Refrigerator Leaking Water – How to Fix

Fixing a water leak from a refrigerator may require professional help. But before hiring someone, try to fix it yourself. How to fix a refrigerator leaking water?

Look for the drain tube or hole of your refrigerator or freezer. It’s usually found at the back. Clear out any obstructions using a small plastic tube or pipe cleaner. Lastly, pour a mild soap solution and ammonia down into the drain tube to kill lingering bacteria and clear the drain.

The four main steps you should take to fix a leaking refrigerator are as follows:

  1. Check If Your Refrigerator Is Properly Leveled
  2. Unclog Your Freezer Drain
  3. Fix the Water Valve or Water Line
  4. Inspect the Drip Pan for Damage

Read on to learn more about how to fix a refrigerator that is leaking water, including the possible causes and solutions.

Also, if you want to replace your fridge or get more fridge space, check out the compact RCA 3.2 Cubic Foot 2 Door Fridge and Freezer on Amazon.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

Refrigerator Leaking Water – How to Fix

Hiring a refrigerator repair professional is always a good idea; however, the fix could be very simple. So I recommend you try to fix the leaking fridge yourself before calling a professional.

Below, you’ll find some of the common refrigerator water leakage problems that you can fix, even if you don’t have in-depth knowledge about this essential home appliance.

1. Check If Your Refrigerator Is Properly Leveled

One of the most common reasons for a refrigerator leaking water is that it is not leveled properly. Do this before you start taking apart your refrigerator. When your refrigerator isn’t leveled correctly, water formed through condensation will not go to the drain hole then into the drip pan below, where it can evaporate before the pan overflows.

Your refrigerator doesn’t need to be absolutely leveled. It only needs to have its front legs slightly more elevated than the rear legs, so it’s tilted slightly backward. Some manufacturers usually suggest keeping the front legs higher than the rear legs by around 6 to 13 millimeters (0.25 to 0.5 inches).

fridge leaking water inside

How to Adjust the Legs of a Refrigerator

Instructions for leveling refrigerators differ by brand and model. Be sure to consult the refrigerator’s user manual before starting.

Step 1. The first thing you need to do is to remove the base grill (if any exists). This part is located across the bottom of the front portion of a refrigerator. If it’s not screwed into place, simply pull it out towards you by grasping it on both sides or grabbing it from under.

Step 2. Next, locate the refrigerator levelers or adjustable feet. You can usually find them underneath the unit at the front.

Step 3. Remove the drip pan if it’s blocking your access to the levelers.

Step 4. After locating any of the leveler (or roller) behind the grill, adjust it by doing the following:

  • For threaded leveling legs, simply rotate the legs or height-adjustable rollers using a flat-head screwdriver, wrench, or pliers. Rotate the leveling leg counterclockwise to lower your refrigerator, or clockwise to raise it. Have someone push your refrigerator against the wall to make it easier to rotate the leveling legs.
  • Use a carpenter’s level to ensure the refrigerator is leveled correctly. Another way to check if your refrigerator is already leveled is to open its door at a 45-degree angle. It should smoothly and firmly close on its own.

Step 5. Put back the base grill or panel, if ever you removed one.

2. Unclog Your Freezer Drain

If leveling your refrigerator doesn’t fix the problem, then your freezer drain must be clogged by food items or particles, ice, or both. The freezer drain is an opening that’s found on the back wall of the freezer. It’s where water collected from condensation exits the freezer compartment.

When a freezer drain is blocked, ice starts to build up. The water from the melted frost will trickle down to the bottom of the compartment. Eventually, the pool of water will leak out of the compartment onto the floor. This could be the reason for your refrigerator leaking water – the fridge leaking water inside or outside.

Take the following steps to clear a clogged freezer drain:

  1. Unplug or turn off your refrigerator.
  2. Inspect your freezer to make sure no items are blocking the freezer drain. If there are, simply remove or move them to another area in the freezer to freely allow airflow.

