APPLIANCE GUIDES, REFRIGERATION

How To Fix Water Collecting In Your Fridge – Simple Solutions

So, you’ve got water collecting in the bottom of your fridge and vegetable drawers. Your salad is getting soggy and there’s a bit of a funky smell wafting through.

Fear not! This is quite a common problem. There are a few simple things to check and fix before you go out and buy a new fridge.

In this post, I’ll explain what the most common causes are of water in your fridge and how to fix them. I’ll also share some tips you might not know.

Let’s fix that fridge!

In a hurry? Here are the things you need to check!

  1. Blocked Drainage Hole: Clean any blockages in the drainage hole.
  2. Ice Build-Up: De-ice the fridge and ensure proper temperature settings.
  3. Condensation: Avoid storing hot food and leaving the door open.
  4. Level The Fridge: Ensure the fridge is level to allow proper water flow.
  5. Humidity Drawers: Use the correct settings to manage moisture.
  6. Check The Door Seal: Inspect, clean, and replace if needed.
  7. A Broken Water Line: Check for leaks, and replace them if necessary.

Why Is There Water Collecting In My Fridge?

Don’t worry, your refrigerator is most likely not broken! 🤞

Water leakage in a fridge can be caused by several factors. The most common causes include a blocked or clogged defrost drain, ice buildup on the back wall, improper sealing of the door, and incorrect usage of humidity drawers.

These issues can lead to water collecting in the bottom of the fridge and vegetable drawers. By addressing these issues you can prevent water leakage and keep your fridge functioning properly.

Here are the most common reasons – and how to fix them. No handyman needed!

1. Blocked Drainage Hole

Water can build up in your fridge when the drainage hole gets blocked. This can be down to food, mould or general gunk building up over time and blocking water from draining away correctly.

How To Fix Water Collecting In Your Fridge Drainage hole
Drainage hole at the back of a fridge

The drainage hole is where any condensation built up in your fridge filters out. This is then collected into a small dish underneath the fridge next to the compressor, where it evaporates away.

When you find water in the bottom of your fridge, you want to look at the drainage hole first. Look in the back of your fridge, usually around the bottom centre part of the wall.

How To Fix It

Clean it with a fridge freezer drain hole plunger or something like a pipe cleaner or cotton bud, making sure any blockages are removed so water can flow away freely.

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2. Ice Build-Up

Not as common, but from time to time, ice can build up on the back wall of your fridge, which can stop water from draining out. This can sometimes happen if you’ve set your fridge temperature too low.

If the ice gets into the drainage hole or tube, it will block water from coming through. The tube itself can also get frozen, causing issues with draining.

How To Fix It

You will need to de-ice the fridge by turning it off and letting the ice melt. Then check to make sure water is draining out and the hole isn’t blocked. You can pour a small amount of hot/boiling water down the drain to melt away any last bits of ice. If you have a turkey baster handy, it’s the perfect tool for the job!

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3. Condensation

You’ve problem seen condensation in your fridge before. It’s completely normal, but too much can cause problems.

Condensation in Fridge
How To Fix Water Collecting In Your Fridge

Your fridge is obviously (but hopefully!) much colder than your kitchen. When warm(er) air from your kitchen enters your fridge, water droplets form on the back or ceiling.

How To Fix It

Keep your fridge condensation levels down every day by 1) never putting hot food in the fridge and 2) not leaving the fridge door open longer than needed.

You should also clean your fridge regularly, ensure it closes and seals properly, and set the fridge temperature between 1 and 5 degrees Celsius.

4. The Fridge Isn’t Level

If your fridge isn’t level or is leaning forward, water won’t flow down the drain hole correctly and could overflow down into the bottom of the fridge.

A quick and easy one to check. Get a small spirit level out and place it on one of the shelves inside to check the level of your fridge from side to side and front to back.

How To Fix It

Your fridge should have some adjustable screws/feet underneath at the front. Raise or lower these by a couple of turns to change the level of your fridge and get it set up spot on!

Top Tip: If you’re unsure how to do this check your manufacturer installation guide. Here are some links to popular brands: Bosch, NEFF, Samsung, BEKO.

5. Veg (Humidity) Drawers Not Used Correctly

Humidity Drawers 
How To Fix Water Collecting In Your Fridge

What are Humidity Drawers?

Many modern fridges now come with humidity drawers at the bottom for veg and salad. These are the drawers that have a vent or opening that can be adjusted open or closed. This adjustment allows or restricts airflow between the drawer and the rest of the fridge.

How To Use The Right Humidity Setting

There are basically two settings. Wet and Dry.

The wet setting (high humidity) is when the vent is closed to restrict airflow from the fridge getting into the drawer. This retains air and moisture in the drawer.

This setting is ideal for leafy green vegetables where you don’t want them to lose their moisture. It helps fruits and vegetables stored inside to remain crisp, moist and fresh for a longer time.

The dry setting (low humidity) is when the vent is open to help facilitate airflow between the fridge and inside the drawer. This helps to prevent excess moisture from building up and spoiling the fruit and veg.

The dry setting should be used if the drawer is really full or the food stored doesn’t need to have moisture retained.

So, if there’s water in the bottom of your fridge under the vegetable drawers, this could be the culprit.

How To Fix It

If you are storing lots of fruit and veg in the drawer with the wet setting selected you may be causing excessive moisture and water to build up and collect at the bottom of your drawer and fridge. If you have them, make sure you are using the humidity drawers correctly.

