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Problem Solving 101: Why Might my Refrigerator be Leaking

Refrigerators are one of the greatest appliance inventions of all time, allowing your food to last longer.  However, refrigerators are not indestructible and one of the most common malfunctions is a water leak.  Refrigerator leaks can be frustrating and expensive if not taken care of in due time.  The good news is that there are several DIY tests that can identify the culprit of most refrigerator leaks. Here are four reasons why your refrigerator might be leaking and how to check them.

The Refrigerator isn’t Level

An unleveled refrigerator can prevent condensation (water) from reaching the drain pan below the refrigerator and evaporating, instead leaking water inside and outside of your refrigerator.  Proper positioning for refrigerators is that the front legs are slightly higher than the back legs so the fridge tips back by a small angle.  To check the position of your refrigerator, you’ll need a level and a second person to help you get underneath the fridge. Then you can adjust the front legs so the refrigerator is slightly tipped back, using the level to ensure both legs are the same height.  A simple test to check if it is leveled correctly is to open the door and if it swings back closed on its own, the leveling is correct.

The Drain is Clogged

Refrigerators contain drainage systems that pull water out of the refrigerator and freezer through tubes, allowing the water to aggregate and evaporate from a drain pain underneath the appliance.  Food particles can infiltrate the drainage tubes, clogging and blocking condensation flow out of the refrigerator, resulting in water leakage.   To unclog the drainage system, push a smaller plastic tube or pipe cleaner through the tubes to clear the blockage.  Never put anything sharp into the tube. To check to see if you’ve been successful, mix up a mild solution of ammonia, soap, and water and use a turkey baster to push the solution down the drainage tube.  This will kill any bacteria lingering from the food particles.  A successfully unclogged tube will result in the solution collecting in the drain pan below the fridge.

The Drain is Frozen Over

Water accumulation and cold temperatures can lead to a frozen drainage system and water leaks outside of your refrigerator.   The drain can be unclogged by using a hair dryer or handheld steamer to melt ice that that has accumulated in the drainage tubes.  To be thorough, run a smaller plastic tube or pipe cleaner through the tube along with the mild ammonia cleaning solution to remove any food particles that could also be trapped.

The Drain Pan is Cracked

The drain pan beneath your refrigerator serves as a reservoir for small amounts of water to collect and evaporate, removing moisture from your refrigerator.  Leaks occur when drain pans develop cracks, allowing water to escape before evaporation.  Replace the pan if damaged.

Once you spot a refrigerator leak, finding the culprit can seem like a daunting task at first.  Luckily, these four easy DIY maintenance are quick and inexpensive.  Always remember to unplug your refrigerator before determining the source of your leak.   If you cannot find the reason your refrigerator is leaking, call Doc’s Appliance Service to troubleshoot right away.  Our professionals are waiting to help you fix your refrigerator, give us a call today at 800-726-7130.

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