Mailbag: Clearing a Plugged Condensate Drain Tube in a Refrigerator

tim wrote:

Can you recommend a good way to unclog the drain line for an automatic defrost system on a Kenmore fridge? The water collects in the little white plastic drip tray under the hole in the freezer bottom but won’t go down the black rubber tube that the tray plugs into. Thanks and your site is awesome!

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Message sent from IP:

Good question! Yes, clearing these plugs can be tricky and sometimes requires the application of a carefully selected African Engineering Technology (AET). I’ll share some of the AETs that I’ve found to be most helpful.

First thing to do is gain access to the condensate drip cup. On your Whirlpool-built fridge, it looks like this. As you can see, the cup itself pulls right out. Sometimes you’ll find ice built up in there, sometimes dark grey slimy gookus that moves if you poke it…scary stuff! Either way, clean the drip cup out in the sink.

Then, you may need to clear the drain tube that the drip cup plugs into. If there’s ice in there, you may be able to carefully poke through it using a chop stick or thin blade screwdriver. Be careful not to damage the tube. If it’s just more gookus built up in there, I like to use a length of 1/4″ nylon tubing to push it through and then flush with hot water.

On some refrigerators, you can’t remove the drip cup in order to clear an extensive ice plug. What’s a grasshopper to do? Just add salt! Works great on the icy winter roads up here in yankee land and it does a good job at melting ice plugs in refrigerator condensate drain tubes, too. Argh!


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