Why Is My Refrigerator Leaking Water?

Arguably the most important appliance in your kitchen, the refrigerator works tirelessly to keep our food and beverages cold — so much so that we often take it for granted! Although they’re built to last, there may come a time when you find water leaking from the refrigerator. 

Discover the common reasons why your refrigerator is leaking and what you can do to fix the problem. 

Uneven Fridge

You probably never considered your refrigerator is leaking water due to improper positioning. However, a refrigerator that isn’t level can cause water to spill out of the drain pan. 

That doesn’t necessarily mean your refrigerator should sit flat on the floor, though! The front legs need to be between a quarter-inch to half-inch taller than the back, as this allows coolant to flow freely throughout the appliance. If the coolant can’t circulate properly, your fridge will work overtime to keep cool — this creates extra condensation on the coils that may also leave a small amount of dripping water on the floor.

Have you recently moved into a home, installed a new refrigerator, or remodeled your kitchen floors? If yes, it’s a good idea to check your appliance was put in correctly. Use the adjustment screws to raise or lower the legs as needed. 

Blocked Water Line

Most modern refrigerators have a built-in dispenser for easy access to drinking water and ice cubes. If the water line connected to the dispenser gets blocked or otherwise damaged, you will notice water leaking from the refrigerator, slow water flow, or even abnormal ice production. 

Trapped air bubbles and ice buildup are the two main culprits of a blocked water line. Luckily, these common problems have an easy solution — if you have the means of moving your refrigerator to gain access to the water line. 

First, find the shut-off valve and turn off the water supply to the refrigerator. You will usually find the shut-off valve underneath the kitchen sink, in a cabinet next to the refrigerator, or in the basement or crawl space. 

Then, turn off the refrigerator, pull it out from the wall, and inspect the plastic hose that connects the water dispenser to the main water supply. You can use a pipe cleaner to remove trapped air bubbles or ice buildup. If the water line itself is damaged, it’s best to replace the hose altogether. Make sure to tighten the connections on both ends to avoid water leaking from the refrigerator again. 

Blocked Defrost Drain

A blocked defrost drain is the most common reason why your refrigerator is leaking water. 

No matter what type of refrigerator you own — whether it be a french door, side-by-side, bottom freezer, or top freezer —  most modern models are equipped with automatic defrost. When the defrosting cycle begins, the temperature increases to melt any ice stuck to the freezer door or walls. The resulting water enters the drain hole, travels down the drain tube, and eventually ends up in the drain pan, where it evaporates. If either the drain hole or tube is blocked, you’ll find ice under the freezer drawer and water leaking from the refrigerator onto the floor. 

Solving this problem could be as easy as removing the stack of frozen dinners covering the drain hole. Also, inspect the drain tube to see if it’s clogged by ice or food particles. You can use a turkey baster to flush warm water through the tube or a pipe cleaner to dislodge any debris. 

Damaged Drain Pan

Last but not least, check the drain pan to make sure it’s not cracked or damaged. The drain pan holds moisture produced by the refrigerator, and if it’s not perfectly intact, water will leak and create a puddle on the floor. 

Located underneath the refrigerator, the drain pan can easily be pulled out for inspection. In some cases, you might have to remove the front grill to gain access to it. Once you have the drain pan, check for any cracks. While this is unlikely to be the reason why your refrigerator is leaking, it’s worth investigating if it will save you a hefty repair bill. 

When In Doubt, Contact the Appliance Doctors

Can’t figure out the reason behind why your refrigerator is leaking water? Don’t fret! Appliance Doctors is just one call away. We offer the highest quality refrigerator repairs at the best prices.