What Causes a Fridge to Leak Water?

Water coming out of a refrigerator.
A puddle of water in front of your refrigerator from an unknown source is never a pleasant discovery. Homeowners often find themselves asking, "Why is my fridge leaking water onto the floor?" And the answer isn't always that easy to find. Here are the six most common causes of a leaking fridge and how to fix them:

  1. Blocked Defrost Drain

Is your fridge leaking water? Take a look at the defrost drain hose. This tube might be located underneath the freezer compartment, below the produce bin, or behind the unit. Food particles and other debris can clog the drain hose. Eventually, a blockage will cause melted condensation to leak on the floor.

Fix: Grab a turkey baster and flush the drain hole inside of the fridge with a bit of warm water. If the clog doesn't budge, try forcing it through with a pipe cleaner or coat hanger. Next, locate the defrost drain hose and clean the attached drain valve with soap and water. If the drain/drain hose was the problem, once you remove any blockages and dirt, your fridge should stop leaking.

  1. Cracked Drain Pan

Underneath your refrigerator is a drain pan that collects any condensate water from the evaporator fins. Normally, the water in the drain pan evaporates; there's never a need to empty it. However, if there is a crack, dent, or split in the pan, collected water may leak on the kitchen floor.

Fix: Sometimes, a refrigerator leaking water is an easy fix! Simply pull out the drain pan and inspect it for cracks. If you notice damage, replace it. Head over to your local hardware store and buy a new pan. That's it!

  1. Water Line Leak

Refrigerators with water lines are extremely popular. It's nice to get a cold glass of ice water on demand. However, if your fridge starts leaking near the rear, a loose or damaged water line may be the culprit. You may also notice a decrease in ice production, or water flow issues.

Fix: Inspect the water line and the connected valve behind the refrigerator for leaks. If you find a leak at the valve, try tightening the connection. If the hose is pinched or leaking, trim away the damaged section of hose or replace the whole hose.

  1. Bad Water Filter Connection

Do you have a fancy modern fridge with a water filter? A poor connection between the water filter and refrigerator may result in water seeping out onto the floor. Installing the wrong size filter could also be to blame.

Fix: Remove the water filter and re-insert it. If you still find puddles on the floor, try installing a new filter. Old filters wear out and crack as they age. Make sure you buy the right kind of filter according to the manufacturer's instructions. If this is the problem, once you put the new filter in place, the leaking should cease.

  1. High Humidity

Exceptionally humid climates can cause refrigerator leaks. Surprised? Here’ why: As humidity in the air mixes with your refrigerator's cold temperatures, condensation forms and fills the drain pan quicker than usual. And when the pan overflows, you'll see a puddle on the floor.

Fix: Manually empty the drain pain on humid days to avoid leaking. If high humidity is a regular occurrence, consider installing a dehumidifier in the kitchen.

  1. Open Fridge Door

Keeping your fridge door open for too long makes the refrigerator work overtime to cool, and you'll end up stepping in a big puddle of condensation.

Fix: Close the refrigerator door! If the problem persists, clean the rubber seals on the doors with soap and water. Lubricate the seal with a thin layer of petroleum jelly. This fix should ensure an airtight seal.

Get Expert Refrigerator Line Repair

Why does a refrigerator leak water? From clogged drains to bad water filters, there are many reasons why you may find a puddle in front of your fridge. Your local Mr. Rooter® Plumbing is ready to assist with water supply line installations and repairs. Call us today or request an estimate online.