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built1950, Handyman
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Westinghouse Fridge Model RP423T-P is leeking water from within

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Westinghouse Fridge Model RP423T-P is leeking water from within the food compartment. The open tank in the rear of the fridge is bone dry. Is this likely to be a blocked drain or a defrost problem or something else. Your asistance would be greatly appreciated.
Hi ya Phil,

Yes, this is usually a blocked drain or a defrost problem.

Self-defrosting refrigerators dispose of the water generated during the defrost cycle, usually via a tube or channel that directs the water to a pan at the bottom of the refrigerator. From the pan, the water normally evaporates.

If the tube or channel is clogged or obstructed, the water backs up and leaks into the inside of the refrigerator compartment. Then the water builds up at the bottom, inside of the refrigerator. When the water has built up for a time it may spill out of the front of the door opening. To fix this problem, clear the drain tube or channel and allow the defrost water to flow down to the drain pan.

Blocked Defrost Drain

YOur problem is going to be a blocked defrost darin at the rear of the freezer, you will need to unclog this drain by defrosting it completely.

Here's a little trick I've used for over 10 years now, and it's saved countless return trips on refrigerator jobs.

One of the most common problems I see with frost-free refrigerators is drain freeze up. This is usually caused by the defrost drain clogging, then freezing. On older units, it can also happen when the insulation around the drain gets 'waterlogged', as it usually does over the years, and no longer keeps the drain above freezing temperatures.

The first symptom, at least in top-mounts, is water under the crisper drawers, on the floor of the refrigerator section.

Before I found this little trick, this was a frustrating problem that was hard to keep from recurring.

Now I keep a handful of 'drain heat exchangers' in the truck, and use a dozen or two most summers, when humidity is highest and refrig. drains have to handle the most water.

These are easy to make. Just cut a piece of #12 copper wire (strip from regular 12-2WG 'Romex' household wiring ) about 6 inches long and bend it around a 1/4 inch round rod. A screwdriver shaft works well for this, but any 1/4 inch dia. piece of metal will do. They look like this.

View Full Image

Now when your refrig drain clogs and you find the trough under the evaporator full of ice, here's what you do. Clear the ice, open the drain

and hang this little piece of copper on the defrost heater, so it extends down the drain. On most units, this is a black rod under the evaporator coil.

This heater is responsible for melting all that frost that we don't have to deal with since the advent of Frost-free units, and it glows a dull red during the defrost cycle, so there's plenty of excess heat for our purpose.

Anyway, since copper's such a good conductor of heat, some of the defrost heater's energy will transfer down the copper wire, into the drain, and keep it open. What I like to call 'stupidly simple', this uses no extra electricity and works very well!

One precaution: hang this piece of copper *loosely* over the defrost heater. Don't squeeze or crimp it on, or you risk damaging the heater.

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