A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

DIY Refrigerator Repair

Remember that freezer I cleaned within an inch of its hairy-ass life the other day?

Turns out I broke that mofo.

Yeah… pretty much goes with the theme here this month: “If it ain’t broke, give it a minute and check again.”

I was standing in my kitchen few days after that cleaning frenzy when I heard the freezer straining to make ice, and then I heard a very distinct splashy noise followed by a drip-drip-drip sound. Great. Just. Frickin’. Great.

Luckily for me, it was Saturday and The Gatekeeper was home. We pulled the fridge out and saw that it had indeed been leaking in the back. Water was dripping down from the plastic hose that leads from the supply source to the top of the freezer compartment. The back of the freezer was all wet, as was the hardwood floor underneath the unit, and even the walls.

I quickly retraced my steps and it didn’t take a genius to figure out that I had just cleaned the freezer out about a week before and must have done something to break it. And guess what… the warranty on that so’mbitch JUST expired. Naturally, right?

And if you’ve already blown the monthly budget on things like a Shaklee basic cleaning kit, a Pampered Chef party, kennel fees for your dog’s unjust mandatory quarantine, and relocating your invisible fence, the last thing you want to do is put in a repair call to Sears.

What’s a handy, frugal, and stubborn woman like me to do in this situation? Especially with a pissed-off husband breathing down my neck and water pooling on my floor? Fix it myself, of course.

And I did.

So today for Just the Tip Tuesday, I’m going to teach you some basic refrigerator repair skills.

Friends, for today’s lesson, you are going to need the following supplies:

1.) a computer with Internet access

2.) a wrench

3.) a turkey baster and some very hot water

4.) a hair dryer

5.) some towels

6.) a ponytail holder or hairnet of some kind

So the first thing you do, other than cuss and holler at your spouse and kids, is turn off the water that leads to your leaking freezer.

Next, sit down with “the google.” What you want to do is run a search on a variety of key phrases such as “my freezer is leaking” and “DIY [insert brand name] refrigerator repair” and “refrigerator parts” and “fuck my life, do freezers need to be dirty and hairy to operate properly?”

You will find a variety of helpful and not so helpful articles. Read them. Read them all. Skimming is fine. [Warning: a strong command of the English language does not appear to be a prerequisite to refrigerator repair school.]

Based on my not-so-extensive research, I concluded that my freezer line was blocked. Apparently, it’s pretty common. I’m assuming this occurred because I had my freezer door open for so long while I was cleaning it out and ice melted and refroze around the freezer line and wiring. If this happens to you, here’s what you do next:

Unload your freezer completely, and take a second to admire again how hairless and clean it is.

Remove the ice bin and empty it out into your sink. This is going to take a while and you don’t want your ice to melt and then refreeze and clog the ice dispenser.

Then, unscrew the back panel inside the freezer to reveal the man behind the curtain.

You will see a bunch of wires and a copper/metal pipe. What I saw was a ginormous ice ball encasing those pipes and wires. That was my problem, right there. Pardon the lack of pictures, but I was in the zone.

Now here’s where that pony tail holder or hairnet comes in handy. If you have hair, like I do, you need to protect yourself from having your hair get stuck in the exposed fan that’s whirring away a million miles per hour in the back of your freezer. That effin’ hurts. I probably could have died.  Boy, what a story that would have been, eh? “Local housewife killed in tragic DIY freezer repair incident. News at eleven.” I probably should have had the big bald Italian Thorobred do this part, but I was feeling all butch and wanted the glory all to myself.

Take your turkey baster and your super hot water and repeatedly drip the hot water over the big-block-o-ice. This takes a while {20 minutes?}.

At some point, you will not be able to reach under some of the wiring back there to melt all the ice with the hot water and turkey baster method. Get out your hair dryer and blow the hottest air you can on the remaining ice. Again, protect your hair from the exposed fan blades. Der.

Once the ice is all melted, you can screw the hatch back on and reload your freezer. Go ahead and wipe out your ice bin with a non-toxic cleanser. I used Shaklee H2 All-Purpose spray. Love that stuff. Here’s where I learned about it. Here’s where I bought it.

Turn your water back on and then run about a gallon of water through the water dispenser on the fridge. This is important! You want to make sure all the water lines are open and that you’ve pushed all the air and ice through the pipes and tubes. If you feel bad about wasting so much water, save it and water your plants. Trust Iris on this. Sometimes I just know things.

