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Refrigerator leaking water? Here’s how to fix it

leaking-fridge

 

A leaky refrigerator can be more than a nuisance; it is also a safety threat if the puddles of water are not dealt with properly. Water leaks can make the kitchen floor slippery and lead to electric issues. 

If your refrigerator constantly leaks water or makes noises, you might consider replacing it. However, try cleaning your fridge or making a temperature adjustment before finding a replacement. It may just do the trick.

This article will go through some of the most frequent causes of refrigerator leaks and how to identify and repair them.

 

Most common causes of a refrigerator leaking water

Your refrigerator is one of the few appliances in your home that runs all the time. 

You mustn’t overlook a leaking fridge because water damage can cost you a ton in floor repairs and other expenses. Additionally, your refrigerator is where you store your food, so you don’t want any mishaps happening there!

Fortunately, fixing a leaky refrigerator can be simple if you know where to look. Let’s review the most common causes of why your refrigerator could be leaking water.

causes-of-refrigerator-leaking-water

 

Blocked defrost drain

Your fridge should have an opening inside the freezer compartment near the bottom back wall. This drain hole might get blocked when items stack against it or food particles clog the line. When this happens, there will be an ice buildup in the defrost drain, and the fridge condenser coils need to work extra hard to release heat to keep your fridge cool.

How to fix it

A clogged defrost drain is one of the most common causes of a leaking refrigerator. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution for troubleshooting this common problem at home. Follow these steps to unclog a blocked defrost drain:

  1. Remove any frozen food items that are covering the defrost drain. Make a clear pathway from the drain opening to the ceiling and wait a day to see whether this resolves the issue.
  2. If the leaking persists, empty the freezer, disconnect it, and remove the cap from the defrost drain.
  3. Take a turkey baster, fill it with hot water, and squirt it down the drain. This tactic should melt the frozen water in the line, and you should be able to use the fridge again. You may need to clear the drain pan manually if any blockages remain.
  4. If you still can’t see any further water come out from the drain, the blockage might still be there. Unplug the refrigerator, remove it from the wall, and manually inspect the drain line. This line travels from the freezer to the bottom of the refrigerator. Use a pipe cleaner or bottle brush to unclog it.

 

Blocked water line

Your refrigerator’s water line is usually a clear nylon pipe about a quarter-inch thick. Water-supply lines can also be braided nylon or copper. If your fridge has a cold-water dispenser or an ice maker, there’s a chance that the water-supply line has a leak or is bent, causing your refrigerator to leak water from the back onto the kitchen floor.

If the water-supply line is torn or has a hole, you should consider replacing it. Water seeping from the ice maker’s water-supply line can pool beneath your refrigerator and travel to the front, making it seem like the water is leaking from inside your fridge. The water supply line connects to the refrigerator and a shut-off valve via compression fittings.

Your shut-off valve is usually installed under a sink in the kitchen or your basement, while the compression fittings will be ringlike fittings that join the two pipes or tubes together.

How to fix it

Be sure to check your water line from time to time. If you notice that it’s clogged, follow these steps to clear a blocked water line:

  1. Unplug your fridge and move it away from the wall.
  2. Look for the water-supply line. This tube should be clear nylon, braided nylon or copper. The water-supply line should be near the bottom of your fridge. 
  3. Check the supply line for any dirt or debris. If it’s blocked, clear the line with a long-handled brush or pliers.
  4. Tighten the connection points using a crescent wrench or screwdriver if you smell or detect a leak around them. Reconnect everything and check for leaks after a couple of hours.
  5. If you still experience water leaks, the problem may be with the water line itself. Turn off both the main water supply and the water-supply line between your house and your refrigerator.
  6. Once the main water supply is off, replace the water line. If the problem persists, you might need assistance from a plumber to fix the problem.

 

Dirty drain pan

The drain pan is one of the most important components of your refrigerator. The primary function of the drain pan is to remove any excess water from the defrost cycle and send it to evaporate in the evaporator coils of your refrigerator.

Dirt might build up in the pan, obstructing the defrost cycle and causing a refrigerator leak.

How to fix it

Dirty drain pans can lead to potential problems for other components of your fridge. Fortunately, there’s an easy fix. Follow these steps to clean a dirty drain pan in a few minutes:

  1. Make space for cleaning by removing the ice drawer from one side of the fridge. Take away its plastic cover or any panels limiting access to it.
  2. Use a turkey baster, cup or pot, and pour warm water into the pan’s overflow hole.
  3. Use an old rag and dip it in warm water. Use the rag to wipe down all sides of the dirty area. When done, pour more warm water over the area until you see a clear liquid coming out.

 

Refrigerator sitting unevenly

It’s not necessary for your refrigerator to be perfectly level. In reality, the front of the refrigerator should be slightly higher for the coolant to flow correctly. Condensation can build and generate puddles underneath the fridge if the coolant does not flow correctly. 

