My GE Refrigerator Has a Clogged Defrost Drain

When there is water or ice on the floor in front of a refrigerator or pooled in the bottom of the produce drawers on a regular basis, one common cause is a clogged defrost drain. This is true of most refrigerators, including GE models, and can usually be resolved by owners through some basic troubleshooting methods.


Some of the obvious signs of a clogged defrost drain include ice or water on the bottom of the freezer or refrigerator compartment that returns even after being cleaned. The water may pool directly under the vegetable compartments in the refrigerator or show up on the kitchen floor in front of the refrigerator. Frost may also develop under the bottom basket in the refrigerator or on the bottom of the freezer floor. If the GE refrigerator is an automatic defrost model, it may occur specifically after the defrost cycle runs, which is once every 24 hours.

Drain Location

When cleaning a clogged refrigerator drain, the first step is to find the drain itself. The drain may reside in a few different spots in GE refrigerators, including the walls and rear of the unit. Look in the lower back wall of the freezer or on the side. The drain may look like a hole in the side of the freezer or may be covered by a plastic panel that can be removed by taking out the holding screw and lifting off the panel.


Once the drain has been located, use a clean damp cloth to wipe away any frost or debris. If there is an object blocking the drain entrance, clearing this away may suffice in clearing the clog. If there is a lot of frost or the obstruction is not immediately evident, some more effort is required. A clogged defrost drain can often be cleaned by flushing hot water down the drain until the obstruction clears. If this doesn't work, use a small brush or thin wire to push the obstruction out of the drain. Pour some warm water down the drain to flush it when the obstruction has been cleared, and then wipe the drain dry. If the drain had a panel covering it, replace the panel and the holding screw when finished. After cleaning the drain, the problem should be resolved. However, if the drain continues to back up or the problems return shortly after cleaning, contact GE for assistance at 877-432-2737.

Energy Saving Mode

Once the refrigerator drain clog has been resolved, some simple steps can help prevent it from happening again. Look inside the refrigerator door frame for a switch labeled "Energy Saving Mode" or something similar. This mode will disable the door heaters, which can allow for frost or condensation to build up, including over the drain. Switch the "Energy Saving" mode to "Off."


Some general maintenance steps can also help prevent drain clogs. Inspect the drain on a regular basis for any residue or debris that may create a blockage and clean the drain with a clean, damp cloth to remove any frost or residue. Keep items away from the rear or sides of the unit, and do not block the air vents as this will help maintain proper temperatures and airflow. If the refrigerator is a manual defrost model, run the defrost on a regular basis to help prevent frost from building up. Check automatic defrost models on a regular basis for frost, and contact GE for assistance if the defrost cycle does not seem to be working.

Meredith Jameson

Meredith Jameson writes early childhood parenting and family health articles for various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from San Francisco State University.