How to Find and Clear the Defrost Drain on Your Whirlpool Refrigerator

If you own a Whirlpool refrigerator, you might have noticed water leaking from the bottom or pooling inside the fridge. This could indicate a clogged or frozen defrost drain. The defrost drain is responsible for allowing melted ice and water from the defrost cycle to drain into a pan beneath the refrigerator. When the drain gets blocked by ice, food particles, or debris, water overflows and causes problems.

Locating the Defrost Drain in Your Whirlpool Refrigerator

In Whirlpool refrigerators, you can typically find the defrost drain on the back wall of the freezer or fridge compartment, depending on the model. To access it, you may need to remove the back panel or the crisper drawers. Sometimes, the drain might be hidden behind a cover or a metal drain strap designed to prevent freezing.

Steps to Unclog the Defrost Drain in Your Whirlpool Refrigerator

If you suspect that your defrost drain is clogged or frozen, you can try clearing it using some simple tools and methods. Follow these steps:

  1. Unplug the refrigerator and empty it of all food items. To prevent thawing, consider storing frozen food in a cooler or ice chest.
  2. Locate the defrost drain on the back wall of the freezer or fridge compartment. You may need to remove screws, panels, or drawers to access it.
  3. Use a turkey baster, syringe, or squeeze bottle to flush warm water into the drain hole or tube. This helps melt any ice or loosen debris that might be obstructing the drain.
  4. If necessary, gently push a flexible wire, such as a coat hanger or pipe cleaner, through the drain to dislodge any clogs. Take care not to damage the drain or puncture any tubes.
  5. Check if your refrigerator has a drain heater or a drain strap attached to the defrost heater. Confirm that they are in place and functioning correctly. These components help prevent the drain from freezing by conducting heat.
  6. Once the drain is clear, check the drain pan under the refrigerator for any water. To access the pan, pull out the refrigerator and remove the lower back panel. If there is water, empty the pan and clean it with soap and water.
  7. Reassemble any parts you removed and plug the refrigerator back in. Verify if the water leakage has stopped and if the refrigerator is cooling properly.
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FAQs About Whirlpool Refrigerator Defrost Drain

Q: How often should I defrost my Whirlpool refrigerator?

A: Most modern Whirlpool refrigerators have an automatic defrost system that cycles on and off every 8 to 12 hours. Manual defrosting is unnecessary unless there is a system issue or you observe excessive frost buildup.

Q: What causes the defrost drain to freeze or clog?

A: Several factors can lead to the freezing or clogging of the defrost drain, including:

  • Low temperature settings causing excessive frost formation.
  • High humidity levels resulting in increased condensation.
  • Faulty or damaged parts such as the evaporator fan motor, defrost heater, or defrost thermostat.
  • Improper installation or alignment of the drain tube or pan.
  • Food particles, dust, or debris entering the drain.

Q: How can I prevent the defrost drain from freezing or clogging?

A: To prevent the defrost drain from freezing or clogging, consider the following steps:

  • Adjust the temperature settings of your refrigerator to avoid overcooling.
  • Reduce humidity levels in your home by using a dehumidifier or exhaust fan.
  • Regularly check and replace any faulty or damaged parts that affect the defrost system.
  • Clean and inspect the drain hole, tube, and pan for any signs of blockage.
  • Avoid overloading your refrigerator with food items that may spill or leak.


The defrost drain in your Whirlpool refrigerator plays a crucial role in maintaining optimal performance and efficiency. By familiarizing yourself with its location and knowing how to clear any clogs, you can prevent water leakage and other issues that might impact the quality and safety of your food.

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Whirlpool Refrigerator

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