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LG Refrigerator - Water on Kitchen Floor Caused by Frozen Drain Tube

Blackbeered

Premium Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2015
Messages
6
Location
United States
Model Number
LRFD25850
Brand
LG
Age
6-10 years
Since purchased in 2006, I repeatedly get water leaking onto my kitchen floor at 6-mo intervals.

Here's the 'chain-of-events': [1] the evaporator and defrost heater are working fine; [2] the condensate tray beneath defrost heater collects water and conveys to drain; [3] condensate drains thru drain and drain tube into condensate tray adjacent to condenser at base of refrigerator; [4] gradually, the draining condensate freezes and the water backs up in the condensate tray; [5] as unit continues to run thru its defrost cycles normally, condensate overflows the 'iceberg' that's formed in the condensate tray and spills onto the floor of the freezer compartment; [6] when the iceberg on the bottom of the freezer compartment grows large enough, the condensate water spills out the bottom of the freezer door onto the kitchen floor.

There are dozens of YouTube videos on how to disassemble the refrigerator to thaw out the ice ... but there are no references anywhere I could find on how to prevent the water [standing?] in the drain tube from freezing in the first place. I do see that Whirlpool models had a similar issue and they redesigned the drain tube [it's now a P-tube, which you can buy and switch over to]. LG hasn't. There's also reference to "after-market" drain tube heaters, but I can't them.

I called LG and asked if they had a solution. They said they didn't; the only "fix" was to empty the freezer every 3 months and remove [defrost] the ice build-up at the bottom of the freezer before it's large enough to cause water overflow!

And I was told "we don't recommend after-market drain tube heaters."

Judging my the thousands of comments about this on the internet, I am surprised there hasn't been a class-action lawsuit.
 

wildimaginations

Appliance Tech
Joined
Jun 13, 2011
Messages
632
Location
Danville, California
Make sure to check the drain tube behind the refrigerator. Sometimes, food particles get stuck at the drain tube flap causing the drains to plug up frequently.

The reason the defrost drain freezes up is because food particles get pushed towards the back in the refrigerator and falls through the return air vent which leads it down into the freezer evaporator. The food particles then fall down towards the defrost drain tube and clog it up so water ends sitting in the tube till it freezes.

This is considered operator error.
 

Blackbeered

Premium Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2015
Messages
6
Location
United States
So Clean You Could Eat Off It

Appreciate the stab but, in the half dozen times I've torn the fridge apart and a dozen times I've removed the drain tube, never once have I found anything ... not even slime, in the upper defrost condensate tray, drain hole, drain tube, or gland at the bottom of the drain tube.
 

Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
Staff member
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
114,665
Location
McMullen Valley, Arizona
I'm attaching your service manual below.

Jake
 

Attachments

  • LRFD25850xx LG 25 cu. ft. French Door Refrigerator Service Manual.pdf
    2.6 MB · Views: 3,697

Blackbeered

Premium Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2015
Messages
6
Location
United States
Thanks, Jake. Just finished thawing it out and putting it all back together again. [Before closing up, checked the drain hole/ drain tube ... everything I poured into the drain, came out the underside ... oz for oz.]

The first six years I had this cretin [2006-2011], never had the issue. It's occurred every 4-6 months since then.

Unless I get help from someone on these boards, I'm left with these options: [1] resign myself to proactively removing the ice in the bottom of the freezer compartment monthly to make room for new overflow water; [2] call as many technicians in my area as possible, asking if they have a solution which will prevent the drain from freezing [when I called LG this morning, they said they had no solution and did not recommend an after-market drain tube heater as was suggested by someone on-line]; [3] buy a new fridge [most likely Whirlpool as I see on YouTube they have engineered a solution for their models].
 

wildimaginations

Appliance Tech
Joined
Jun 13, 2011
Messages
632
Location
Danville, California
If everything is clear and the drain tube assembly is free of debris, then the only possible explanation is that the liner wall inside the freezer is filled with ice. It is so cold that no matter how much the defrost heater works, it will never melt the ice inside the liner. The liner leading down into the drain tube will freeze the melting ice with each defrost cycle and build it up to the point of filling the bottom of the freezer.

My recommendation is to wrap a length of 12 gauge bare wire around the defrost heater element on one end and lead the other end of the wire down into the defrost drain. Hopefully the heat from the defrost heater will heat up the wire leading into the drains to keep it clear.

I hope this helps.
 

Blackbeered

Premium Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2015
Messages
6
Location
United States
Wow, that's an interesting approach ...

I can't try it now since I've buttoned up the latest teardown. But I see a potential problem with your fix.

The drain in the tray doesn't run as a 'straight shot' down into the drain tube. As best as I can see and feel [there are no drawings on this], the water's path takes a jog.

So let me be clear. There appears to be about three inches from the drain hole above to the end of the nipple underneath [onto which the drain tube slips on in back]; if I probe the drain from above, I meet some "structure" about an inch down; if I come up from the bottom, I meet the same 'structure', about 1.5" up. I have no idea what this 'structure' is, or the geometry of the it; it's 'built in' and it's not anything loose. It seems like it's a 'built in S-curve'. I'm not able to snake even a small zip tie through that s-curve! Yet, as I wrote earlier, pouring cup after cup of water down the drain seems to show there's no flow obstruction now that it's defrosted.
 

wildimaginations

Appliance Tech
Joined
Jun 13, 2011
Messages
632
Location
Danville, California
All you can do is stick the copper wire down the drain hole as far as you can. That's about all you can do for now.
 

jmg5312

Premium Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2016
Messages
4
Location
PA
Blackbeered
Did you ever get this water problem fixed? I have a new Kenmore French door refrigerator made by LG. The drain tubes are wide open and I'm still having water run out of the upper refrigerator during a defrost cycle. Can't seem to pin point it. The "upper drain tube" has some sort of air trap built into it. I can't really tell if the air trap is working correctly or not. The moving parts seem to be moving fine. I'm really stuck with this one. No one seems to know whayt's going on with this
Joe
 

sinch

Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2017
Messages
1
Location
US
I a little late to this party, but I just found this forum. We bought our LG French Door in 2011. While still under warranty, we called a repair man about ice building up under the freezer drawer. He told us that there were bits of styrofoam in the drain, from packaging, and cleaned it out. Since then, it has continued to build up ice which we clean out about once a month or so. No longer under warranty. We are going to try defrosting it completely before we dump it. I don't want to pay for another repairman for something that is not my fault, especially if it is going to continue to be a problem. I am very disappointed that LG has been so uncooperative in this matter. I love my french door refrigerator and will buy another one, but it won't be an LG. Maybe a Samsung, since posters say they have made changes to correct this problem.
 
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