The refrigerator is an essential kitchen appliance, and when it’s faulty, it causes frustrating inconveniences. One main sign of refrigerator malfunction is water leakage. Since it can cause falls, electric shocks or damage to your kitchen floor, this issue requires immediate attention.
Because water leaks don’t cause noticeable effects to the fridge’s functionality, you might be tempted to ignore them. This isn’t a good idea since the problem won’t go away on its own. Therefore, you need to investigate the source of water puddles around your fridge and fix the issue. Here are the most common causes of refrigerator leaks.
1. Blocked Defrost Drain
If the leak comes from the lower front part of the freezer door, you could be dealing with a blocked defrost drain. A fridge runs on a freezing and defrosting cycle that creates condensation. The excess moisture flows down the defrost line into the drain pan underneath the refrigerator where it evaporates. If food particles, ice or other debris blocks the drain line, it restricts the flow of water, which ends up spilling out.
Unplug the refrigerator and read through the user manual to guide you in locating the drain tube. Once you find it, remove the top part of the drain outlet and flush it with warm water to clear the blockage. If this fails to work, call an experienced professional to assess the problem further.
2. The Appliance Is Inappropriately Positioned
If you recently moved your refrigerator to a new location and noticed some water leaks, it could be tilted improperly. Ideally, the condensation should run from the fridge’s interior into the drip pan. If the refrigerator tilts forward, the water will miss the pan and spill out.
You should always keep your fridge positioned correctly for the condensation to run properly. The back part of the appliance should be around ¼ inch closer to the floor than the front. Try unscrewing the front legs and raising them slightly to increase their height, and then tilt the appliance slightly backward to align the drain line with the pan.
3. A Faulty Door Seal
Sometimes, a refrigerator leak could result from excess condensation if the door fails to close tightly. The primary purpose of the door seal is to prevent warm air from entering the fridge. If the fridge door stays open for a while, the appliance will have to work extra hard to maintain the required temperature, and this increases the level of condensation produced.
When food particles and dirt accumulate on the seal, they can limit the seals’ ability to give the door a tight closure. Wash the rubber seal with warm water and soap to remove the sticky buildup. Leaning your fridge slightly backward will also help the door to seal properly.
4. You Could Be Dealing With a Leaky Icemaker
If your fridge contains an icemaker, water can leak due to poor plumbing connections. Sometimes it happens if the water line becomes loose, misaligned or kinked. Water leaks can also occur if the seals and plastic hoses crack. Shut off the water supply to the ice maker, tighten connections and replace damaged hoses or valves. If the problem persists, contact a professional to help you out.
5. The Fridge Has a Frozen Water Supply Line
For refrigerators with a water dispenser or ice maker, if the water supply line freezes, it can cause water to puddle beneath the appliance. In such a case, unplug the fridge and pull it away from the wall. Locate the supply line and look for leaks, clogs or kinks.
Tighten the seal around the connection point. If you see some translucent blockages, this can be ice. Leave the fridge unplugged for about two hours to melt the ice and clear away the clog. If the water line is completely damaged, it’s time to buy a replacement.
6. Cracked or Damaged Drain Pan
If the drain pan cracks or becomes damaged, it can cause water to trickle down the fridge. This can also happen due to the improper positioning of the drain pan. Take out the grille at the bottom of the refrigerator, and you will see a large, flat pan. Pull it out carefully and inspect it for damage.
While the pan should have some water, it shouldn’t be more than a third full. If it’s beyond this, there could be a problem with your unit. You should replace a damaged pan as soon as possible to reduce the risks of water overflow. If it isn’t damaged, position it correctly.
7. Bad Water Filter Connection
Some modern refrigerators come with a water filter to purify drinking water. Such filters require changing after several months. If you install them improperly, water may seep out onto the floor. This can also happen when you install the wrong size filter. A poor connection between the filter and supply line or a cracked seal can cause water leakage. The solution is to remove the filter and replace it with one recommended by the appliance’s manufacturer.
8. Wrong Storage of Food
The way you store your food in the fridge can also lead to water leaks. If you have more moist foods, they can increase the volume of moisture content in the interior part of the fridge. As a result, more condensation will form, increasing the chances of leaks. Additionally, when you place too many food items near the rear wall of the fridge, it causes more moisture to drip down into the salad drawer. When it accumulates, water will begin seeping out from the front door.
9. Extremely Humid Conditions
If you live in a high-humidity area, the weather conditions can also affect your refrigerator. Once the moist air gets into the fridge and comes into contact with the cold environment, condensation forms quickly, and it can even overfill the drain pan. You will then begin to see water puddles on the floor. In such a case, the solution is to empty the drain pan manually from time to time on humid days to prevent leakage. You can also install dehumidifiers in your kitchen to lower the moisture content.
Whether it’s just some simple dripping or a significant pool, you shouldn’t ignore refrigerator leaks. They signify an issue within the appliance. Some of these can be resolved with minor fixes, but others require a professional approach. Troubleshooting the cause of the leak can take some time, but by following this guide, you should be able to spot the issue sooner and restore your appliance’s normal functioning. If you can’t spot the problem, it’s a good idea that you seek professional assistance. Fixing the leaks promptly will help prevent further damage that can lead to expensive repairs or replacement of the refrigerator.
If a poor plumbing or line connection is the cause of your refrigerator leak, you can always reach out to Christian Brothers AC, Plumbing & Electrical. We specialize in pipe inspection, drain repair, repiping, kitchen plumbing and water filtration services. Our company also handles AC and heating system installation, repair and maintenance services. In addition, you can depend on us for electrical inspection, installation, repair and replacement in the Phoenix area. Get in touch with us today to book an appointment and try out our services.