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How to fix a leaking refrigerator

Is there a puddle forming underneath or within your refrigerator? Don't panic—leaks are fairly common in home refrigerators and don't always mean that a professional repair is required.

Asurion Experts are highly-experienced with every major appliance, and can help you keep yours running at its best. Here's their guide to refrigerator leaks—and how to fix them.

Why is my refrigerator leaking water, and how can I fix it?

Determining the cause of the leak will help you decide what you need to do. Whether your refrigerator is leaking water on the inside or pooling on the floor, these tips should help.

Flush the defrost drain

Defrost drains are often clogged because of debris like food particles. To clear a clog:

  • First, unplug your refrigerator.  
  • Next, locate the defrost drain, which is typically found at the bottom back of your fridge. Check the owner’s manual if you have trouble finding it, it's often available online. 
  • Then, use a funnel or turkey baster to flush warm water through the defrost drain. If you can't get the water to move through the drainpipe, try using a pipe cleaner or a plastic straw to push out the clog. Your problem could also be due to the drain being frozen, so give it a few minutes to defrost after unplugging the fridge and then try again. 
  • If water still won't move freely through the drainpipe, examine the check valve at the end of the drain hose, located in the drip pan beneath the fridge, to see if debris has accumulated there.

To prevent clogs in the future, avoid putting food near the defrost drain and consider clearing it periodically, even if you don't see a leak.

Clear the water supply line

Unplug your refrigerator and find the water shut-off valve (this is usually under the sink, behind the refrigerator, or below it in the basement or crawlspace). When the valve is closed, look for kinks, clogs, or leaks in the water line. If it's not damaged, but there is a clear blockage, then the water inside has likely frozen. This problem has a simple fix: Just leave the refrigerator unplugged for a couple of hours to let it thaw. If it's not clear then whether there's a blockage, try our refrigerator water line troubleshooting tips.

Place your fridge on an incline

If your fridge has sprung a leak, it may be that it isn't leveled properly. Refrigerators aren't supposed to be perfectly level. The front of your appliance needs to be about a quarter-inch to a half-inch taller than the back to allow coolant to flow freely.

If the coolant isn't flowing as it should, it can cause your fridge to leak water onto the floor. The reason: Coolant can pool up in the pipes, and the extra effort required from your fridge to keep the coolant moving results in condensation around the coils. That extra condensation causes your fridge to leak water onto the floor. To fix this issue, place a level on your fridge floor perpendicular to the door of the appliance, then adjust the appliance's legs or rollers to the appropriate height in both the front and the back.

Periodically check your drain pan

It's normal for your fridge to drip small amounts of water into a pan underneath it. This water generally evaporates before it has time to get onto the floor thanks to your appliance's condenser fan. However, if your drain pan is cracked or damaged, it may be leaking water directly onto the floor. If that's your problem, head to your local hardware store to get a replacement. Simple, right?

If you can't figure out how to fix your leaking fridge, schedule an appointment with an Asurion Expert for refrigerator repair as soon as same day.

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