It quietly collects all the excess that the hulking appliance tends to create as it serves up delicious chilled dishes day after day. A refrigerator's drain pan needs to be given a good looking over every few months and thoroughly cleaned out at least once a year. This will keep the refrigerator in good working order to supply you with the coolest drinks and delicacies for years to come.
Duties of a Drain Pan
The wide and flat tray collects all the condensation created by the working of the cooling appliance on a daily basis. It is also in place in case of any errant leakage from the condensation coils or water tubes that run along the backside of the machine. Water that drips from the condensation coils (or drippings from defrost cycle) will also find their way neatly into a refrigerator drain pan.
How to Remove a Drain Pan
Some drain pans simply slide right out from underneath a refrigerator. Others require panels to be removed. If you need to do more than fish a flat pan out from underneath a refrigerator, the appliance should be unplugged before you attack it with long metal screwdrivers or other tools to remove any decorative or vented pieces from the machine. Pop off the bottom panel of the refrigerator to gain access to the drain pan. It may just pop off or have tiny screws at each end of its vented front. Once the panel is off the fridge, you should be able to see the drain pan that rests directly behind the piece. Pull the drain pan forward until it is free of the fridge. Check for any clips that may hold it in place.
Tips on Cleaning a Drain Pan
It shouldn't be terribly messy, but it may be surprisingly wet, particularly if you haven't cleaned the drain pan in well over a year. Have some old towels handy to wipe up any spills or splashes from the tray that can happen as you remove it. Use a mild abrasive, such as one part each of vinegar and water and a drop of liquid soap to wash out the drip pan. Dry it thoroughly before returning it to its place beneath the fridge. The front panel will need to be cleaned as well as the long, flat piece tends to collect a lot of dust in a short amount of time due to its location so close to the floor where hair and debris tends to gather. Manuals can be found online if the drain pan is stubborn in its removal or hard to locate.