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Dometic Fridge Defrost Drain.


Alan Stanley
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In common with many we have a Dometic Fridge fitted to the Unicorn. A few weeks ago I was present when the fridge was given a service by the Dometic Engineer. Being nosy I stayed whilst it was done and the following was of interest.

 

1. We run our fridge on gas a lot of the time and only use Autogas from a Safefill cylinder the engineer was most complementary about the cleanliness of the flue and burner. Saying "it could have been fitted last month, it's so clean there is nothing to clean out. Much better than most I see running on calor and the like." And as I could see it was.

 

2. Then got onto the Defrost drain system. For those that do not know the defrost water drains into a small plastic container that is clipped to the back of the fridge pipework and is supposed to evaporate from there. We had already been away for 10 days and the fridge had defrosted from that trip, then 24 hrs later we set off on this one. The container still had about 1/4 pint of water in it and there is nothing to stop this sloping out of the container all over the floor inside the van at the back of the fridge.

 

The engineer stated that a kit was available to drain this water straight through the floor to the outside ( basically a length of plastic tube ) and that he considered this a much better system than having anything up of 1/2 pint of water sloshing about and couldn't understand why manufacturers fitted the fridge with the evaporation tub and not the tube in a moving vehicle. Other than it removed any chance of the tube freezing in cold weather and blocking.

 

Looking at the water that would have ended up on our floor had we have done anything like a heavy stop on the tow that morning I had to agree with him. On our return home I have checked the tub after 2 weeks in the barn. It still holds a significant amount of water.

 

So any thoughts from the engineers out there. I have, as he suggested, replaced my tub with a suitable length of tube. I'll see how it goes.

Kia KX 3 auto / Bailey Alicanto Grande Estoril and Swift Challenger 570 (2010 model Not towed - used as a static)
 

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We also found water under the seats in the front lounge. Fearing the worst we took the van back to the dealers to get it checked out. The water was also traced to the tub were the water hadn't evaporated - long story but we ended up with a new fridge.

Kia Sorento KX-2 Auto - Bailey Pegasus GT65 Ancona

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We also found water under the seats in the front lounge. Fearing the worst we took the van back to the dealers to get it checked out. The water was also traced to the tub were the water hadn't evaporated - long story but we ended up with a new fridge.

Strikes me as a totally stupid system. Who would voluntarily tow with half a cup of water balanced in a cupboard. In my case any water would have migrated to the wall floor join and no doubt under the lino into the floor ply. The engineer stated that all british manufacturers were guilty of using this system, and he was at a loss to understand why.

 

As we are not aware of lots of reports of rotting floors under fridges it probably does not cause problems for many people. In our case with lots of defrost cycles I simply can't see any sense in risking it.

For anyone with damp detected in the floor around the fridge I would be very suspicious though, that this is the cause.

Kia KX 3 auto / Bailey Alicanto Grande Estoril and Swift Challenger 570 (2010 model Not towed - used as a static)
 

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Ok the long story.

Our fridge door got very difficult to open and would be very sticky. This was reported to our dealer in the second service.

They said they couldn't find anything wrong so we learned to live with it for a while.

I then read on here that to solve the sticky door put a bit of cardboard under the bottom hinge as the door drops down a bit. So I did this and this solved the sticking door.

We later found the water under the seats in the front lounge and as said above was traced to the fridge. It was then found that the bottom hinge of the fridge door had failed. As the door was not 100% in the correct position and the seal was not perfect, the fridge was working much harder to keep the temperature correct producing a lot more condensation which overwhelmed the small tub which ended up overflowing.

At this stage the van was over three years old but since the fault was previously reported and not acted on, Dometic agreed to replace the complete fridge which I thought was a bit of an overkill for a failed hinge.

For a while after I kept an eye on the tub to check water level but we have never had any more problems.

Kia Sorento KX-2 Auto - Bailey Pegasus GT65 Ancona

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It strikes me that it would be possible on the face of it to have the best of both worlds, by simply adding a drain pipe to the existing evaporation tray/tub. That way, the majority of the condense could drain away safely, but should this drain ever become blocked (for e. g. by ice in the winter) there would be a back-up system in the form of evaporation.

 

I've just checked the arrangement for the Norcold fridge/freezer on the MH, and while there is an evaporation tray, should there be any spillage from that, it will drain to the outside world under the vent/cover to run down the bodywork to the ground. Not an ideal arrangement, but significantly better than soaking the interior floor.

Gordon.

 

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Fourwinds Hurricane 31D Motorhome. Also MGTF135 1. 8i Roadster (fun) & Volvo V70 3.2Ltr LPG (everyday car)
Unless otherwise stated, my posts will be my personal thoughts and have the same standing as any other member of Caravan and Motorhome Talk.

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  • 2 months later...

We have suffered a similar issue with the condensate container actually overflowing after a two week summer holiday. The fridge gets switched off and all the ice that inevitably forms on the cooling fins within the unit melts and drains away to then sit in the container unable to evaporate as the fridge is no longer in use!

 

The spilt water caused some MDF cabinet work to 'blow' and look rater unsightly.

 

Latterly, if an excess of ice built on the fins, my temporary solution was to lay several sheets of kitchen paper in the drain area and periodically remove, wring and replace. This seemed to do the trick. I double checked the condensate tub by removing the lower exterior vent cover and used a rag to soak up any residual water. Don't attempt to chip the ice off the fins, this will only cause unsightly damage.

 

A drain tube would negate all this messing about!

