Water damage is costly and inconvenient and usually happens when you don’t expect it. Small drips from your refrigerator can be especially problematic, potentially requiring a full kitchen replacement if they go unnoticed for long. Fortunately, simply following a few tips can help prevent leaks and/or help you find the source of your problem.
Buy a Water Alarm
A water alarm is a battery-powered device that will sound if water touches its sensors. They can be used any number of places in the kitchen, including behind the fridge. With the help of this sensor, you will be alerted to potential drip problems right away. Your local hardware store should carry them in the plumbing department.
Check the Tilt of your Fridge
Water will naturally accumulate in your fridge from condensation and varying temperatures. If setup correctly, your refrigerator will drain this water down to the drain hole. If you find water leaking on your floor, however, it could be because the fridge isn’t tilted back but is instead sitting level or leaning forward. The ideal tilt should be minimal, but enough to guide the water in the right direction. If you have a problem, you should contact a professional to adjust the front legs of the fridge by unscrewing them or insert shims under the front if the legs aren’t adjustable.
Check For Clogs
The lines that drain water from the fridge or freezer for defrosting can sometimes become clogged. Fortunately, a little bit of cleaning can clear up this problem. Check the lines at the back of the freezer and insert a pipe cleaner to push out clogs, and then pour some sudsy water or diluted vinegar down the pipe to check if the clog is clear. The water should drain down to your drainage pan below the front grill. If water doesn’t drain, check the tube leading from inside the fridge and try again. Make sure the pan is properly aligned under the tubes so water isn’t leaking onto the floor. If the problem persists, it’s time to call a licensed plumber.
Check the Ice Maker
Built in icemakers are particularly problematic when it comes to leaks, as the connecting tubes can sometimes come lose or begin to leak. You can check if the ice maker is your problem by shutting off the water connection to the refrigerator to see if the leak stops. A simple tightening of the connections may be able to solve your issue.
Check Insulation and Location
To stay cool, the refrigerator needs enough insulation. Condensation developing outside the unit could be a sign that you need a tighter seal on the door gasket, which may mean it’s time to replace the unit. Even if the gasket seal is fine, the location of the fridge may still be causing condensation issues. The heat of the refrigerator motor hitting cold surroundings (like a garage or basement), for instance, could cause condensation. In this case, you should reconsider the location of your unit.
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