Don’t Panic, The Drain Tube Might Be Clogged or Frozen
If you are seeing water on the floor near your Sub-Zero refrigerator, water dripping from the door, or water inside the refrigerator compartment, the culprit may not be a leak in the plumbing connection or water lines. Oftentimes, the cause of water buildup is simply a clogged drain tube.
Note: If you don’t want to take any risks, call your Factory Certified Service to have them diagnose and fix the issue.
Where Does the Water Come From?
Every time you open the refrigerator door, warm air carrying water vapor rushes into the compartment. As that warm air cools down, it and the water vapor it carries loses energy, and when water vapor loses energy, in turns from a gas back into a liquid. This is condensation and it happens in every refrigerator to some degree.
Your Sub-Zero refrigerator is designed with a drain trough and drain tube in the bottom of the refrigerator, and a drain pan below, to remove this condensation. Sometimes, food debris may clog the drain tube or the water in it may freeze. In either case, this prevents the Sub-Zero from draining, water begins to pool under the crisper drawers, and if enough water accumulates, it can pool against the door and drip when it is opened.
What Can I Do to Troubleshoot?
First, determine which model refrigerator you own:
- If a 200, 300, 500, and 600 Series refrigerator, read on.
- If a Classic (formerly Built-In), Designer (formerly Integrated), 700, 400, 648PRO refrigerator, Sub-Zero requests that you contact your Factory Certified Service to have them diagnose and fix the issue, as troubleshooting these models requires deeper expertise.
1. For those with a 200, 300, 500, and 600 Series refrigerator, we encourage you to run through all the following steps.Turn the refrigerator off with either the Unit On/Off button or by turning the control dial down past 1 to Off.
2. Remove the crisper glass shelf and crisper drawers. Dry off any water on these parts and soak up any standing water in the drain trough with a towel, sponge, or turkey baster. If there is little to no water in the refrigerator compartment, call your Factory Certified Service as there may be another issue at play. CAUTION: do not disconnect the drain tube from the drain trough, this may void your warranty.
3. If there is ice on the floor of the refrigerator section, the drain tube is likely frozen. Use a hair dryer on low to defrost the unit.
4. To remove food debris or other obstructions, use a pressurized air source, such as a compressed air duster, to blow out the drain. CAUTION: Do not put anything down the tube, such as the tip of the air can or a brush, as it may pierce the tube and void your warranty.
5. Next, uncover the drain pan below the refrigerator. To do so, remove the two screws holding the kickplate and remove it. On 201, 501, and 601 models, also remove the lower grille by removing the screws on the bottom corners, then pull the bottom of the grille out and up to release.
6. Mix one quart of warm water with two caps of bleach and a few drops of dish detergent. Use a turkey baster or similar tool to squirt or pour the solution slowly down the drain. Let the solution rest, then, using a similar method as before, rinse the drain tube with clean, warm water.
7. Locate and empty the drain pan, then clean it out since the solution can damage the plastic if left to sit.
If water continues to accumulate in your refrigerator after this troubleshooting, contact your local Factory Certified Service.
Preventative Measures to Take Next
If this is a recurring issue, your refrigerator may be generating more condensation than it should. Here are a few causes to check out:
- Verify the temperature settings of your Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer compartments. Too cold in your refrigerator and you may be causing excessive condensation of the warm air that enters. Too warm in your freezer and you may be defrosting water.
- Verify the door is shut tightly and the door gasket seal is tight. If the door opens too easily, the door gasket may be worn and unable to maintain a vacuum seal, letting in warm air even when the door is closed. If this is the case, you will need a Sub-Zero door gasket replacement.
- Clean your condenser regularly. If it has not been cleaned in the past 6-12 months, schedule a condenser clean today.