If the water leakage doesn’t go away after a day or two, small chunks of ice or food deposits must be blocking the drain. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Start by transferring your food to another freezer storage (e.g., freezer chest and mini-fridge), and then unplug or turn off your refrigerator.
  2. Defrost the freezer or remove the freezer tray then scrape off the ice.
  3. You can use a drain hole cleaning tool that fits into the freezer drain hole to clear out any obstructions. If you don’t have a drain cleaning tool, you can use a plastic straw or cotton swab.
  4. You can also fill a turkey baster or syringe with warm water to melt the ice in the drain hole.
  5. Or, if you want to make the process easier and faster, use a hairdryer to melt the excess ice underneath the tray and in the freezer drain.
  6. Before you switch on your refrigerator, make sure to wipe the area dry.

3. Fix the Water Valve or Water Line

If the water leakage comes from the back of your refrigerator, there are two possible sources:

  • Defrost Drain of the Freezer – The defrosting mechanism heats the evaporator coil (makes your refrigerator cold) for a brief period to melt the ice that has formed in it. Then, the melted ice passes through a drain at the back of your refrigerator.
  • Coolant Coils – You can find these black coils, which are also called refrigerator coils, on the back or across the bottom of your refrigerator. In these coils, heat is removed from the refrigerant (Freon), a substance (usually a liquid) that’s used to absorb the heat inside the refrigerator to cool down the air.

Water Line or Water Valve Leak

For modern refrigerators, the most common source of water leakage from the back is the water line or water valve. Refrigerators that come with an ice maker are usually hooked to a water line, so they can perform necessary functions, such as dispensing water and making ice.

You can close the water supply line by turning the water valve, which is usually under the kitchen sink, clockwise. Once it’s fully closed, the water leakage should almost immediately stop.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to stopping rear water leakage:

Step 1. Move your fridge out from the wall, and then unplug it to prevent an electrical shock.

Step 2. Look for the shut-off valve for the water supply line that connects directly to your refrigerator, not to your whole kitchen or home. The location is different for every refrigerator model and home. However, you’ll most likely find it in any of these places:

  • Under the kitchen sink (near the cold water supply)
  • In the basement
  • Inside the cabinet beside your unit
  • In a crawl space
  • On the back of your unit

Step 3. Shut it off the fridge valve by turning it clockwise. Then look for kinks and obstructions, including cuts or holes in the plastic tubing. Look also for water spots, which shouldn’t be there if the water line is intact.

Step 4. If you don’t find water spots or water running down the pipe, the next thing you should do is to determine if the pipe is blocked. If you see or feel a clear blockage, ice might be the culprit.

To solve this issue, just leave your refrigerator turned off for around two hours or longer to let the ice melt. Contact a professional if you plan to remove the pipe or the clogging is caused by another thing other than ice.

Step 5. After defrosting the water supply line (if ice blockage is the cause), and if the water leakage is resolved, turn on your refrigerator and push it back to the wall.

how to fix leaking refrigerator

4. Inspect the Drip Pan for Damage

The fourth possible cause for a refrigerator leaking water is a damaged drip pan. Depending on the model you have, the drip pan or water tray is usually placed in the front or back bottom of the refrigerator. It’s supposed to collect a small amount of condensate water as part of the refrigerator’s defrost cycle.

Usually, the condenser fan moves the air through the condenser coil. The circulating air doesn’t only keep the compressor (manages the movement of the refrigerant) and refrigerant cool, but it also helps evaporate the water that collects in the drain pan or drip pan.

If water leaks out of the bottom center of your refrigerator, it could mean that the drip pan is damaged. This could be the cause of the fridge leaking water inside or outside. The best solution is to replace it with a new one, which you can get from authorized dealers for your refrigerator brand.

How to Remove a Refrigerator Drip Pan

  1. Close the water line valve (if your unit has one) that supplies fresh water to your refrigerator.
  2. Unplug your refrigerator before removing the drip pan to avoid getting an electrical shock.
  3. If the drip pan is at the back, move your refrigerator out from the wall to access it.
  4. Remove the screws or hex bolts of the back panel if your drip pan is in the back. Some refrigerators don’t have a panel at the back, so you can immediately access the drip pan.
  5. After popping off the back panel, pull the drip pan out, and dump the water. Clean the fridge drip pan and inspect it for cracks or splits.

