Maytag Refrigerator leaking water with every 12 hour defrost cycle

Water pooling inside the bottom of refrigerators, usually under the crisper or vegetable drawers, is a common problem most often caused by a blocked drain hole or a crimped/blocked drain tube. The water comes from melting of frost from your refrigerator’s freezer, which is melted during defrost cycles.

The water then flows down a drain system, usually from a hose that takes it outside of the refrigerator, and into a drain/overflow pan. This pan has many names: drain pan, condensing tray, overflow tray, evaporator pan, but they all serve the same function, as place holding place where water from the freezer is caught and held until it evaporates naturally.

Question: A couple of weeks ago my freezer began leaking water out the bottom of the door. I have a 10 year old Maytag Plus Refrigerator. The water drips into the bottom of freezer side and some freezes at the bottom, the rest runs out the door and onto the floor. This happens every 12 hours when it goes thru the defrost mode. Any suggestions? Is there a special part I need for my Maytag  Refrigerator?

Answer: A clogged/restricted defrost drain will allow the water to spill out inside and create these problems.

Your first task is to locate the drain tube using the diagrams for your refrigerator. Locate the diagrams for your refrigerator here, by entering your refrigerator’s model number. (Don’t know your refrigerator’s model number? This page tells you where to look on your refrigerator in order to get it!)

Usually the drain tube runs outside the back of the refrigerator. However, some refrigerators makers, like Whirlpool (which also makes Kenmore Brand Refrigerators,) have the drain tube inside the walls of the unit, making it difficult to access.

To fix this, clear the obstruction in the drain tube: here are some good, cheap and easy ways on how you can do this:

Also, the drain pan at the bottom of the refrigerator can overflow, or become cracked, which can lead to water leaking on the floor.  Luckily if this happens, you can order a replacement drain pan for your refrigerator.

For more help:


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3 Responses to “Maytag Refrigerator leaking water with every 12 hour defrost cycle”

  1. Russ Says:

    In my case, the problem was not ice of any blockage or any sort, but rather the May a design a simple design flaw with my Maytag. By design, on the top inside the refrigerator, below the freezer in the back, is a reservoir cup was supposed to catch water dripping down from the freezer. The problem is there is an inch gap between the drip location to the cup. The assumption was likely that water would simply drip straight down. But water does not do that, water does everything it can to cling before falling. So it clings to the ceiling, slid to the back of the frig, then down back wall then down to pool below the crisper drawer Eventually the pool gets large enough to dump out the door and onto the floor to rot any wood, rather annoying to put it politely.

    What I needed was to close the gap between the frig ceiling and the drip cup. My fix was rather simple and cheap (free). I spotted a cleaned clear plastic square container, typical of produce markets used to package dry foods. The key is that the plastic is rigid enough to stand on its own. I cut out a rectangle from the bottom, wide enough to extend the width of the drip cup and tall enough to be inserted inside the cup and reach up to touch the frig ceiling. I cut out lips to the side of the plastic on either side so it could hang on the cup. So secure it in place I wedged in two CPVC pipe inside the cup to hold the plastic against the cup. Now when the cup was reinstalled the plastic extended and was bent against the frig ceiling so the water was diverted down the plastic and into the cup where it was intended to go.

  2. Michael Clay Says:

    My Maytag refrigerator had the same problem. I used an old piece of household vinyl siding. Measure the drain cup, cut the vinyl the length of the inside of the drain cup+the width of the drain cup. Score the vinyl on the outside width measurement. You will then bend the vinyl (it will break at the scored seam but, it will still be waterproof. Set the cut piece inside the water drain cup – cut the vinyl edge inside the back of the drain cup at a 45 degree angle so the vinyl will angle out toward the back of the refrigerator. Now hold a straight edge across the freezer exhaust assembly (the trim that holds the drain cup), mark a line across the cut vinyl. This cuts the height of the insert so it will fit under the drain hole. Vinyl cut piece will not need any attachment or glue. It fits inside of the drain cup.
    This may sound complicated but was very easy to do and install. I did it the first try on the first vinyl insert.
    Cut a few extra pieces of vinyl and just think of ways to get it into the drain cup and cut it so it will angle toward the top and the back of the drain area. My refrigerator is now leak free.

  3. Jeff Says:

    Our refrigerator suffered the same problem as Russ and Michael except we were using a Admiral Designer Series HMG211490 which is a rebranding of a Maytag refrigerator (but people searching may not know that). We used a juice container and took advantage of the curvature of the bottle. Thanks! Everyone online says it must be the drain tube or something way more complicated.

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