10 Main Culprits of Refrigerator Leaks

A refrigerator is among the most important appliances in many homes. Although many units can last for a couple of years, refrigerators need occasional repairs or maintenance like any other appliance. Unfortunately, a common problem with these appliances is leaks. A leaking fridge can be frustrating and costly if not solved fast. The good news is that various DIY tests can help you identify the leading causes of many fridge leaks. Below are some common fridge problems that might be triggering leaks and what you need to do to fix them.

1. Faulty Water Inlet

Fridges with water dispensers or ice makers come with water supply lines. A damaged water inlet is one of the common culprits of a leaking refrigerator. You might also notice slow ice production or water flow when the water line is malfunctioning.

If the water line is made of plastic, it might become brittle and even crack with time. On the other hand, copper lines can bend and fail, especially if your fridge is jarred. If you suspect your water inlet is malfunctioning, have a professional check the line to ascertain whether a replacement or a repair is the best solution.

2. Drain Pan Issues

If your fridge is self-defrosting, it comes with a drain pan found beneath the appliance. Water generated from defrost cycles usually flows into this pan through the drain line. However, the drain shouldn’t overflow or get emptied because the appliance blows warm air across the pan to evaporate the collected water.

While it’s not common, a drain pan can develop cracks, allowing the accumulated water to leak out before it evaporates. If the defrost drain has no problems, have a professional examine the drain pan for some cracks or any other damage. Damaged drain pans need immediate replacements to avoid more issues.

3. Clogged Drain Line

A refrigerator has a drainage system that pulls water out of the unit through tubes. That allows the water to collect and evaporate from the drain pain located beneath the fridge. Sometimes, food particles can penetrate the drain tubes, resulting in clogs. These clogs can block condensation flow out your fridge, leading to water leaks.

Push a pipe cleaner or plastic tube through the drain tubes to unblock the drainage system. However, you should avoid putting sharp items into the tubes. To check whether you’ve cleared the clogs, make a mild mixture of water, soap, and ammonia, and push the concoction down the drain tube using a turkey baster. An unclogged drain line will result in the mixture collecting in the fridge’s drain pan underneath the appliance.

4. Misaligned Refrigerator

The other reason for refrigerator leaks is improper leveling or misalignment. For your fridge to cool properly, the front part needs to be slightly higher than its back. If the refrigerator is incorrectly leveled, it will have to work harder to cool efficiently. This strain creates more condensation around all the condenser coils, leaking water on your floor.

If you recently remodeled your floors or newly installed your fridge, your unit might not be appropriately leveled and need adjusting. First, place a carpenter’s level on your floor to check if the fridge is balanced correctly. If not, remove the unit’s grill, and adjust its rollers and legs using a screwdriver. If you’re not comfortable adjusting it yourself, you can hire an appliance technician to do it for you.

5. Blocked Airways

Stuffing a lot of food into your fridge compartment can easily block the airways between the freezer and cooler. If the unit’s ventilation system is blocked, the ice can begin melting, causing water leakages.

Check the cold vent holes located on the two compartments of your fridge to see if they’re sealed. Avoid storing a lot of food items in the cupboard, and arrange groceries and food in your fridge properly. This way, your refrigerator will be able to cool efficiently, save energy, and preserve food for longer.

6. Ice Maker Problems

The water inlet that connects to the ice maker can become loose or damaged with time. This may result in leaks that come in the form of water pools beneath your refrigerator. The plastic casing that houses your ice maker might also break or crack, creating pressure that brings another form of leak.

Check the water inlet that goes into your ice maker, especially the parts that go to the back of the fridge, for dampness or any other sign of problems. If the ice maker’s supply line has an issue, it can cause leaks and water pools on your floor. Contact an appliance service near you to check and tighten the water inlet or to replace it.

7. Water Filter Problems

Connection issues between the water filter and water supply line can cause leakages for fridges that come with filtering systems. Check the filter assembly and housing for dripping water. Sometimes, you might see water running inside the refrigerator or outside the water filter if the filter is the source of the leaking problem. Replace the water filter immediately according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Ensure that you purchase the right water filter for your refrigerator to avoid worse or even more severe issues.

8. Door Seal Issues

A refrigerator seal prevents warm air from accessing the cold environment of the unit. However, a faulty seal or an accumulation of dirt or food on the seal can hinder the proper closure of the freezer door. That might trigger more condensation, which may eventually cause leakages. If that is the case, clean the door seal or replace it if necessary.

9. Faulty Temperature Control

Have you noticed erratic temperatures in your refrigerator lately? If these temperatures are coupled with leaks, you might be dealing with a faulty thermostat that needs a replacement or repairs. Have an appliance specialist diagnose the problem thoroughly and make the necessary recommendations.

10. Food Stored Inappropriately

Storing a lot of high-moisture food items in your refrigerator can increase moisture in your freezer’s interior. Your appliance might also leak if foods are leaning against the back wall of your freezer. Water will flow to your salad drawer, and it will later go out through the fridge’s front door.

Summing Up

Finding the culprit after spotting a refrigerator leak can appear like a challenging task at first. The good news is that the reasons and DIY tests highlighted above will help you determine the exact cause of the leaks. All the DIY adjustments and fixes discussed here are also simple, and you can safely do them yourself. However, if you have tried them but you continue seeing water collecting under or near your refrigerator, it’s time to contact an appliance specialist.

Apart from being quite frustrating, moisture leaks can significantly shorten the lifespan of your fridge. That’s because it causes rust and even interferes with the operation of the unit’s fan. If your appliance is leaking coolant, consult a professional immediately because coolant is quite toxic and needs to be disposed of properly. Furthermore, if refrigerator leaks aren’t handled fast, you might end up replacing the unit entirely.

Reactive Plumbing offers high-quality plumbing services in Sydney and the Hill’s District. Our services include plumbing maintenance, blocked drains, backflow prevention, tap repair, installation and water quality solutions. Call today to schedule professional plumbing service! We have financing specials and offer affordable rates.

Categories: Plumbing


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