How to Fix a Refrigerator That is Leaking from the Bottom
We’re always vigilant of water incursions in our home. Nobody wants a leak or a flood to damage their floors, walls, or belongings. Floods are a homeowner’s nightmare, so it can be unnerving to find that a refrigerator is leaking from the bottom. If you find water under the refrigerator, there are several potential causes, each with a different remedy. This guide will help you check on the most likely components of a refrigerator to cause a leak, and let you know how to fix those components as easily and affordably as possible. Read on for more information.
Refrigerator Defrost Drain
The most common cause of water leaking under a fridge is the refrigerator defrost drain. It should be the first component you check. Many people don’t know that when the freezer enters defrost mode, water from the cycle is drained down a defrost drain to a pan below. The drain is out of the way and can be blocked by accumulated ice or food particles. If too much water accumulates during the defrost cycle due to a blocked drain, it can cause leaking under the fridge.
- Open your freezer and find your defrost drain. If you’re having trouble, it should be labeled in your refrigerator owner’s manual.
- If the drain is frozen over completely, use a warm cloth or a small amount of warm water to melt the opening clear. You can use further flushes of warm water to clear the entire line if it’s frozen through.
- If you suspect that there may be food, mold, or ice trapped in the line that won’t come out, use a thin wire to probe the drain. This will remove the blockage, and your freezer will drain properly again.
Second, inspect your drain pan. It’s not common for a drain pan to fail, but it can happen. When the freezer defrosts, it sends water down the drain you inspected in step one. This water accumulates in a pan behind a grill at the bottom of the fridge. Under normal operation, the water in the pan should evaporate before there is any chance of overflow or spill. But if the pan is cracked or broken, it is possible for it to leak onto the floor under the bottom of the fridge.
You can usually access your drain pan by removing the grill or toe-kick from the front of your fridge. On most units, it is held on by a few screws, but you can check for more details in your owner’s manual. Once the grill is off, you should be able to visually inspect the drain pan. See if it is holding water, and if it appears to be damaged, it will need to be replaced.
Take a look at your ice maker third. Examine the ice maker both inside and out, inspecting for signs of leaking or excess moisture in or around any components. The most likely place for an ice maker to fail is around water line connections, so check that the water line is connected properly at any connections and that it is in good condition. Examine the line for signs of aging such as cracking, discoloration, or brittleness. Inspect the length of the line from the ice maker (found on the rear of the fridge) to be sure that it isn’t kinked or bent, either. If you don’t see any water on the line, it’s probably not the cause of your problem. But if you do, try tightening all connections or replacing the entire water line assembly. Most home stores sell DIY kits that will come with all the parts and tubes you need. (Be sure to turn the water off at your house main before servicing any water supply lines!)
A final component to check if your refrigerator is leaking from the bottom is the water filter assembly. Find your filter location and make sure that it is installed properly, with the threads evenly and properly threaded at their connection. Check your manufacturer’s manual and be sure that you have the proper make and model installed inside of your fridge. Lastly, inspect for signs of age and wear, as some water filters can fail and leak over time. Rubber gaskets and seals can crack, causing leaking that can find its way to the bottom of the fridge. If you suspect your filter is damaged, old, or worn out, replace it right away with the proper make and model.
If you feel that you still need a refrigerator repair professional to handle this for you, give us a call.