Then cross your fingers that it’s fixed. If it is (like mine is!), do a little Superior Dance for your spouse and kids and be sure to let them know you just saved them about $200 in repairman fees. If it’s not, well, at least you tried, and hopefully nobody was hurt in the process. The number for Sears, just in case, is 1-800-424-2047.

Happy Tuesday!

your friend,


Disclosure: this post contains an ex post facto sponsored link to PartSelect.com. All opinions are my own. Also, I’m a comedy writer, not a licensed repair person. Please attempt all DIY projects at your own risk. The Bearded Iris will not be held responsible for DIY property destruction.

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.


  1. Becca

    Oh gosh. Once again, you are hilarious. I swear, I’m hooked. This is my new favorite place to check for random posts and a bit of humor. Please keep up these stories. Oh, and I apologize to you and your family for laughing so hard at all of these stories, but dang, girl, the way you tell them is just hilarious!!!

  2. Anne

    That DIY explanation is better than anything I’ve ever read on Google Iris. Who knows what you’re going to master next? LOL

  3. Megan

    Hey! Look at you, all fixin’ refrigerators and what not! Good job.

  4. TLC

    Proud of you! Hey, I’d marry you.

  5. Sue B

    Damn woman, you are HOT!!! One Hot Mama, that is!! Great job!! (And you didn’t even go to a lesbian college like I did!….. Or did you?) I fix all the plumbing in our house…. My DH is a dunce when it comes to that… however, he is my computer guru & I need him cause that’s where I’m dumb….

  6. Megan

    Oh… and I’m hosting Bunco tomorrow night, so any tips on cleaning my deep freezer or car would be welcome

  7. Joanne

    all I kept thinking as i read was… I hope she fixes it and saves a bucket of cash and goes shopping for spring clothes with all the $$ she would have given to Sears anyway. Now go shopping!

  8. melissa k

    you’re one blessed girl for two reasons, who unlike me is lucky for only one reason. our common reason for being blessed, our fridges recently broke but they waited to break either after (yours) or before (mine) a big party, which would have been a real inconvenience had they broken during the parties. and you have one up on me, you fixed your quick. i had to endure coolers and ice and all that mess from saturday until monday when i got a house call. but it’s all clean inside! so cheers to google, clean fridges/freezers, and the ingenious use of a turkey baster, blow dryer, and hair elastic. ice anyone?

  9. Erin

    Holy cow you are a handy mo’ fo’! 🙂 haha

  10. Kristen Kotrlik

    I bet your husband was so pleased that he slept on the wet spot last night!

    Way to go!!!!

  11. Rebekah


  12. Jellyhead

    Bow down before Iris. We are your minions.

    • The Bearded Iris

      I love the word minions… even though it reminds me of the word bunions, which I don’t love.

      • Rebekah

        There’s a restaurant near me called “Binions” – which is perhaps a bunion minion? In any case, it sounds disgusting.

        • Jellyhead

          Ewww…suddenly lost my love of the word minions. I will have to find a replacement. And I would NEVER eat at place called Binions. That’s just wrong.

  13. Susan S

    Oh my goodness! This happened to us about a month ago. I will try what you said, but I’m still in phase one of the repair job. Apparently you forgot to do the step that we ALWAYS start any repair job with. Yep, we went into denial. We did turn the water to the fridge off and sopped up the puddles. Then, we went on vacation. Uh huh… then, we returned and remembered the problem right away because the fridge was still pulled out from the wall. I pushed the fridge back so it would look right and we’ve been drinking tap water ever since. Soon, though, the time may be right for us to move on to your plan… You really shouldn’t rush these things.

  14. Carrie

    You inspired me!! I have a dehumidifier that has been acting up. My better half blew it out with the air compressor and insisted it was fixed. I am home ALLLL the time and knew it should be dehumidifying (??) better than it was. So, after reading this post I was convinced to fix the thing myself…and that’s what I did. I didn’t need all the supplies you suggested for your repair but amazingly, many I did need! I went at it…oh my WORD. The stuff that I pulled out of there was NASTY. I can’t believe that stuff is in the air we breath…we should all be dead!!! Anyway, I fixed it…seriously, I did. It was awesome! I was calling everyone to brag and listen to the sweet hummmm of my dehumidifier.
    But, you are really the one I need to thank. Thanks for the inspiration and the laughs.
    Carrie PS…the dehumidifier got so hot two days later that the motor burned up…oh well, at least I was inspired!

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