How to Repair a Chest Freezer that Leaks

A chest freezer.
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
What You'll Need
Wire hanger
Drain pan
What You'll Need
Wire hanger
Drain pan

A chest freezer is a useful appliance to have in your basement or your garage. However, you shouldn’t expect it to always run without problems. Like all appliances, a chest freezer can develop faults. One of the most common faults occurs when a chest freezer leaks water. It’s something that happens to many owners of chest freezers. Luckily, the problem is usually easy to solve.

Step 1 - Unblock the Drain Tube

If a freezer still freezes, the usual cause of a leak is the drain tube has become blocked. This is the component through which water from the freezer usually runs out. When this happens, the water will usually find another way out which ultimately causes the leak.

The first thing you need to do is to locate the drain tube. It will generally be at the back of the freezer and is made of plastic. You might have to remove the back panel in order to access it. Rub the tube and see if it feels tight or bloated.

Step 2 - Clean out the Tube

Take a wire hanger and straighten it out. Try to push the wire up the tube. If it meets resistance, the tube is definitely clogged. You can try and use the hanger to poke the clog out of the tube although you might not be successful if you are working from the bottom upward. Keep a drain pan under the tube to catch any debris and liquid you manage to push out from the drain tube.

Step 3 - Empty the Freezer

A chest freezer.

If pushing from the outside doesn’t work, you’re going to need to empty the freezer. Unplug the chest freezer and remove all the food inside. Try storing it in the bath with a towel over it. If you have items that can easily defrost, such as ice cream, put it in another freezer to keep properly cold.

As you remove the items, check to see if the drain hole within the freezer has become blocked by an item of food from inside the freezer. This might be the ultimate cause. With the freezer empty, locate the drain hole at the bottom and try pushing through with your wire hanger. This should remove most, if not all, of the clog. Keep going until you’ve removed as much of the clog as possible.

Step 4 - Defrost the Freezer

If there’s a layer of ice at the bottom of the freezer, you’re going to need to completely defrost the freezer before you fill it again. In this instance, make sure you store the frozen food in other freezers or cook it so it doesn’t go to waste. Allow a good 24 hours for a complete defrost. You might need to empty the drain pan a couple of times during this period.

Wipe out the inside of the chest freezer after it’s defrosted to remove any water. As you replace the food, ensure there’s a small, clear area around the drain hole inside the freezer. Plug the freezer back in and give it time to cool properly before replacing the food. Keep checking for leaks from the chest freezer for a day or so.

Repair a Chest Freezer FAQ

Why is my chest freezer leaking water onto the floor?

When the drain hose for a freezer is clogged, this can cause ice to form and cause condensation to back up in the line instead of draining free. This can leave you with a puddle of water on the floor.

Clogged drain lines are the most common cause of seeing water leaking out of a freezer.

How do you unclog a defrost drain?

To unclog the defrost drain, unplug the freezer and pull it out from the wall so you can more easily access the lines connected here. You may also want to remove frozen items and items that can spoil quickly, such as dairy items, and store these items in a cooler first.

Find the drain line. You can learn this information from the owner's manual, look it up online, or seek it out on your own.

Place a pan under this drain line, below the area where you will be disconnecting the line, to catch water and debris. Use a hair dryer on a low setting to melt any ice if ice is obstructing the drain line anywhere.

The drain line is usually beneath the fruit and vegetable bins, somewhere on the back, or on the underside. Disconnect the line once you find it.

You can use a screwdriver or a small, flexible tube to clean out the drain linen. Do not use anything too sharp, as this will tear the drain line instead.

Clean out the line and run water through it to make sure it's draining easily before you reconnect the hose to the freeze.

Why is there condensation on the outside bottom of my chest freezer?

Sweating, or condensation, on the outside of a freezer can happen if conditions are excessively hot or humid. However, condensation that is abnormal could be caused by a faulty thermostat that is failing to regulate the temperature of the freezer.

How do you know if your defrost drain is clogged?

If you see water under your freezer or on the floor near the freezer, this could indicate that you can have a clog. You may also see ice under the bottom basket in the freezer compartment.

How do you defrost and drain a chest freezer?

Empty out the freezer completely before you defrost it. Once everything is out of the freezer, unplug it and open it up.

Hold the door or doors open somehow, propping them open if necessary until all the item melts inside. You can pour some hot water inside the freezer to melt ice if you want to speed up the process.

Let the water and ice drain out entirely and then clean the interior of the freezer with warm, soapy water. Allow the freezer to dry completely before you turn it on and stock it up.