ABC Blog

My Fridge Is Leaking Water: What’s Wrong?

water on hardwood floor from a fridge leaking water
When you find your fridge leaking water, don’t ignore it. Beyond the simple annoyance of the mess on your floor, a leak is a sign of a problem with your refrigerator that needs attention. The leak could also damage your floors, cabinets and baseboards, which can be very expensive to fix.
Fortunately, there aren’t many different causes of a leaking fridge. Many common reasons why fridges leak are actually relatively simple and inexpensive fixes.

Leaky or Frozen Water Supply Line

One of the most common causes of a refrigerator leak is a leaky or frozen water supply line. If this is the issue, you may also notice other symptoms besides the leak. The fridge’s water dispenser may not work right, or the ice trays might not fill completely.
If you pull the fridge out from the wall, you’ll see the plastic hose running between the refrigerator and the wall. This is the water supply line that sends water to the ice maker and the water dispenser. If you notice the supply line frozen, wet or dripping, you’ve found the cause of your leak.
The hose is simple enough to replace. Just make sure to turn off the water supply line before disconnecting it.

Clogged Defrost Drain

Another common cause of a leaking fridge is a clogged defrost drain. This drain is at the bottom and back of your freezer. Over time, the drain can get clogged with bits of food and other debris. An overly stuffed freezer can also block off the drain. If you have a blocked or clogged drain, the condenser coils in the fridge will start to drip water.

Clearing the path to the drain will help prevent this problem and resolve related leaks. You may also need to flush the drain with warm water. You can use a turkey baster or anything else that will allow you to squeeze water with some force into the drain hole.

Fridge is Not Level

If your fridge isn’t level from side to side, the drain pan will eventually spill water over one side. To check whether the fridge needs adjusting, you can set a level on top of the fridge, behind the doors. The little air bubble in the level should be exactly centered if the fridge is level from left to right.
If you find that your fridge needs adjusting, you can raise or lower its adjustment screws accordingly. These are behind the grille at the very bottom of the fridge, which covers the fridge legs. To get the grille off, you may need to unscrew it or detach clips. If the front legs need adjusting, the back legs likely will too. You’ll need to pull the refrigerator out from the wall to access them.
You can adjust some fridge legs by hand, while others need a flat-head screwdriver or a wrench. Note that while your fridge should be perfectly level from side to side, it should tilt slightly back toward the wall. The front of your fridge should be about a quarter of an inch higher than the back.

Damaged Drain Pan

The fridge drain pan can also leak if it is has a crack or is otherwise damaged. The drain pan is in the bottom of your fridge, just above the floor. In most fridges, it is accessible from either the front or the back of the refrigerator. You may need to remove the grille at the bottom front of the fridge to slide the drain pan out. If it’s accessible from the back, you’ll need to slide the fridge out from the wall in order to pull out the pan.
It’s normal for the drain pan to have some water in it when you slide it out. If you see cracks or other damage to the pan, it needs replacing.

Inlet Tube or Valve Issues

The inlet tube supplies water to the ice maker. The inlet valve, located at the back of the fridge, controls water flow through the inlet tube. If either of these is frozen or damaged, it will need fixing or replacing. Tightening the compression nuts on the valve might resolve the leak, but in many cases, the valve will need replacing altogether.

Worn Out Door Seals

The soft plastic seals running along the edges of your fridge and freezer doors need to create a tight seal when the doors are closed. If these seals are worn out, they can no longer do their job properly. This can even happen when too much food and other gunk builds up on the seals.
When they can’t seal off the fridge or freezer properly, warm air can get inside. This can cause ice and other items inside to start melting. All that water can be yet another source of a fridge leak.
You may be able to figure out the source of your fridge leak, but you might not. Even if you can determine the cause of the leak, you may not feel up to fixing the issue. Calling in a professional is the best and most efficient way to resolve any type of problem with your refrigerator. A trained professional can quickly identify the problem and determine which parts need fixing or replacement.
a kitchen's fridge

Fridge Water Line Leaking

If your fridge water line is leaking, you’ll start noticing puddles leaking out from under the fridge. If your fridge has a water dispenser, you may also notice that it doesn’t work as well as it should. The ice trays might not fill up properly, either. These are all signs of a fridge water line leaking.

To address the issue, you’ll need to pull the refrigerator out from the wall so you can access the water supply line. Be sure to turn off the water supply and also unplug the fridge while you’re working on it, for safety.

The first step is to inspect the water supply line visually. Do you see any water dripping from it, or cracks or other damage in it? If so, you’ll need to replace the tube along with the quick-coupling connectors that hold it in place. You can purchase these at your local hardware or home improvement store.

It’s also possible that there is a clog in your inlet valve or it’s damaged. Over time, these lines and connection points can get clogged with food and other debris. They can also sometimes get iced over. If the inlet valve has a clog, it may just need flushing. However, there is a chance that it needs a replacement.

An appliance repair specialist can accurately diagnose the problem if your fridge’s water line is leaking. They can determine the best way to fix the issue, whether by replacing the line, flushing or replacing the inlet valve, or something else.

a freezer leaking in a kitchen

Freezer Leaking Water

If the freezer is leaking water, you’ll see water seeping out onto the floor from underneath the fridge. This could be the result of several different things. Things may be melting inside the freezer due to faulty door seals that are letting warm air in. The water supply line could be leaking, or the ice maker’s inlet tube or valve may be faulty. Debris could be clogging the defrost drain, or blocked off by ice or an overstuffed freezer.

Whatever the issue might be, it’s a good idea to make sure your freezer isn’t overstuffed with items that are blocking the defrost drain. You can also visually inspect the water supply line and inlet tube by carefully pulling the fridge away from the wall. Be sure to turn off the water and unplug the fridge to make sure you stay safe while you’re inspecting the parts.

If you see water dripping off anything, or see ice built up where it shouldn’t be, you may have located the source of the freezer leak. You might even hear water dripping, but keep in mind that this can be a perfectly normal freezer sound. When the freezer enters its normal defrost cycle, for example, you might hear a trickling or gurgling sound as water starts draining off the evaporator coils.

The distinction here is that normal freezer sounds don’t accompany a leak. If you find water leaking from the freezer, there is a problem that needs fixing. Calling in a qualified appliance repair specialist is a good idea since it can save you both money and trouble.

A specialist is skilled at knowing how to find a water leak and how to fix it. The sooner you fix the leak, the less likely it is that your floors or cabinets will sustain water damage. Best of all, you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing your fridge and freezer are working properly.

ABC Can Get Your Fridge Back in Good Working Condition

We rely on our refrigerators every single day. When something goes wrong, it can cause a large disruption to our lives, and it can lead to wasted money. You can count on the professionals at ABC Home & Commercial Services. Our licensed pros can make all needed appliance repairs, so your life can continue as normal.

Tom Riggs

Tom Riggs is the Division Manager for Mechanical Services, overseeing sales and operations for HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical, Appliance Repair and Water Quality for all ABC Austin branches. He joined ABC in 2014. Before ABC, he was an HVAC Service Technician, HVAC Comfort Advisor/Sales and Operations Manager. Tom attended Universal Technical Institute. He's an avid outdoorsman and enjoys country living with his wife and two sons.

Learn More

Comments are closed.