refrigerator leaking water

What to do if Your Refrigerator Leaking Water

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Whether you own or rent your home, one thing is guaranteed: there is always going to be something in need of repair or replacement. Sometimes it’s related to your car, and sometimes it’s something pertaining to your home. Renters, while not typically financially responsible for most home repairs that do not belong to them, still are inconvenienced by doing without whatever it is that is in disrepair until it is either fixed or replaced.

Homeowners, on the other hand, have no one to report the problem without incurring expenses for themselves, unless it’s a sympathetic friend or relative who is a good listener. Sometimes, not always but on occasion, there are certain problems that can occur in your home that initially create a panicked reaction, but actually have fairly straightforward fixes that you can do yourself, without having to hire a professional.

Leaks Happen

One of the most common problems that homeowners typically face is encountering sudden evidence of a leak. While leaks are never good, fixing them can range from being quite easy to requiring intricate knowledge and skill, in order to prevent the repair from causing a leak somewhere else. On average, most leaks occur within the plumbing, either from worn joints, cracked pipes or faulty installation of some kind.

Most of the time, such leaks are best handled by a professional repair technician, as unless extreme caution is applied during repair, everything else can become out of sync, and more damage can result. There are other leak causatives, such as when tubing or seals of the tubing that serves as refrigerator leaking water lead-ins to appliances like washing machines, dishwashers, and refrigerators malfunctions. Then, what is the best thing to do, if you are able to determine that your leak is coming from one of your appliances?

The Most Common Response

For the majority of appliance owners, the sudden appearance of unwanted water (that definitively can be proven to not have resulted from a spill,) is immediately regarded as a cause for panic. And once the brain kicks into panic mode, the next response is to feel powerless, overwhelmed and like a victim of an unexpected disaster. After an initial period of anger followed by acceptance, there is a third stage in this type of grief processing, as it unfolds: the resignation to perform a search process for finding a qualified professional who is available to come out and expertly resolve the problem, hopefully without the requirement of too much credit or taking out a second home mortgage.

Also Read: Why Your Washing Machine Might be Leaking

Unfortunately for many people, the length of time between when the leak is initially noticed and the time when the search process gets underway is not given the benefit of time, by which methodical observation and logical deduction might best first produce a search on the Internet of the most common reasons for the type of leak being seen. The only possible result of slowing down to contemplate the possibility of a quick and easy fix would possibly be in money and time is saved.

Before You Reach Out for Help

The first thing to do, once you happen to notice that a leak is apparently coming from your refrigerator, is to attempt to visually track the refrigerator leaking water, from the “pool” of water to the source. This is not always possible, for a number of reasons. There is one thing that is always sure: If you elect to do nothing about it, it certainly will not fix itself. If there is even a modicum of DIY within you, before you pull out your phone to begin a search for professionals, there are a few tricks of the trade that you can attempt to try first.

The Refrigerator Seal

Sometimes, and more often than not, what appears to be a refrigerator leaking water is actually not even coming from a leak at all. All refrigerators are designed with a rubber seal that goes around the entire perimeter of the door and serves to create a vacuum-type of a seal, where any transference of air is impossible. This means that the colder air that the fridge and freezer motors have worked hard to achieve and maintain is preserved, with no heavy drain being placed on the appliance. When this seal is somehow impaired, whether, from damage or another cause like malfunction, any “gaps” within the door’s seal will become problematic. The cold and frigid air will constantly leak from the appliance, thus causing the fridge to run overtime, just to keep things cool.

Running excessively will cause condensation to build upon the coils, thereby producing a pool of water on the floor. Check your fridge’s seals, all the way around, looking for signs of condensation on the door as well. If you detect a problem these can often be fixed by washing the seals with soap and warm water and applying a thin layer of a lubricant like petroleum jelly to the point of contact, all around. Your refrigerator is designed with adjustable legs that might just need a little tweaking, to put just the right slant on the unit to ensure a tight seal. This most often occurs when the fridge is leaning a little too forward.

Could it be Your Ice Maker?

If the water line leading into your fridge comes loose is crimped or blocked, it could result in a leak. The waterline supplies your refrigerator with the water that makes ice cubes, as well as the water that feeds the water dispenser. Using a flashlight and a dry hand, run your eyes and hand along the distance of the water supply tube in an attempt to find any wet spots. These supply tubes are easy to find and easy to install/replace.

A Leaking Drain Pan

When a fridge’s drain pain becomes cracked or damaged, a leak will manifest. Water is regularly drained from the fridge into this pan to avoid refrigerator leaking water pooling inside of the fridge. Find the drain pan and look directly underneath it by pulling it out, and also inspect it. The fix only requires obtaining a replacement. Easy-peasy.

The Defrost Drain Could Be the Culprit

If the leak you find appears inside of the refrigerator, rather than on the kitchen floor, it is likely that you are experiencing a malfunctioning defrost drain, probably due to it being clogged in one way or another. All the condensation that your fridge produces inside of the freezer is designed to drip down the defrost drain into the drain pan.

Also Read: Why Your Sink Could be Leaking

Causes for clogs can come from some type of debris, but more often they result from the drain freezing shut. Your refrigerator’s manual should indicate the location of your defrost drain, and by visual assessment, you can then decide what steps to take in order to fix the problem. Often, a generous volume of warm refrigerator leaking water will do the trick.

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