there is a dark fluid leaking out of the back of my refrigerator

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by thanatoid, Nov 5, 2008.

  1. thanatoid

    thanatoid Guest

    Hi gang,

    I have a small refrigerator which I've had for about ten years.

    It has never given me any trouble except once when I punctured
    the freezer thing during a screwdriver/hammer session of "quick
    defrosting" - I've been doing them for about 40 years and it's
    NEVER happened before, I guess I've lost my "touch". (Come to
    think of it, *I* was the one that gave the /fridge/ the trouble
    in that particular instance.)

    Anyway... There is a dark brown fluid leaking from the back
    somewhere - no point in moving it to find out exactly from
    where, since I won't know what it is anyway.

    The fridge is running fine, and there are no bad smells or weird
    noises - I thought it was melting oil or insulation or something
    but it appears to just be VERY dirty water - by smell (none) and
    consistency (watery) - I am not brave enough to taste it.

    I have Googled, and all "fluid" hits also mention VERY bad
    smells etc. So no luck there.

    I have a /very/ vague recollection of a similar thing happening
    about 6 years ago, except the liquid was thick - I cleaned it
    off the floor and that was the end of that.

    I will probably call a fridge repair guy unless it stops leaking
    and nothing else happens, but just wondering, does anyone have
    ANY idea what might be going on and whether I should be
    concerned?

    Thanks
    t.
     
    thanatoid, Nov 5, 2008
    #1
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  2. thanatoid

    VanguardLH Guest

    Where do you think the water goes when the fridge defrosts itself (or
    you use a hair dryer)? Have you pulled out the drain pan? Maybe it's
    covered with mold so the water can't evaporate from the drip tray, or
    the tray is cracked so it leaks onto the floor instead of letting the
    water evaporate out from the tray, or maybe this is the first time it
    defrosted so it's all the crud in the drip line and dust that collected
    in the drip tray making it brown as the defrosted water exceeds the
    capacity of the tray or it has a crack and is leaking. Have you checked
    around the seals for your fridge? If the drain hole is plugged, it
    could be condensation or defrosted water accumulating at the bottom and
    leaking past the seal (which is an magnetic contact air seal, not a
    waterproof seal).

    Newer fridges don't have a drip tray but instead a moisture tray that
    has heat coils (a couple of condenser coils) to help evaporate the water
    more quickly to ensure no buildup of water. I don't know if 10 years is
    new enough to eliminate the old drip tray. If you have an old fridge
    with a drip tray to accumulate the water, remove it and fill it over the
    sink to check for leaks, like from cracks. If you have a blocked drain
    hole (its usually under the veggie/fruit bins at the bottom or on the
    floor of the freezer section) then unblock it. If the drain tube is
    clogged (so the runoff is leaking past the door seals instead of running
    down the tube the drop tray or moisture pan) then fill a meat baster
    with hot water and force it into the drain hole.

    If this fridge has a built-in ice maker then there is a water line going
    to the fridge to supply the water to make the ice. You'll have to move
    out the fridge to see if you have a leak at the connection of the water
    line to the fridge.
     
    VanguardLH, Nov 5, 2008
    #2
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  3. thanatoid

    Whiskers Guest

    [...]

    If he's had to resort to the hammer for de-frosting, that would suggest
    that the thing doesn't have a self-defrost ability at all. My little
    fridge doesn't - but it is older than his (early '70s vintage). When I
    de-frost mine, the melt-water flows out of the open door if I don't catch
    it first.
     
    Whiskers, Nov 5, 2008
    #3
  4. thanatoid

    Whiskers Guest

    It wouldn't surprise me if using force to shift ice has cracked the lining
    of the food compartment and the insulation has started to break down,
    allowing condensation to build up in the space between the lining and the
    outer case, and that's what is 'leaking'.
     
    Whiskers, Nov 5, 2008
    #4
  5. thanatoid

    Pennywise Guest

    but it would show you where it's coming from.
     
