Before showing the repair steps, it's helpful to understand why this is happening. A refrigerator works by moving heat from the inside to the outside, using a compressed liquid that cools when it expands. This expansion takes place in an "evaporator" coil, which is located in the rear of your Samsung unit. A fan circulates the air inside the fridge over the coil, thus maintaining a constant temperature.
Now, just like a cool glass on a humid day, condensation tends to form on evaporator coil. Since the coil is often below freezing, this condensation can turn to ice and build up over time, so the engineers who designed your fridge added a heater to the evaporator coil. Periodically, the heater will activate and melt the ice. The water then flows into a catch pan, down a drain, and into a pan in the bottom of the fridge, where warm air from the compressor evaporates it. In theory, that is.
In our Samsung units, if enough moisture is present, a lot of water and ice can form in the evaporator. Enough that the drain itself can become clogged with ice. Your Samsung engineers were prepared for that possibility also, and they installed a small aluminum drain strap that clamps to the heater coil, and extends into the drain. Unfortunately, however, the drain strap is far too short, and doesn't melt the ice in the drain if it extends more than an inch or so. With no drain available, the defrost water has nowhere to go but back into the fridge.
The repair involves installing a longer drain strap that extends partially into the drain. After doing this, my unit has been water-free for over a month!
|Three days of water buildup after removing a 1" thick sheet of ice.|
The following is a step-by-step guide for fixing the RF267ABRS. If you own a different model, the instructions may vary slightly.
Equipment you will need:
- Philips screwdriver
- A way to melt the ice (hair dryer, turkey baster, time with the fridge off, etc. DO NOT USE SALT!!! Some repair forums have suggested this, but unless you like rust, avoid this option!)
- A new drain strap. (Build your own, or buy this one.)
- Aluminum foil tape (optional)
- Heat sink compound (optional)
Step 1: Empty the refrigerator enough to expose the evaporator cover:
Step 3: Verify the drain tube is clogged with ice. This will be easy. The metal tray at the bottom of the evaporator coil will be iced over, with no way for the melt water to drain.
|Drain frozen over. Samsung drain strap wasn't even long enough to reach the drain.|
|Drain is clear, new tape.|
Step 5: Install the new drain strap. I improvised one using some scrap aluminum I had lying around and a self-tapping sheet metal screw, or you can buy one for $11 or so. You could probably even use a section of aluminum can. The piece I used extends around three inches down the drain. I also used a dab of heat sink compound to help with heat transfer. It's probably not necessary, but I wanted to make sure.
|New strap. Looks bootleg (it is), but works like a champ.|
The proof is in the pudding, and we're a month water and ice free. I'll update if anything changes.
Thanks to Appliance Blog for this thread. Also, there is talk of a class action, but nothing substantive. Hope this helps!
**Edit January 31, 2015**
So, it froze up again, almost exactly one year later. I confirmed the new strap was working, it had just become overwhelmed with ice somehow. Melted out the tube using the turkey baster like before, and did some further research. According to the comments on this Youtube video, Samsung has advised their technicians to relocate the ice sensor from the top of the coil to behind the fan. At this rate, I'm still happy to only be doing this once a year!