If you’ve noticed water pooling in front of your refrigerator and the appliance is not staying cool, then you certainly have problems with your refrigerator. Most likely there are multiple issues because a leak and a lack of cooling are not typically symptoms related to one central problem. However, you can pinpoint the cause of each problem, since there are a limited number of possibilities, even though they may not be related.
There is one possible cause that would explain both the leak and the lack of cooling. A power loss would obviously shut down the cooling system, and the refrigerator would eventually become the same temperature as the rest of your kitchen. The warm up would also thaw and melt anything inside the freezer and could also cause considerable condensation inside the fresh food compartment. The liquid caused by these issues could run down into the bottom of the compartment and leak out from under the door and onto the floor in front of the refrigerator. You’ll need to check the power cord, circuit breakers and fuses to troubleshoot the power interruption.
The most common reason you’d find water on the floor in front of your refrigerator is a defrost drain clog. When the automatic defrost system melts frost off of the evaporator coil, the water runs into a drain that directs it to a pan underneath the refrigerator where it evaporates naturally. If food particles or ice clogs this drain, the water backs up and leaks into the lower compartment and ends up running out the bottom edge of the refrigerator door and onto the floor. This drain must be cleared to stop the leaking. Warm water forced into the drain will usually clear it out. Alternatively, the drain pan in the bottom of the refrigerator could have a leak that may cause water in the same area.
Some newer refrigerator models use door frame heaters to help control moisture inside the refrigerator. If they are set to energy saver mode, then it usually means the heaters are disabled, and moisture is likely to form to some degree, depending on the particular environment and the contents in the refrigerator. The condensation can be greater with faulty door gaskets. In cases of extreme condensation, water may run down the walls and leak out onto the floor in small amounts. Try setting the energy saver switch in the opposite direction for a day to see if the problem goes away. You may also need to check the door gaskets for damage and replace them.
After you’ve determined the reason for the water on the floor, you need to figure out the reasons for the lack of cooling. A refrigerator that isn’t cooling properly may have frosted cooling coils. When the defrost system isn’t working properly, it can allow frost to build up on the coils in the freezer to the point where air can’t circulate normally. This can affect cooling. Have all the defrost components checked.
Dirty Condenser Coils
The condenser coils on the bottom or rear of the refrigerator can get dusty and dirty. Keep them clean or the refrigerant will not be able to cool properly. This can drastically affect how cold the refrigerator gets. Using a condenser coil brush to clean the coils once a year is typically enough to maintain their condition.
A faulty compressor could be the problem. This is the motor that compresses the refrigerant gas and makes cooling possible. This motor can wear out over time and is not generally repairable. It must be replaced, which can be expensive. Often it’s better to just replace the entire unit if you have a bad compressor.
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