    Pennywise, Nov 5, 2008
    #5
  6. thanatoid

    thanatoid Guest

    <SNIP>

    Thank you /very/ much for a most informative and helpful reply.
    As you already know, I'm a refrigerator moron, but hopefully if
    I read your reply 5 times I'll understand enough to check for
    the things you mention.

    BTW it only leaked for a very short time - it has not leaked a
    drop since I rinsed the floor, and everything is running fine. I
    have also realized that the door may not have been 100% seal-
    tight closed for a few hours yesterday just before the leak. I
    noticed a few weeks ago that I have to give the door a little
    push to get a perfect seal - I guess the 10 year old rubber seal
    is not as "sticky" as it used to be, and it being a small
    fridge, there's not enough weight on the door to slam it dead
    shut. I appear to have forgotten to do the push, and that MAY
    have caused the weird leak - since it happened very shortly
    afterwards. The weird thing is, NOTHING even close to melting or
    getting warmer INSIDE the fridge.

    Anyway, thanks again.
    t.
     
    thanatoid, Nov 5, 2008
    #6
  7. thanatoid

    thanatoid Guest

    That actually makes a lot of sense, but the last time I
    defrosted it (in ANY fashion ;-) was a good few years ago - I
    may not have done it since I had the freezer thing replaced, in
    fact. There is a fair bit of ice there, but not enough (yet) to
    exert pressure on the housing. So I don't believe there is a
    connection, I /think/ the connection /may/ exist in what I
    mentioned in my reply to VanguardLH. Also, there are no cracks
    anywhere inside - at least not visible.

    It's an "auxiliary" fridge so there is nothing in the freezer
    except a hot/cold gel pack or two - it's too small for a tub of
    ice cream. I just keep soda, some dairy stuff, and coffee in the
    main compartment.

    Thanks for your reply.
    t.
     
    thanatoid, Nov 5, 2008
    #7
  8. thanatoid

    thanatoid Guest

    wrote in
    a) Not 100% guaranteed - the backs/bottoms of fridges are a
    little complicated, at least for me.
    I have seen many and I was always totally perplexed. WAY too
    many weird metal and rubber tubes, big black or metal things
    hidden behind other black or metal things, etc.

    b) /IF/ I /do/ see something, /whatever/ it is, I will NOT know
    /what/ it is.

    If I lived in Iceland or the Yukon I'd just keep stuff in a big
    box out back. Sigh.
     
    thanatoid, Nov 5, 2008
    #8
  9. thanatoid

    VanguardLH Guest

    A poor seal or door ajar can cause condensation which would drip onto
    the floor. Since it was brownish, have you used a cleaner-soaked rag to
    run along inside the creases of the flexible seal to ensure you don't
    have mold build in them? Since the condensation would occur on the
    walls of the interior of the fridge compartment and then run down to the
    bottom, have you remove the fruit/veggie bins at the bottom to make sure
    you don't have some crud down there that the water dissolved, like blood
    that leaked from a film-wrapped pound patty of hamburger?
     
    VanguardLH, Nov 5, 2008
    #9
  10. thanatoid

    thanatoid Guest

    I clean the rubber door seal with a slightly diluted cleaner
    semi-regularly - I tend to keep most of my things looking new,
    in general. (Although I never wash the car, only the windows :)

    There is nothing in the fridge but soda, milk, and a can of
    coffee. No blood-leaking body parts of any species ;-) No
    moisture of any kind inside the fridge or near the seal, in- or
    outside. Not even in the drain pan. (That's the thing under the
    freezer, right?)

    It being a 3.5' or so fridge, while it HAD a tray on the bottom
    for vegetables etc., there was no drain or hole of any kind
    underneath, and I removed the tray 10 years ago (and have NO
    idea where it is) because that's the only place the big can of
    coffee fits.

    And the leak was ONLY around the left rear leg (it's so small -
    do you call it leg? support?) of the fridge. But like I said in
    one of the replies today, nothing has happened since, it's all
    dry now, and everything works fine, so I think it may just have
    been some minor aberration.

