Things You'll Need
Water leaking from a freezer into the refrigerator compartment ruins food and causes odors. A freezer has two water sources -- the ice maker's water supply and defrost condensation. When humidity freezes, it forms frost on the exposed surfaces in the freezer compartment and on the evaporator coil. Warm air entering the freezer, either from a leak around the freezer door's seal or from the defrost heater, causes the frozen humidity to melt. Bad freezer door seals cause puddles in the bottom of the freezer compartment. Clogged or frozen defrost condensation drains cause overflows into the freezer compartment.
Open the freezer door and inspect the ice maker, if equipped. Move the ice maker's trip lever down and run the ice maker through a cycle. The ice maker's jaws should expel the ice cubes sitting in the tray and water should fill the tray. If the ice maker has malfunctioned, replace the ice maker.
Clean the freezer door's seal and the seal's mating surface around the freezer compartment with all-purpose cleaner and a rag. Remove all mildew and debris.
Hold a dollar bill against the freezer door seal and close the door. Attempt to move the dollar bill in and out of the door seal. Repeat this in several different spots around the door seal. If the dollar moves in and out of the door seal with the door closed, replace the door seal.
Pull the refrigerator away from the wall and remove its electrical plug from the wall outlet.
Disconnect the freezer's condensate drain tube from its fitting. A refrigerator uses a 1/2- or 3/4-inch tube as a condensate drain and the tube runs down the back of the refrigerator. The tube slips over the fitting.
Place a bucket under the condensate drain and flush the drain tube with warm water. If water does not flow freely through the drain tube, locate and remove the clog in the drain tube.
Pull the freezer's condensate drain fitting out of the back of the refrigerator. The L-shaped fitting slides through the back of the refrigerator and into the condensate pan, found under the evaporator coil. If the drain fitting has an ice or debris clog, flush the drain fitting with warm water.
Force the drain fitting into its hole in the back of the refrigerator and replace the drain tube.
Open the freezer door and remove the freezer compartment's shelves and ice maker.
Remove the screws holding the evaporator coil's cover with the correct screwdriver, usually a 1/4-inch hex screwdriver, and slip the cover out of the freezer. The evaporator coil's cover mounts to either the freezer's back wall or its floor.
Defrost the evaporator coil and the condensate pan, if needed, with a hair dryer. The condensate pan mounts in the freezer below the aluminum evaporator coil.
Clean the debris from the condensate pan with a rag. Wipe from the pan's drain hole to the opposite side of the pan.
Flush the condensate pan with warm water.
Replace the evaporator cover, shelves and ice maker.
Based out of Central Florida, Robert Sylvus has been writing how-to and outdoor sports articles for various online publications since 2008. Sylvus has been a home improvement contractor since 1992. He is a certified HVAC universal technician.