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Why Is My Fridge Freezer Leaking Water?

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By Elizabeth Masterman

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Whether it’s a drip or a puddle, a fridge freezer shouldn’t be leaking water, so if yours is, it could be a sign that something’s wrong. You will need to work out what the problem is before you can decide whether it’s something you can fix or if you will need a professional.

Why Is My Fridge Freezer Leaking Water?

There could be several causes. Start by identifying where the water is coming from. If your fridge freezer has a water dispenser or an ice maker, it could be a leak in the water pipe. Other causes include a blocked drain hole, a damaged seal, or a problem with the temperature control.

What Should I Do Before Investigating the Leak?

Firstly, it’s a good idea to establish that it is your fridge freezer that’s leaking and not something that has spilt.

Wipe up the wet patch and see if it reappears. Check any bottles in your fridge for leaks, and check if anyone in the house remembers spilling anything.

Before you investigate the cause of the leak, it’s a good idea to switch off and unplug your fridge freezer to avoid electric shocks, but beware of leaving it unplugged for too long if you are opening and closing the door, as the temperature will quickly start to rise.

Why Does a Fridge Leak Water Inside?

A blocked drain is one of the most common causes of water pooling inside your fridge freezer. Fridge freezers have a defrost drain to allow water to drain away. This water then falls into the drip tray at the bottom of the appliance and evaporates.

However, the defrost drain can become blocked with food debris or ice, stopping the unit from being able to drain itself, which will cause water to accumulate inside the appliance.

Equally, if there is an excessive amount of water coming out of your fridge or the water isn’t evaporating for some reason, the drip tray may overflow and this might be the water that you’re seeing under your fridge.

How Do You Clean the Drain Hole on a Fridge Freezer?

If you think your fridge freezer’s drain hole is blocked, wipe away any pooled water with a cloth, using antibacterial spray if mould had started to develop.

Your fridge freezer should have come with a drain hole cleaning tool, so use this or a cotton wool bud to clean inside the hole, removing any gunk that has built up.

Blocked Drain Hole

The drain hole tube can also become blocked. You can clean this using a pipe cleaner, or you could dissolve one teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in 500ml of warm water and use a syringe or pipette to pour this into the defrost drain. This will help clear out the tube.

You will then need to access and empty the drip tray. The manual for your appliance should tell you exactly how to do this. While you are doing this, it’s worth inspecting the drainage pipe for wear and tear, as this could be the source of the leak. 

Repeating this process every three to four months can help prevent a recurrence of the problem.

What Else Could Cause a Leak in My Fridge Freezer?

A faulty door seal could also cause the puddle under your fridge freezer. If the door seal is dirty or worn, it won’t work as effectively, allowing warm air to enter your fridge freezer. This can create condensation, which can then gather and pool beneath the appliance.

Your fridge freezer might not be correctly levelled. A fridge freezer should be standing slightly higher at the front than at the back, causing it to tilt backwards.

This helps to keep the cooling system running properly and encourages the door to shut properly. If yours isn’t slightly tilted, you will need to adjust the legs. The manual will tell you how to do this.

There could be a problem with the temperature control system. This comprises several components, such as the thermostat, sensors and interface boards, and any of these could be faulty. If this is the case, the appliance will need to be looked at by a professional.

What Do I Do If There’s a Problem with the Water Supply Line?

If your fridge freezer has a water dispenser or an ice maker and is plumbed in, there could be a problem with the water supply line. Start by closing the shut-off valve, then examined the supply line for any kinks, clogs or leaks.

If the supply line is damaged, it will need replacing, and it’s best to contact a professional.

If it’s blocked and the blockage is clear in colour, it’s probably ice, so leave your fridge freezer unplugged for a couple of hours, and this should resolve the problem. If the blockage isn’t clear, consult a professional.

Is a Leaking Fridge Freezer Dangerous?

A leaking fridge freezer is more of an annoyance than a danger, though of course you should make sure you wipe up any puddles so that no one will slip on them.

However, it’s not a problem you should just leave.

If you aren’t able to solve the problem yourself, you should consult a professional, as it could be a sign of a problem with your appliance, which could mean your fridge freezer is working harder, costing you more money, and could decrease the lifespan of the appliance.

If you have more questions about a leaky fridge freezer, then check these out:

Will a Freezer Leak When Defrosting It?

Yes, when you defrost a freezer you will get pools of water which is why it must be unplugged and why you should use plenty of towels around the front of the freezer when defrosting it.

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