 

Jon

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I've taken the tube out of the dish and poked it through the vent grill so it drains outside permanently

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I've taken the tube out of the dish and poked it through the vent grill so it drains outside permanently

 

Exactly what we've done on our Thetford N150 fridge. Some have criticised this arrangement on other forums saying the overflow pipe may freeze and cause a blockage but we've been using the fridge in -5 degC outside temp and no way is it going to block up as the amount of condensate is so small. FWIW, the Thetford N series AES fridges have an auto defrost system, at least that's what Thetford tell me.

2019 Adria Adora Thames

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Any chanced of photos of this so we can all do it? Also how do you get to the back of the fridge to do this and check the condensate tray? Pull the fridge out?

Graham

Unless otherwise stated all posts are my personal opinion 

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Any chanced of photos of this so we can all do it? Also how do you get to the back of the fridge to do this and check the condensate tray? Pull the fridge out?

I'll take a photo later, the grill comes off on my senator quite easily and the tube was just long enough; I'll post drekly

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Any chanced of photos of this so we can all do it? Also how do you get to the back of the fridge to do this and check the condensate tray? Pull the fridge out?

 

Access is generally from the outside of the 'van through the fridge vent.

2019 Adria Adora Thames

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Thanks all

Graham

Unless otherwise stated all posts are my personal opinion 

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Thanks all

Ere tis, my tube is quite long, you can see the little dish at the bottom which used to overflow and splash about going down farm tracks, it now harmlessly drips outside

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post-55551-0-22160600-1420214720_thumb.jpg

post-55551-0-39559800-1420214738_thumb.jpg

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Thanks sleepy. A project for come Springtime.

Graham

Unless otherwise stated all posts are my personal opinion 

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How do you get the water from the little tub at the bottom up the tube?

Car - Range Rover Autobiography and a Range Rover Vogue
Caravan - 2015 Compass Rallye 644 with Isabella Commodore, Isabella Magnum Coal 250 and Isabella Eclipse
Trailer - Sankey Mk3 Widebody

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How do you get the water from the little tub at the bottom up the tube?

The water runs down the tube from the freezer and, in it's original position, into the tub, not the other way round :blink::)

Ford Kuga Powershift AWD. Bailey Senator Indiana Series 6

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Ah ok. So the tube bypasses the original tub.

 

Is this on all Dometic fridges? I also have a series 8. It's the full height one with the single door and removable freezer door thing.

Car - Range Rover Autobiography and a Range Rover Vogue
Caravan - 2015 Compass Rallye 644 with Isabella Commodore, Isabella Magnum Coal 250 and Isabella Eclipse
Trailer - Sankey Mk3 Widebody

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Thanks sleepy. A project for come Springtime.

Did sombody mention my name :D

Willerby Avonmore previous kit VW Splitty Camper,Ford Transit Camper, Commer Highwayman, Sprite Alpine Caravan, Rapids Export Folding Caravan, Fiat Autosleeper Harmony, Ci Granduca Motorhome, McLouis Glen 432 Motorhome, American RV Trail-Lite twin slide outs 8.2ltr petrol/lpg, Lunar Solaris Limited Edition Caravan.

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Ah ok. So the tube bypasses the original tub.

 

Is this on all Dometic fridges? I also have a series 8. It's the full height one with the single door and removable freezer door thing.

That's right.

I'm not sure, your fridge is a newer version than ours. Should be able to see if you remove the outside vent

Ford Kuga Powershift AWD. Bailey Senator Indiana Series 6

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  • 1 year later...

A very helpful thread as totally forgotten that we had this issue. We collect our new caravan with its Dometic 8551 fridge and on checking it did not work on gas. We used it on EHU several times with breaks of 3 - 4 days and then at beginning of September we stayed on one site for two weeks.

Towards the end of the two weeks we noticed that there seemed to a larger than normal build up of ice. Anyway the night before we were leaving the wife defrosted the fridge and then wiped it down so that it was clean and dry. the next morning we set off to the dealer as they had to do a few repairs to the caravan.

On arrival at the dealership, while I went to find the workshop tech the wife went inside the caravan only to find a pool of water in front of the fridge. She wiped it up and we thought nothing more about it until I read another thread yesterday about a small container at the rear of the fridge and then the penny dropped.

On doing a search this morning I came across this thread and it seems we need the modification and we may also have an issue with the seal on the fridge as I think a poor seal will cause the build up of more ice than normal? I have notified the delaership as the caravan is still with them at present.

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See below

Edited by Alan Stanley

Kia KX 3 auto / Bailey Alicanto Grande Estoril and Swift Challenger 570 (2010 model Not towed - used as a static)
 

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It's a simple mod and has been discussed at length on various forums. Manufacturers to date have the attitude nothing to do with us, which is inexcusable.

 

All my fridges have now been modified (with full approval) and the pipe extended to drain outside. In the current unicorn 3 the lower fridge vent even has a proper molded holder for the pipe so that it is held in place and any water runs straight outside.

 

Quick trip to any fish tank people or ebay search. 5 mins to pull off old pipe. Cut new to length and fit. End of problem. Any dealer that already has your van should throw it in for free.

 

Yes a poor door seal will cause a build up of ice.

Kia KX 3 auto / Bailey Alicanto Grande Estoril and Swift Challenger 570 (2010 model Not towed - used as a static)
 

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oh dear, more things to worry about. Will it help the situation to put a towel under the fins when you defrost and also how much water are you talking about with condensation?

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oh dear, more things to worry about. Will it help the situation to put a towel under the fins when you defrost and also how much water are you talking about with condensation?

I don't think that will help as the liquid collects in a bowl at the rear and slops out when the caravan is being towed even though the fridge it perfectly dry and clean.

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I don't think that will help as the liquid collects in a bowl at the rear and slops out when the caravan is being towed even though the fridge it perfectly dry and clean.

I may be a being a bit thick but how does the water get to the bowl. I thought that most of it was from the ice on the fins.

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