How to fix ice buildup at bottom of your freezer?

How to fix ice buildup at bottom of your self defrosting freezer

Frozen drainage of self defrosting freezer
Frozen drainage of self defrosting freezer
Frozen drainage of self defrosting freezer

Few weeks ago I noticed ice buildup at bottom of my self-defrosting freezer, my freezer. It was nothing dramatic at first, but there were more and more ice over time, and I ended up having to clean it every few days

Ice puddle at bottom of freezer
Ice puddle at bottom of freezer
Ice puddle at bottom of freezer

As it happened during COVID-19 isolation, I couldn’t really call repair man, and given that it was out of warranty I decided to open it up and try to fix it myself.

WARNING: As always when you are dealing with electric appliances, you should make sure that they are un-plugged before opening them up. Always stay away from large capacitors which can retain electricity for very long time, and can have enough charge, to seriously injure or kill you. If unsure, or don’t know what you are doing, it’s better to be patient and called trained professional, rather than risk injury or permanently damaging appliance. In my case I didn’t really have much to lose as I was already out of warranty.

To begin with I started by opening up back panel.

Fridge back panel
Fridge back panel
Fridge back panel

Removing the panel revealed white evaporating tray on top of compressor. This is where water will go during the defrosting phase. Heat from the compressor will will warm up and evaporate the water.

Inside of the freezer’s back side
Inside of the freezer’s back side
Inside of the freezer’s back side

This also might be a good opportunity to clean up some of the dust especially around the fan but you should stay away of small pipes and make sure that you don’t damage them. Best would be not to touch them at all!

At top of the evaporating container there is small drainage pipe trough which water comes in and fills the container.

Drainage pipe
Drainage pipe
Drainage pipe

I squeezed the rubber pipe but the only thing that came out was dust, so that meant that drainage line is most definitely blocked somewhere.

Next thing to do was to remove from panel from freezer unit.

Freezer protective panel
Freezer protective panel
Freezer protective panel

I managed to crack plastics in few places, while removing it. I took a photo of connectors, just to remember where everything were, because I had to unplug them in order to remove the panel.

Freezer connections
Freezer connections
Freezer connections

And finally managed to reveal freezers insides.

Back-panel revealed something like rust, which corresponded to the dust I saw in evaporator tray.

Rust/dirt on back pannel
Rust/dirt on back pannel
Rust/dirt on back pannel

I try to clean it up, but it was not coming off, so I just wrapped it in aluminium foil, to prevent it from going to drainage in future.

Wrapped up back panel
Wrapped up back panel
Wrapped up back panel
Frozen drainage of self defrosting freezer
Frozen drainage of self defrosting freezer
Freezer insides

Bottom middle part is connected to the heater, which should prevent ice from forming in drainage, however significant amount of ice was clearely visible indicating that either header is bad, or drainage was blocked.

I used hair blower to melt the ice and remove it, and inserted strong wire into drainage from back side. That did the trick and water started coming out into the tray. I started pouring some hot water inside the freezer at mid section, just to make sure that there is no more dirt inside drainage.

Water in evaporator tray
Water in evaporator tray
Water in evaporator tray

Soon enough tray started filling with clear water and drainage is fully unblocked.

In order to ensure that drainage stays free of ice, I used a bit of copper wire and wrap one part around heater and inserted the other part inside of drainage. Copper is good heat conductor, and should help ensure free path for water to go out back to evaporator tray.

Copper wire around heater
Copper wire around heater
Copper wire around heater

With this, the only thing remaining is to put everything back together and make sure out freezer still works :)

Final thoughts

On further inspection, I’m not 100% sure that what I was dealing it is rust, it looks like like spices particles on closer inspection. It is possible that something got spilled and accumulated in drainage over time, eventually blocking it completely, but I cannot be sure.

My freezer model is Samsung RL58GRGIH, however this should really be applicable to any self defrosting freezer as basic principles of work should be exactly the same.

And at the end please do drop me a line in case this helped you fix your problem, or you get to find this guide useful.

IT professional with over 20 years of experience in the field with great passion for technology, space exploration and science fiction.

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