In some models, the drip pan doesn’t come out of the refrigerator, so you’ll have to look for creative ways to remove the water and clean it.

See the below video for some great demonstrations and other tips on fixing a leaky refrigerator:

3 Best Compact Fridges for a Narrow Kitchen Space

Sometimes, it’s more practical to buy a new unit than to fix it yourself or to hire a professional. Alternatively, you can free up space in your fridge by getting a second, compact fridge. Check out these compact refrigerators that are very popular on Amazon due to their price, quality, and size.

1. Midea Double Door Compact Refrigerator (WHD-113FSS1)

If you cannot fix your leaking fridge, you could replace it with this popular Amazon compact refrigerator. The Midea Double Door Compact Refrigerator is a double-door compact refrigerator with adjustable legs that you can lower or raise to your preferred height.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

With 3 cubic feet of storage, it’s small enough to fit any small spaces but still has enough storage options for some of your fruits, vegetables, and frozen treats.

You can also set the temperature in the freezer and refrigerator compartments separately. The freezer temperature range is -11. 2ºF to 5ºF, while it’s 32ºF to 50ºF in the refrigerator compartment.

The Midea Double Door Compact Refrigerator is a 2-star ENERGY STAR appliance. This rating guarantees that it uses less energy, allowing you to save more money every year.

2. Thor Kitchen TRF2401U 24” Indoor/Outdoor Under-counter Refrigerator

Another compact fridge that could replace your fridge that is leaking water inside or outside is the Thor Kitchen Fridge. The sleek Thor Kitchen is an excellent addition to any modern kitchen.

Click here to see this fridge on Amazon.

It has a stainless steel construction that’s smudge-proof, making the surface easy to clean. All you need is a damp microfiber cloth to keep it free from stains and fingerprints.

This electric mini refrigerator is 23.5 inches wide, 34.2 inches high, and 23.4 in diameter. It has a 5.3 cubic feet (152 liters) capacity, which offers enough space to store and cool one person’s food items and beverages. Also, both drawers have a full-extension, slide-out feature. The upper drawer has a divider for separating foods.

Equipped with the Ventilated Cooling system and a digital touchpad control with a blue LED display, it’s guaranteed to keep your fruits, vegetables, and drinks fresh and chilled at the exact temperature all the time. You can set the temperature range anywhere between 34ºF and 46ºF (0ºC and 7ºC).

3. HOmeLabs Beverage Cooler

If you’re looking for a mini-refrigerator to chill your favorite soda and alcoholic beverages, the freestanding HOmeLabs Beverage Cooler is an affordable option.

Click here to see this cooler on Amazon.

It has a white interior light and a see-through, glass front door, so you can easily see what’s inside.

This under-counter beverage refrigerator has a 3.2 cubic feet capacity and an internal measurement of 16 x 29 x 12 inches (W x H x D). It has three adjustable and removable chrome wire shelves that hold up to 120 standard-sized beverage cans or a few bottles of wine.

It’s also a self-defrosting refrigerator, which allows effective cooling of the entire unit at a temperature of up to 34°F (1.1°C). Additionally, its memory function automatically restores its default temperature if there’s a power outage or accidental unplugging of the power cord.

Conclusion – Refrigerator Leaking Water – How to Fix

So, to recap, how to fix a refrigerator leaking water? Several factors could cause a fridge leaking water inside or outside. First, ensure your fridge is level. If it is level, then find the drain hole, usually located at the back of a fridge or freezer.

Remove blockages (if any) using a pipe cleaner or a small plastic tube. To ensure there are no blockages and bacteria left, pour a mild solution of soap and ammonia down the drain tube.

The four main steps you should take to fix a leaking refrigerator are as follows:

  1. Check If Your Refrigerator Is Properly Leveled
  2. Unclog Your Freezer Drain
  3. Fix the Water Valve or Water Line
  4. Inspect the Drip Pan for Damage

If your fridge is still leaking water after you have tried these solutions, or if the fridge water leakage becomes worse, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.