Any thoughts on why my KA fridge might be leaking?

smalloldhouseJune 9, 2014

We bought a KA fridge a year ago via Sears Outlet. In perfect condition and worked perfectly since it was installed then, other than the fact that our pre-reno kitchen had no water line to the fridge so we simply didn't use those features. We are near the end of a renovation that has involved moving the fridge across a galley and close to the main water lines, and so the guys installed a line to the fridge a week ago. Since then we have daily puddles on our (new) hardwoods and underneath our (new) cabinets. Oy! The contractors came by yesterday insisting that it must be the fridge and disconnecting the water line. But there was still more puddling today. There is no water inside the fridge itself but there is some accumulated ice at the bottom of the freezer.

I realize it's a ridiculous shot in the dark, but I wondered if the GW experts might have any ideas on what could have gone wrong here. It seemed to take a weirdly long time when they installed the line and they brushed me off at first when I told them about the puddling. They have goofed a few other things so I'm a little dubious that all of a sudden our perfectly functioning fridge has sprung a leak. If I have to bring in an appliance repair person, any education on what this could be would be helpful. Thanks so much!

Here is a link that might be useful: This is my fridge

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Gooster

Some other people have complained about similar problems. It could be a clogged drain pan (especially with ice in the bottom). I am no expert, but I saw someone mentioned this problem (and similar related ones). One potential cause is shown in the video .

Here is a link that might be useful: Video on One Cause

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 3:03PM
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smalloldhouse

Thanks so much for the suggestion! The contractor is trying to be helpful but is relying on his workers who say it can't be anything that they did. This sounds like reasonable possibility that we can at least investigate.

The worst part is that I had to travel this week for business so I'm halfway around the world, worrying about rot and mold in my overdue but finally almost finished new kitchen. Meanwhile my husband is trying to manage regular life & work with 2 crazy kids solo in a house still in disarray from the ongoing work.

@gooster, I bought a banquette based on the inspiration of your beautiful kitchen reveal, so perhaps you are my kitchen's guardian's angel! Thanks for pointing us to a potential cause!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 4:00PM
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apalmieri

I had same thing. The repair man said it was a clogged drain line. I don't really know what he meant, but he said he notched the drain line and it would not happen again. He said it was a "known issue" on Whirlpool company refrigerators. It warped the wood base of my brand new cabinets.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 10:32PM
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Gooster

smalloldhouse: I was tipped off by another thread talking about leaking on this family of fridges (I have the Viking version), and I filed it away mentally, just in case. I hope the banquette works out OK for you!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 12:21AM
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sas95

Sounds like the clogged drain line issue we recently had with our KA. Easily fixed by the repair man, but we were warned it might recur every few years. The accumulated ice at freezer bottom is the tip-off.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 6:42AM
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barryv_gw

My guess is clogged drain line as well. In an auto defrost fridge and freezer ( most are that way these days) the fridge goes through a cycle that takes the moisture from inside the compartments, drains them through a drain tube into a pan, typically on the bottom of the fridge, and then a fan comes on and blows air over the standing water to evaporate it. For the OP, the drain was probably slightly clogged, the contractor unplugged the fridge to move it and it may have been unplugged a while, so when it was plugged in, it had a bit more moisture to channel through the drain lines, but since it was plugged in, the freezer came back on and froze some of the moisture in the drain into ice, from then on, the drain was plugged, and each time it went through the defrost cycle, more water was dumped on the floor. We did something similar by not fully closing the freezer door for a while- it allowed a ton of moisture from the defrosting ice to clog the drain.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 7:24AM
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Debbi Branka

Same fridge as my JennAir. Did the same thing. Known Whirlpool issue. My husband took it apart and fixed it. I can ask him exactly what he did if you want. Email me if you need any info. It's been perfect ever since.

By the way, it leaked on my hardwood floor, which cupped a bit, but after 3-6 months, it dries out and is perfectly flat again. (It took me awhile to figure out that it was the fridge leaking, as the dogs' water bowl is right next to the fridge, and I kept thinking that the dogs were spilling their water!)

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 9:43AM
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jellytoast

If this is a DIY task, can someone post the procedure for cleaning the drain line? I think many of us here have some version of this refrigerator.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 5:32PM
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sas95

We looked at this video when we had the problem, that convinced us that it was beyond the scope of what we non-DYIers were willing to do. The repair cost us around $60.

But when I was looking for the video this morning, I also noticed that there is an updated fix that involves a new part you can install. The video for that is here .

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 9:45AM
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jellytoast

Thanks, sas95. That looks simple enough. Does anyone know when they started using this new updated drain pipe on refrigerators? Do newer refrigerators come with this part already on them?

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 12:03PM
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smalloldhouse

Just an update: our contractor arranged for a KA certified repairman to come today. As you all suspected, it was a clogged drain line. The repair guy said it was better to remove the gasket rather than notch it - he said it's a tight space and is near the compressor, so it tends to get plugged up from the heat and pressure. He said he's done this at least 100 times, on all models of bottom freezer refrigerators.

My contractor was very anxious to confirm it wasn't his fault. This all began after they installed the water line, so I was afraid there had been some mistake. It probably wasn't totally unrelated, since they kept the fridge in the kitchen throughout the demo but unplugged it repeatedly to move itmultiple times, frame it, and also to do a heavy up at the outset of the project. But it wasn't their error, clearly.

This being a high cost area, I paid $145 for the fix, but truthfully I'm glad it wasn't more! (not long ago a clogged washer drain wound up costing $1k just for the plumber - I'm pretty sure we were fleeced on that one!) Thanks so much to all of you for pointing me in the right direction!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 8:24PM
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barryv_gw

Thanks for the followup, and glad you had a standup contractor. We often feel that somebody did something wrong , it was working perfectly before they got there, and instead it was probably the proverbial straw that broke the camels back. It was slightly clogged, and unplugging it a few times and plugging it back in was just enough to set it over the edge.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 9:21AM
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