Renter reports water on the floor from fridge. It seems silly to buy a new fridge if the only issue is the condensate processing is needs correction, however, this is the second incident on the same fridge.

I inspected the fridge yesterday. The plastic evaporator pan was full of water. Renter indicated it had overflowed once last week.

  1. What is the most common reason why the evaporator pan is full and overflowing?
  2. Is there a clever method to determine why is the water not evaporating?

The freezer works fine. The fridge occasionally freezes items (an onion, watermelon) but does work. Does occasional freezing indicate an issue? or is this as simples dialing down the cooling setting?

Clogged Condensate Drain?

I noticed the fridge and freezer were very dirty. I read that a clogged drain (from food or debris) in fridge/freezer compartment can lead to water overflow. The entire fridge/freezer should be emptied and cleaned, and drain should be wiped out. A warm solution of water and vinegar can be poured in the line. Also can use a pipe cleaner.

  • If the evaporator pan is full can one conclude that the drain lines are not clogged and not the problem?

  • Are there any other questions that I should be answered to diagnose root cause of problem?

If it the root cause requires a new refridgerator, that's fine, however, if it doesn't that would be preferable: not just economically,it is a PITA to replace the fridge on the second story. I don't want to buy a new fridge if the problem is a clogged drain line or involves a simple part replacement.

Insight and experience are highly appreciated: thank you.

2 Answers 2


If the door seal is leaking or the door left open the coils ice up and when the fridge goes into the defrost cycle it can overflow the drip tray. This is one thing I have seen folks toss a good unit for when sometimes the seal just needed a good cleaning other times the seal needed to be replaced still much cheaper than a new unit.

  • Is there a simple test to determine if the door seal is leaking or the door left open?
    – gatorback
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 13:35
  • Usually looking at the seal with the door closed it should be attached at all surfaces (magnetic strip holds it). With the door open there should be no gouged sections. As far as how long the door is open a chart recorder could be added but that would probably not work in this case.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 17:50

There is also often a little fan on the bottom that pulls air across the condenser and compressor (where it gets warm) and blows it across the drain pan to aid in evaporation. If there is a lot of crud / cobwebs / animal hair around it, not enough air moves. If you roll out the fridge, you can see if that has been cleaned and if not, use a wand attachment of a vacuum cleaner.

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  • 1
    Awesome photo! You are on the right track. It turned out the drain pan was not properly affixed to the heat source (compressor): condensate was not evaporate and thus overflowed. Zip tying the pan properly to compressor ensured that the condensate is evaporated.
    – gatorback
    Commented May 29, 2019 at 13:45
  • Glad you figured it out!
    – JRaef
    Commented May 29, 2019 at 19:29

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