Problems with an uneven refrigerator are more likely to occur when you first purchase it. A refrigerator could also become imbalanced if you move it.

How to fix it

If you have a large refrigerator, you might need someone to help you move it to make it even. Once you’re sure that you can move the refrigerator safely, follow these steps:

  • Find a level to check exactly how uneven your fridge is.
  • Remember to put the level on the floor of the refrigerator and not on a drawer or shelf.
  • If your fridge is uneven, you might need to adjust its legs. To do this, it could be best to seek assistance from a professional.

 

High humidity

If you live in an area with an exceptionally humid climate, your refrigerator could be more prone to leaking. The cold air inside your fridge mixes with the humid air outside until it condenses into water. The excess condensation fills the drain pan fairly quickly, causing this water to leak onto your kitchen floor. Not only is this a big hassle to clean, but it can also lead to mold growth, which is harmful to your health.

How to fix it

On humid days, you can manually clear the drain pan to keep moisture out of the refrigerator. This step will reduce or prevent leaks. If this doesn’t work — or if you don’t notice any condensation — try installing a dehumidifier to decrease the overall moisture levels in your house.

 

Refrigerator repair FAQ

You might be wondering how much refrigerator repairs cost or whether the leakage from your refrigerator is toxic. Suppose you aren’t great at DIY projects or don’t have the knowledge of how your refrigerator works. In that case, it can be easy to overlook issues that could lead to structural damage and additional expenses.

Fortunately, we’ve answered some frequently asked questions here so that you’re aware of quick fixes for when you identify this problem in your home. In this section, let’s look at some of the most commonly asked questions regarding refrigerator leaks and repairs.

Is a fridge leaking water dangerous?

If your refrigerator leaks water onto your kitchen floor, it can be hazardous. Someone who doesn’t notice the water could slip and fall, leading to injuries. Water on the floor could also lead to electric shocks. Whether the leak is inside or outside your refrigerator, you must address the problem as quickly as possible.

Is water leaking from the fridge toxic?

Many fridges are raised slightly to enable the coolant to flow properly. If your fridge is improperly uneven, the coolant won’t be able to flow as it should, leading to condensation and puddles forming underneath your refrigerator. These puddles might not just contain water but coolant as well. If your fridge is leaking coolant, you should consult a professional immediately. Coolant is toxic, so you must carefully contain and dispose of it.

Are refrigerator repairs expensive?

Refrigerators use evaporative refrigerant chemicals to remain cool. The temperature of the refrigerant reduces as it evaporates from a liquid to a gas, keeping the compartments where your food is stored cool as well.

A compressor, condenser, evaporator, capillary tube, thermostat and sealed refrigerator box are required for the system to function properly. If any of these components fail, the entire refrigeration system can suffer.

If you need expert assistance with your refrigerator, you might be confused about whether to contact an appliance repair specialist or an HVAC technician. In truth, it depends on the problem at hand. An appliance repair specialist is more suited to fix an issue that seems more directly connected to the actual device, such as a problem with a control board or a thermostat. An HVAC technician might be the best choice if the problem is more complicated and involves the entire refrigerant system.

Refrigerator repair charges vary depending on the nature of the problem. If your refrigerator is old or an uncommon model, the cost could rise over the national average since replacement components might be difficult to come by.

Here’s a table showing the average prices of refrigerator repair charges in the United States:

Repair issue Average cost
Drip pan replacement $50 - $200
Door seal replacement $50 - $440
Control board replacement $80 - $800
Coils replacement $100 - $440
Thermostat replacement $100 - $440
Refrigerant leak repair $200 - $300
Refrigerant compressor replacement $200 - $450

 

Costly refrigerator repairs are covered under a Cinch warranty

You might be able to fix simple refrigerator issues if you are skilled in DIY repairs and want to get the job done on your own to avoid repair costs. Cleaning the coils, unclogging the defrost drain, and replacing a door gasket are relatively simple and basic DIY refrigerator repair jobs.

However, calling in a refrigerator repair professional is recommended if the problem lies with the mechanical portions of internal components, such as the coils or motor. If you find a refrigerant leak, the EPA requires that a licensed expert address it within 30 days.

Cinch Home Services home warranty plans cover refrigerators and other major appliances with award-winning services that help control home-protection costs and system breakdowns.

Cinch’s home warranty plans come with instant bookings backed by Cinch’s 180-day workmanship guarantee. Get an instant quote, and Cinch will offer you personalized coverage for your home. 

Choose from one of Cinch’s three warranty plans and get best-in-class home services today. Every Cinch plan comes with guaranteed service, designed to give you maximum coverage and peace of mind for your home protection.

 

If you have a leaking fridge, you need to address it ASAP. In this piece, we tell you about the most common reasons for leaking fridges and how to address them.