How to Fix a Leaking Refrigerator

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Water on the floor around a refrigerator is enough to make anyone nervous. But often there's a simple reason for the problem--and an easy cure. The key is locating the source. Follow these steps to fix a leaking fridge.

Difficulty:
Moderately Challenging

Instructions

Things You'll Need

  • Meat Baster
  • Adjustable Pliers
  • Adjustable Wrench
  • Soap
  • Nut Driver And Socket
  • Replacement Parts
  • Flashlight
  • Screwdriver
  1. Analyzing the likely source

    • 1

      Move the refrigerator out from the wall and look for the location of the leak.

    • 2

      Check the side panels and the seals around the door for beads of "sweat." This could indicate a condensation problem.

    • 3

      Check the floor. A puddle there could indicate a missing or cracked drip pan, or a leak in the water line that feeds your ice maker.

    • 4

      Check for water seeping from the front of the freezer or the refrigerator. This could indicate your defrost drain is plugged or your ice maker is leaking.

    Fixing a condensation problem

    • 5

      Check that the doors shut correctly. Hold each door about halfway open, then let go. If the doors don't shut completely, adjust the screw legs on the front of the refrigerator so the unit tilts back a bit. With adjustable pliers, turn each leg one revolution clockwise. Recheck the doors and, if necessary, repeat the process until they shut securely.

    • 6

      Inspect the door gaskets. Look for debris that may keep the doors from shutting. Also check for cracks or gaps in the gaskets that could allow the cold air to seep out. If you find debris, clean the gaskets with warm, soapy water. If you find cracks or gaps, you'll need to replace the gaskets (see How to Fix a Refrigerator That Cools Poorly).

    • 7

      If your refrigerator is equipped with a door-frame heater that evaporates condensation, make sure the heater is turned on. The switch should be located with your other refrigerator controls.

    Fixing a drip-pan problem

    • 8

      Pull off the grill that runs along the bottom of your refrigerator.

    • 9

      Locate the drip pan, using a flashlight if necessary. The pan should be sitting on top of a set of black condenser coils and directly below a drain tube that carries water from your freezer when it is in defrost mode.

    • 10

      Place the drip pan in your sink and fill it with water to test for leaks. If it leaks, order a replacement from your appliance dealer.

    • 11

      If the drip pan doesn't leak, clean it with warm, soapy water, then reinstall the pan and the refrigerator grill.

    Fixing a clogged defrost drain

    • 12

      Locate the defrost drain. It should be a round hole or a channel running under the vegetable and fruit bins in the refrigerator or along the floor of the freezer compartment.

    • 13

      Inspect the drain for clogs and remove any debris. If necessary, use a small screwdriver to break up debris that's trapped in the drain hole.

    • 14

      Fill a meat baster with hot water and force it through the drain to make sure the clog is gone. If the drain is operating properly, the hot water will fill the drip pan.

    Fixing a leaky ice maker

    • 15

      Pull the refrigerator away from the wall and locate the copper water-supply line. It runs from the house water line to the refrigerator water-supply valve. (To get to the supply valve, you may have to use a screwdriver or a nut driver and socket to remove your refrigerator's back access panel.)

    • 16

      Inspect the copper supply line, the supply valve, and the plastic supply tube that runs from the other side of the supply valve to the back of the ice maker.

    • 17

      If a connection is leaking, tighten it with an adjustable wrench. If either the copper supply line or the plastic supply tube is leaking, you need to replace it.

    • 18

      Turn off the water supply. The valve may be under the kitchen sink or connected to a cold-water pipe in your basement.

    • 19

      Remove the faulty line and take it to a hardware store to get an exact replacement.

    • 20

      Install the new line, tighten the connections with the adjustable wrench and turn the water back on.

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