What Causes Leaking of Refrigerators?

If a refrigerator is leaking water, the first thing to do is find the source.

Condensation

The first possible source, and the easiest to identify, is condensation inside the refrigerated area. If there is a break in the door seal, or the door does not close completely, condensation can accumulate and leak onto the floor outside the unit. This situation is most likely to occur where outside air is very humid. You will see heavy condensation on both the interior walls of the refrigerator and on its contents.

If a refrigerator is leaking water, the first thing to do is find the source. The first possible source, and the easiest to identify, is condensation inside the refrigerated area. If there is a break in the door seal, or the door does not close completely, condensation can accumulate and leak onto the floor outside the unit. This situation is most likely to occur where outside air is very humid. You will see heavy condensation on both the interior walls of the refrigerator and on its contents.

Solution for Condensation

Correcting the problem may be as simple as rearranging contents of the refrigerator or adjusting the angle of the refrigerator so that the door always closes completely. If you find a defective door seal, contact the manufacturer’s service center to obtain a replacement and arrange for installation if needed.

Ice Maker Water Supply

Another possible source is water piped into the refrigerator for an ice maker. Water enters the ice maker via a tube found on the back side of the refrigerator. Take care to avoid damage to the tube when moving the refrigerator to gain access to the back side. Common leak points are the cut-off valve, connectors between the valve and the point at which the tube enters the ice maker, or a break in the tube itself. To fix the leak, the valve, connector or section of tube may need to be replaced. Contact an appliance repair service if you need help making the replacement.

Automatic Freezer Defroster

The “frost-free” freezer system also can lead to a leak. Water is produced when a heating element is periodically activated to melt frost that builds up on cooling coils located behind an access panel in the freezer compartment. Melted frost (water) is directed to a drain tube, which carries it to an evaporation pan located below the refrigerator compartment, near the compressor unit. Alternately, some manufacturers funnel water to the back wall of the refrigerated area, where it runs down to a drain hole under the fruit and vegetable crisper at the bottom.

Solution for Defroster Issues

Common sources of leaks include a cracked or rusted evaporator pan, blockage in the drain tube (sometimes caused by algae), a break in the drain tube or blockage of the drain hole leading to the tube or pan. On models where water runs down the back wall, look for items in the refrigerator that might be diverting the water from its intended path. Correct the situation by replacing a defective pan or broken tube, eliminating any blockage or rearranging refrigerator contents to avoid contact with draining water.

About the Author

Steve Wood, a retired software developer with a wide range of interests, has been writing for over 25 years. Five editions of his book "Using Turbo Pascal" were published by McGraw Hill in the 1980s. More recently he has written numerous articles for Internet publication on a variety of topics.