Defrosted our upright freezer today (oh joy). Finishing up, and I notice water continuing to leak out the bottom of the door panel. Feel around, and some plastic bits kinda fall apart, and some of the pieces push into two 1/2" holes in the door panel. I try blowing out as much water as I can with the shop vac, but it keeps dripping - I'm guessing there was ice built up inside the door panel that was still melting.
I'm not sure what these plugs are for, since they are broken up. But they look more complex than just hole plugs. I suspect they are some sort of one-way valve? These appear to vent through to holes in the inside door panel, maybe it lets air get sucked up and into the freezer to avoid a vacuum as it cools after closing the door? Maybe that vacuum would suck in the gasket and break the seal? I was thinking that they were to let condensation drip out at the same time, but that would drip on the floor - no drip pan under there, so I don't think so.
Found a repair site for the unit, but the drawing did not detail these plugs. I've just shoved towels under the door for now to block them but still allow some air to leak in.
FRIGIDAIRE FU161JRW3 Door parts
So I'm not sure what to do. It's 20 years old, was a 'high efficiency' model for it's day (rated at $66/year at $.08 electric rates - not worth upgrading unless it is broke, IMO), and never gave any problem other than once the thermostat stuck on after a defrost ( I think water dripped into it, and then froze and busted it - I take it apart and blow it dry each time now).
If I plug them, I'm afraid the suspected one-way valve function is needed. If I leave a small hole, looks like cold air will leak out. Now that I think of it, I bet that plug just relies on gravity to close it, and lets air get sucked up, but gravity just lets it fall closed to prevent cold air from leaking out too much... I suppose I could rig up a little flapper to do that - or are these things available?