come?

Scott
expert
Scott D expert

Frank, if hot water was poured down the drain and it did drain into the pan, it would indicate the drain system is ok. Now, watch to see if the water leaks out of the pan. Pour some water down the evaporator coil to see how it runs off. Check to see if all of it runs into the drain trough under the coil or if some may be missing it and running behind it. In this case, water may be leaking from a seam in the liner. If the water all leaks into the trough and you don't see any water leaking anywhere, a technician will probably be needed. I hope this will help you. If you would like more assistance, please include the complete model and serial number.

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