    I'll check the things you mentioned and if everything appears OK
    I won't worry about it unless something else happens. I /will/
    have to defrost it in a couple of weeks, but I read about using
    a hair dryer to loosen the ice in one of the pages I Googled, so
    hopefully I will manage to restrain myself from playing
    "Antarctic Explorer".

    I really appreciate your help.

    Thanks,
    t.
     
    thanatoid, Nov 5, 2008
    #10
  11. thanatoid

    VanguardLH Guest

    Well, of course, if you are a coffee aficionado then you never buy
    pre-ground coffee. Instead you always buy the beans (stored in the
    freezer in an airtight bag) and grind it yourself to whatever
    granularity you want depending on how intense you want the flavor.

    http://coffeetea.about.com/od/storage/a/storage.htm

    Of course, if you buy cheap coffee then it doesn't matter how you store
    it. Bad is bad no matter how long you left it out. You think that
    you'll ever taste the food odors from storing it in the fridge in an
    open can using just the disc lid when brewing that gut wrenching cup of
    McGarvey? Sometimes they company gets a service that delivers it
    prepackaged in nitrogen-filled foil bubbles at the correct amount to
    dump into the coffee maker but sometimes they just buy a can of really
    horrible stuff because it was cheap and most employees will down it
    anyway. I had to bring in my own coffee maker and my own brand of
    coffee to work. The stuff they doled out to their employees was awful
    crap. Amazing how so many folks around me thought they could bum a free
    cup when they smelled my good stuff. I'd start the brew and soon there
    were folks wandering over to ask me questions with coffee mug in hand
    (uh huh, rolls eyes).

    If someone buys me a large can of pre-ground coffee, I dump the can into
    one of those airtight plastic jugs with the seal-locking lid (has a
    rubber ring against which it seals and the lid locks or snaps shut).
    That gets used first (before the beans and grinder) and is just stored
    at room temperature. Doesn't have to be in the fridge. You're just
    trying to keep the scent from evaporating away or picking up outside
    odors. I don't go nuts using a vacuum sealer to suck out the air when
    storing in the airtight container.

    By the way, I do the same with black and white pepper. Idiots that
    leave it on the table in an open shaker don't realize that eventually
    all you're putting on your food are tasteless flakes or powder. I get
    it in resealable cans, or put into closable shakers, or store in an
    airtight container. Without the scent, there isn't anything left of
    palatable value.
     
    VanguardLH, Nov 6, 2008
    #11
  12. thanatoid

    thanatoid Guest

    Is this really true? Link?
    I have read in /SO/ many places that once opened, the coffee can
    should be kept in the fridge and a little taken out at a time (I
    have a plastic container next to the coffee maker that lasts
    about a week - I only drink 2 cups a day) and that is what I use
    on a daily basis).
     
    thanatoid, Nov 6, 2008
    #12
  13. thanatoid

    thanatoid Guest

    I have destroyed 3 electric coffee grinders - the last one being
    a REALLY good one, not one those little tubular things - and I
    am done with that. Folger's is good enough for me. Im not a
    gourmet. Not to mention I put a ΒΌ cup of sugar in every coffee
    cup. (Yes, it's true.)

    Still, I would rather DIE than at night put the coffee and the
    water into one of those machines with a timer so it "wakes me up
    with the delicious aroma of freshly-brewed coffee". Yuch.
    Will look it up.
    I /do/ perceive a fresher smell when I refill my weekly
    container.

    Also, the big coffee can would not fit in the little cabinet
    next to my bed where I have my coffee maker and sugar (too
    lazy/unawake to go downstairs to the kitchen and mess about when
    I finally manage to wake up after the usual hours of
    nightmares).
    The scent /is/ an important sense.

    Have you ever tried to eat something holding your nose closed?
    It loses half or more of whatever flavor it "had".
     
    thanatoid, Nov 6, 2008
    #13
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