Have you noticed a puddle of water forming around the bottom of your fridge? Don’t panic. A leaking fridge is a common problem, with easy quick fixes.
But if your fridge is left leaking water onto the floor for too long, it can cause a lot of staining and gunk to build-up underneath. And if you have laminate or wooden flooring, the water leak can cause rot. Obviously, it’s a problem that needs to be solved, fast.
Like most appliances, there is a certain level of cleaning maintenance required – not just to keep things looking shinny and new, but to keep them operating optimally. More often than not simply cleaning a few key parts of your fridge can solve your leak problem, but today, we’ll cover four possible issues to help pinpoint the problem and get it fixed.
1. Blocked Drain Hole
A blocked drain is the most common culprit behind the pool of water under your fridge freezer. It is a tiny opening that gets clogged by small food debris, ice, or mould.
Inside your fridge, at the back, there is a panel that goes through a cycle of freezing and defrosting. This process causes lots of water droplets to run down the back wall of the fridge, and the water drains away through a small hole. Now, this hole can get blocked, causing the water to work its way to the base of the fridge, eventually finding it’s way through door seals and into the floor.
All you need to prevent this is to open the clogged drain using a drain hole cleaning tool, which you would have got with your fridge. If you’ve lost this tool, then you can buy a replacement online or use a plastic straw or wire, or flush with hot water. Once unblocked, the water can drain away properly.
It’s important to not allow items stored in the fridge to be pressed onto the back wall, as this can obstruct the flow of water from freely moving to the drain hole. Water can be tricky, in that it finds ways to work around objects and move in unwanted directions.
At this point your drain hole is unblocked, and now your wondering – where does the water go? Well, the water drains through the hole and down a pipe, which leads to a tray at the bottom of the fridge, usually just above the condenser unit, where the water evaporates.
And that brings us to another possibility for your water leak – an overflowing or leaking drip tray.
2. Leaking Drip Tray
We’ve just discussed how the defrosted water melts and drains away through a hole at the back of the fridge. The water works its way down a pipe which leads to a drip tray where the water collects and eventually evaporates, helped by the warmth from the compressor.
To get to the drip tray you’ll need access to the back of the refrigerator. This will be quite easy with a freestanding fridge, but an integrated fridge will be more challenging as you’ll have to remove doors and such.
Before you start, make sure the power to the fridge is switched off. Then, carefully pull the fridge out and away from the wall so that you can get to the back if it, trying not to tilt the fridge too much.
Sometimes, this drip tray can become filled with muck and gunk, causing it to overflow. Also, the tray could have a crack or damage somewhere which is causing a leak. Give the tray a good clean and inspect for damage.
Check the pipe that fills the tray from the fridge, sometimes this can have a blockage. This is easily cleared using a wire or similar. Test to see if the drain pipe is clear by pouring some water down the drain hole inside the fridge. You should see the water exit the pipe and into the tray.
Also, check that the drain pipe is in the correct position, draining into the tray and not the floor. Sometimes this pipe is connected to the tray itself. In this case, check for leaks where the pipe connects to the tray.
If you’ve had your fridge for many years, this may be the first time you’ve seen this drip pan – be prepared, because it might smell bad and be full of nasty mould and slime.
The above are two universal fixes that will work across all models. It doesn’t matter if you fridge is made by Beko, Hotpoint, Bosch, or Smeg – they all work the same way where water runs down a wet-wall at the back of the fridge, and drains away to a pan at the back of the fridge. The design and cooling system will look different, but they serve the same purpose.
Remember, the key is to have any water drain away and evaporate as efficiently as possible. Your fridge is not plumbed into any mains water supply (unless you have a plumed American style fridge) so water formation is usually going to be down to condensation or defrosting. By helping your fridge manage these processes, you’ll keep the water where it should be and away from the floor.
3. Punctured Door Seals
Check the rubber seals around the fridge door for splits or cracks. These door seals can become worn from frequently opening and closing the fridge door, causing a burst and cold air to leak out. The humidity from the cold air mixing with warm air can cause droplets of water to form on the outside of the fridge. These water droplets will naturally work their way down the fridge with gravity, and onto the floor where a puddle can form.
Rubber door seals – sometimes called gaskets – form an air tight barrier. A broken seal will make your fridge work harder as it tries to compensate for this loss of cold air, making it less energy efficient. Further, excessive condensation can form inside the fridge that will leak out of the broken door seal.
Thankfully, replacing the seal is simple. First, contact the manufacturer for a replacement. When your new seals arrive, simply pull the old ones off. The new seals are pushed into place, starting at the corners and working around – job done!
4. Leaking Fridge Water Dispenser
If you’re lucky enough to have a fridge with a fancy water dispenser, then give it a check over to see if the leak is coming from there. keep in mind, all it takes is a tiny leak – the smallest drop – that’s not very noticeable to gradually turn into a flood on the ground. If you have found or suspect that your dispenser system has sprung a leak, then it will require professional attention. Give your manufacturer a call for a repair.
That concludes our guide on helping you resolve your leaking fridge problem. Hopefully you want need to mop up the water from the floor around your fridge any more.