Why is My Refrigerator Leaking Water & 4 Ways to Fix it

Why Is My Refrigerator Leaking Water? Summary

Have you spotted a pool of water underneath or inside your refrigerator and wondered, “Why is my refrigerator leaking water?”

I know it can be stressing to see this pool of water even after you wipe it with a rag or towel. So, what exactly is the cause of this leaking water, and how can you fix it?

Read our article today to learn more about why refrigerators leak water and how you can fix it.

Why is My Refrigerator Leaking Water: Reasons Why!

The answer:¬†Generally, it’s normal to find a pool of water or frost buildup under the refrigerator, inside it, in the freezer, or at the bottom of the chilling section. This can happen due to a clogged defrost drain, a damaged drain pan, clogged ice maker, a damaged door seal, or a faulty evaporator fan.

But where does this water come from?

You have to learn how a refrigerator works to understand why this occurs in all refrigerators. We’ll not get into this as much in this article, but here’s a video resource that can help you understand the refrigeration cycle in a refrigerator.

Basically, a refrigerator uses a refrigerant to keep the device and everything you store in it cool.

During the refrigeration cycle, the evaporator coils, located on the back or bottom of the refrigerator (depending on the model) usually use a fan to pull in hot air from the device.

The refrigerant then takes in the hot air and removes it via the condenser coils.

However, the problem with the refrigerant is that it can only take in a specific amount of heat at a given time. So, any excess moisture condensates (since the surface area within the fridge/freezer is cold) and drains out of the unit via the drain hole (located at the bottom of the freezer and chiller) into a tray (normally referred to as a drain pan) located at the bottom of the fridge.

An Image of a Drain Pan

If this drain hole is clogged, frost will form on the evaporator coils, the floor of the fridge, around the ice maker, and inside the freezer. Some of the water will also spill to the floor of the fridge and you might notice a pool of water underneath the fridge if it’s in plenty.

Also, a damaged drain pan may not be able to handle or evaporate the excess water, which is why you’ll find some water underneath the floor.

How to Stop My Refrigerator From Leaking Water

While seeing a pool of water under the refrigerator for several days can be frustrating, you can stop your refrigerator from leaking water. But before you call a HVAC technician or open up your fridge to clear the clog on the refrigeration, it’s proper to take some measures first.

These include:

1. Make sure your fridge stands on a level ground

One of the reasons your refrigerator could be leaking water is because it’s not on a level ground. According to Newair, a reputable brand in the HVAC industry, you should not transport your refrigerator¬† on its side to prevent the refrigerant oil from flowing into the compressor.

Samsung goes on to state that you should place a refrigerator on leveled-legs to prevent:

  • Leaking issues
  • Cooling issues
  • Noise issues
  • And damage to the refrigerator

Meaning, this could be one of the reasons why your refrigerator is leaking water. So, take time to check if you’ve installed your refrigerator on a flat surface. If not, straighten the legs to see if the leaking problem ceases.

2. Maintain proper food storage practices

I never used to understand why my wife would wait for her groceries to dry up before storing the food in the refrigerator. Later, I understood that she did this to allow them to dry up before storing them to prevent moisture from forming on the inside – potentially leading to water leakage.

According to Beko, you should also:

  • Cover groceries with paper towels
  • Wait for hot food to cool down before storing it in the fridge
  • Food stuffs with liquid should be stored in proper containers

If doing the above two things doesn’t stop water from spilling in the inside or on the floor, then the leakage could be happening due to the following reasons:

  • A clogged evaporator coil
  • A damaged evaporator fan or drain pain
  • A clogged/blocked drain hole

3. Don’t leave your refrigerator doors open for long

don't leave the door open for too long

If your refrigerator is still cooling the food inside, it’s always good to not leave your refrigerator door open for long.

Doing so gives room for air with moisture to get into the refrigerator. Your fridge will therefore have to work extra hard to remove excess hot air and the excess moisture will remain inside the fridge. Hence, the reason why your refrigerator is leaking water.

Also, if there’s dirt on the door seals, be sure to clean it. The dirt could be the reason why excess air is entering into the fridge.

4. Use the Right Temperature Setting

The recommended temperature setting for a fridge is temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit(anywhere between 37 degrees Fahrenheit to 40 degrees Fahrenheit), while that of a freezer should be at or below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Appropriate temperature setting prevents frost buildup, especially if the refrigerator is too cold, that could later block the drain lines. Again, when the refrigerator is not cold enough, hot air can release excess moisture, which can form a pool of water once it condensates.

image of a drain hole and drain line in a fridge

DIY Tips on Fixing Water Leakage in a Fridge

I normally see people on the internet remove the blockage by themselves since it’s not difficult. However, if it’s the first time you are seeing this problem and you don’t want to damage your refrigerator, you can call a qualified technician.

For those who would like to solve the leakage problem by themselves, here’s what you need to do.

Tools you’ll need:

  • A clean towel to wipe the water
  • A steamer/ dryer/ hot water to defrost any ice on the drain holes
  • Screw driver set to open different screws

The process:

  1. Unplug the refrigerator from the main socket to prevent electrocution.
  2. Remove all the food stuffs and store them in a safe place.
  3. Once you do this, remove any frost ice inside the fridge using the steamer or dryer.
  4. You can also check the evaporator coils to see if you can spot any ice on them. Remove them using a spatula or any other tool that may not damage the coils.
  5. You can also use the steamer or dryer to remove any ice from the drain holes. If there’s dirt in the drain lines, remove it from its position, clean it, and then return it back to its original position.
  6. Also, while at it, check to see if the drain pan or the evaporator fan or motor is broken. If it is, find a replacement.

Here’s a video tutorial you can use for reference.

How to Differentiate Between a Refrigerant Leak and Refrigerator Leaking Water (Bonus point)

Before we conclude it’s good to discuss this because I see this question in various forums.

Leaking water doesn’t have any smell. Hence, you can solve this problem using the process we mention above. However, for a refrigerant leak, you’ll notice several things. These include:

  • Your refrigerator will not be efficient at cooling
  • You’ll notice refrigerant lubricant coming out on one of the vents
  • You’ll hear a hissing sound if it’s a pinhole leak
  • You can detect a refrigerant smell, especially if the leakage has been happening for some time now: Refrigerants have a ethereal smell

If you suspect that your refrigerant is leaking, it’s important that you call a HVAC technician. Don’t try any DIY techniques you learn on the internet.

Conclusion

That’s all for today. We hope this article answers the question, ‘why is my refrigerant leaking water’ in full. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.