Commercial bottle fridge leaking water.

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  #1  
Old 06-30-17, 12:16 PM
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Commercial bottle fridge leaking water.

Hi all,

Hope you're having a wonderful day.

I have a second hand (older) Beverage Air vending fridge I bought a few years back and had serviced in my game room holding bottles of beer and soda. Love the thing. It sucks energy, but I love it.

Anyway, much to my dismay after about 2 years running well I discovered some wetness in the front right corner on the carpet. No idea how much has seeped under since the thing weighs a ton but I put a few thick paper towels there for 24 hours and they were soaked through after so I know it's coming out in that area.

I'm no pro but I can handle taking things apart if anyone has any suggestions before I need to call in expensive techs. This is a Beverage Air coke fridge with the compressor on the bottom and 4 shelves of bottles above, double sliding doors on both sides of the unit (front and back). I should be able to pull off the front metal grill to look under pretty easily though will need some advice on what to look at and also if I should pull the power, etc, when I do so.

Much thanks for any suggestions anyone may have in advance and Happy 4th to ya!

B.
 
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Old 06-30-17, 12:33 PM
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There will be a finned evaporator coil, likely near the bottom that as a normal part of cooling accumulate frost.
There is a system in place to allow the coil to defrost and the condensate from this defrost will collect in a pan under the coil.
The water will then be directed from this pan, through a hose or tube to a reservoir in the compressor compartment.

The pan and hose could be plugged causing it to overflow or the pan could have rusted through.

One way to clear the hose it to blow backwards through it.
Do not use high pressure compressed air or you could permantly damage something.
 
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Old 06-30-17, 12:55 PM
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This is pretty much what you'll see when you remove the front service panel.

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The hot condensor coil is actually in the drain pan to help evaporate the excessive condensate water.
 
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Old 06-30-17, 01:17 PM
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Man, you guys rock.

I'm about to go down there and pry the front off. I'll get a sit rep and then see how to get that hose moved so I can blow into it.

Recommend I power this thing off before I muck around down there or is it generally safe to keep it running?
 
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Old 06-30-17, 01:40 PM
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So here's the weird part.

Got the grill off (this may be the back actually, and I have the "front" against the wall, but either way) and I don't see any wetness in here really! Nothing dripping, trays look dry. Dirty but dry. Anyone see anything weird?

I'll leave it running and leave the grill off a while I guess? Need more pics?
 
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Old 06-30-17, 01:41 PM
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I'd remove power to eliminate any surprises.

If the pan in the bottom is full of water then the drain line to the upper pan is probably not clogged. You'd be looking for a rusted thru area in the pan.

On edit: We posted at the same time. There is no water down there which means the drain line is probably plugged up at the upper pan just below the evaporator where the fan blows inside.

When it defrosts the water must be running down the inside of the box.
 
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Old 06-30-17, 02:25 PM
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No worries and thanks for sticking with me as you always do sir. What a guy!

Can you point me out to the upper pan, where I can find it exactly (just so I am looking at the right place) so I can (I assume) find a way to remove the drain line there and blow it out?

If you need more pics let me know.
 
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Old 06-30-17, 02:31 PM
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Is there a visible fan inside or a place where the cold air is blown out ?
We're looking for the evaporator (cold coil).

All your pictures are showing the condensor coil.... which could use a good vacuuming too.
 
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Old 06-30-17, 02:48 PM
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You are awesome. I realize why I put the one side against the wall now. It's the side the power cable comes out of. Though I can't get at that side that easy I took some more pics from the front, listed below, left to right (passing by the condenser coil which I will be vacuuming). I do also see some wires in the back on the left side that may be going to some sort of exhaust fan in the back there though I don't see it from my side, the plate may be blocking it.

I can't seem to turn these vertical, they are all showing sideways with the bottom on the right, if anyone can fix please do!

The interesting thing about this fridge is that it has glass doors on BOTH sides so it was meant to be sort of in the middle of an aisle. I put panning on the back doors against the wall to block them and try and keep more cool air in there. It's been running well for 2 years keeping temp at 36 even with the 4 glass doors.

More pics below, any ideas of course welcome. I still can't see any wetness in there. The bottom is a steel frame, the black areas you see are a rubber mat I have the fridge on to protect the carpet (thank goodness!)

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Last edited by PJmax; 06-30-17 at 03:03 PM. Reason: reoriented pictures
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Old 06-30-17, 03:06 PM
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I labeled the first picture and turned them.

So there is no fan inside the cooler. That means the inside bottom of the cooler is cold.... called a cold plate. Is that correct ?
 
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Old 07-01-17, 07:02 AM
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I have seen double door coolers both in the isle between checkouts in box stores and in a lineup in convenience stores so they can be rear loaded by staff.

Some pics of the inside would be good.

Immediately above that drain hose is where the problem is.......either plugged or rusted drain pan.
 
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Old 07-01-17, 07:49 AM
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In the picture where I labeled the drain hose.... it looks like a leak in the very corner under the word "hose".

If I'm not mistaken that's the corner where the leak is.
 
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Old 07-03-17, 06:04 AM
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Hi guys, I'm back, sorry for the delay.

Thanks for turning and labeling the photos. I would agree the hose you labeled looks like the one spot where water could be coming down. It also looks hard to get at. I'm going to wrap some paper towels around it at the top to see if they get wet. If not, that means the leak is above that hose which may prove tricky to get at (I guess there's a small hollow space between the bottom of the fridge and the main lower area with the mechanicals where it's pooling up and running out?) Any thoughts on getting at that hose? If you look at the pics it looks like there's a bunch of big sealant goop there at the top of it.

There are fans inside this fridge by the way at the top, also a light switch and a fan switch (probably a circulation fan or something? The fridge stays cool regardless of if I have that fan switched on or off, but without a manual I have no idea). I flipped the fan switch the other way in case it was causing some sort of extra condensation causing the moisture to build up inside. We'll see if that at least slows down the problem.

I will also put some paper towels in the back left corner of the unit if you think the leak is there, that is actually the back left corner of the unit as you look at it from the front. I did feel moisture all along the edge at the back left corner of the black rubber mat the unit is on, so it IS possible the rear of the unit is the source as well.

More pics later!
 
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Old 07-03-17, 06:37 AM
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Immediately above that drain hose is where the problem is.......either plugged or rusted drain pan.
You need to look inside the cooler where the drain line either attaches to a pan or extends to one.
That is where the problem is.
 
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Old 07-03-17, 07:02 AM
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Thanks. I was afraid you'd say that.

I've got about 200 beer bottles to find a place to keep cold for a while, while I empty the thing and start looking for a way to take it apart inside to get at that hose. Tomorrow's July 4 AM activity since I gotta work today.

Appreciate everyone sticking with me. I'll send more pics later too with the areas I'm planning to target.
 
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Old 07-06-17, 07:28 PM
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After several days of watching (and no changes other than turning off the "fan" switch inside which I think is some sort of re-circulation fan or something, next to the light switch on top), I don't see any water coming out and

I will say I noticed a lot of condensation inside the fridge earlier in the summer which may have translated to the leakage, and I don't see any condensation any more. Temp is keeping fine with the fan switch off as well.

I still have the lower grill off, and I vacuumed it out and am keeping an eye on it daily, but I'm not sure I want to take all the contents out and take it apart if it's stopped - However I know better than to think an appliance just "fixed itself" too.
 
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Old 07-06-17, 08:01 PM
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Condensation inside the fridge is caused by warm air. Either from the doors being open a lot or poor door seals.

The fan moves the cold air around the inside of the box.
 
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