Top tip: Some fruit and veg should never be stored in the fridge as they prefer slightly warmer conditions.
Fruits: Pineapples, bananas, avocados, oranges, mangoes and watermelons
Vegetables: Cucumbers, eggplants, green beans, tomatoes and potatoes

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6. Check The Door Seal

The door seal, also known as the door gasket, plays a crucial role in maintaining the efficiency and functionality of your fridge. It ensures a tight closure, preventing warm air from entering the fridge and cold air from escaping.

Fridge door seal or gasket

However, when the door seal is damaged, loose, or dirty, it can lead to water accumulation.

When the door seal is not functioning properly, warm air can infiltrate the fridge. As this warm air cools down, it can lead to condensation which accumulates as water, typically at the bottom of the fridge.

How To Fix It

Regularly inspect the door seal for any signs of wear, tear, or damage. Look for loose sections, cracks, or areas that don’t adhere tightly to the door.

If that all looks okay, give it a good clean. Over time, food particles and other debris can accumulate on the door seal, preventing a tight closure. A thorough cleaning with warm water and mild soap can help maintain the integrity of the seal.

If the door seal is damaged or has become too loose, it might be time for a replacement. Although it’s a cost, replacing the door seal is a straightforward task that can often be done without the need for a professional.

Top Tip: Not sure if your door seals properly? Grab a piece of paper and close the door on it. If you can’t get the paper out easily, your fridge is good to go.

7. A Broken Water Line

While less common than other issues, a broken water line inside your fridge can cause water to collect in unexpected places. This happens when there’s a leak or damage to the water supply line that connects to your fridge’s water dispenser or ice maker.

This only affects fridges that have a water or ice dispenser.

If you have one, check for visible signs of leakage near the water supply line or behind the fridge. Listen for unusual sounds, like hissing or dripping, coming from within the fridge and examine the ice maker or water dispenser area for reduced functionality or lack of water flow.

How To Fix It

Turn off the water supply by locating the shut-off valve connected to the water line and closing it to stop the flow of water. Then disconnect the water supply line. Depending on your fridge model, you may need a wrench or pliers to loosen the connection.

Finally, Inspect the water line for any visible cracks or leaks. If the line is damaged, it will need to be replaced. Consider calling a professional if you’re uncomfortable doing it yourself.

Top Tip: If you need to order some spare parts (in the UK) I always use espares.co.uk

Tips and Preventive Measures

Ensuring a well-functioning, water-free fridge goes beyond fixing existing issues. By adopting a proactive approach, you can prevent water-related issues from arising in the first place.

  1. Regular Checks and Cleaning of Condensation Tray:
    • Your fridge comes equipped with a condensation tray or drip pan located underneath it, designed to collect excess water. Regularly checking and cleaning this tray can help prevent water overflow and subsequent pooling in or around your fridge.

  2. Ensure Proper Ventilation:
    • Good ventilation around your fridge helps maintain its efficiency and prevents overheating, which can sometimes lead to internal condensation. Ensure there’s adequate space around your fridge for air to circulate freely, and keep the ventilation grills on the back of the fridge clear of dust and debris.

  3. Avoid Overpacking:
    • Overpacking your fridge with food items can obstruct proper airflow within the fridge, leading to uneven cooling and potentially causing condensation and water accumulation. Maintain some free space in your fridge to allow for better air circulation.

  4. Maintain a Moderate Temperature Setting:
    • Setting your fridge’s temperature too low can lead to excessive condensation and ice buildup, while a high setting may not cool sufficiently. Refer to your fridge’s manual for the recommended temperature settings and adjust accordingly.

  5. Use Covered Containers:
    • Storing food in covered containers helps maintain the moisture level within the fridge, preventing excessive condensation which can lead to water accumulation.

  6. Avoid Leaving the Door Open:
    • Each time the fridge door is opened, warm air enters and can cause condensation. Avoid leaving the door open for extended periods and ensure it’s securely closed after use.

By integrating these tips into your regular kitchen routine, you can significantly minimize the chances of water-related issues in your fridge, ensuring it operates efficiently and lasts for many years.

When To Seek Professional Help or Consider A Replacement

At times, persistent issues like water accumulation in your fridge might indicate a deeper problem that requires professional attention.

If water keeps pooling in your fridge despite addressing all known causes and following the preventive tips, calling a professional technician for a thorough inspection might be a wise decision. They can identify and rectify complex issues that might be beyond DIY fixes.

If your fridge requires continuous fixes, the cumulative cost and inconvenience might warrant a replacement. Modern fridges are more energy-efficient and come with improved features.

Fridges typically have a lifespan of 10 to 20 years. If your fridge is nearing or has surpassed this age range and is exhibiting problems like water accumulation or inefficient cooling, it might be time to invest in a new appliance.

Lastly, check the warranty coverage of your fridge. If it’s still under warranty, some repairs might be covered, saving you money. However, if the warranty has expired, weighing the cost of repairs against the benefits of purchasing a new fridge is advisable.

By evaluating the performance and condition of your fridge against these criteria, you can make an informed decision on whether seeking professional help or considering a replacement is the right course of action.

FAQs

How can I prevent water from accumulating in my fridge?

Regular maintenance, such as cleaning the defrost drain, checking the seals, and ensuring the fridge is level, can all help prevent water accumulation.

Is water accumulation in the fridge a serious issue?

It may or may not be. While it can be a common issue, if left unaddressed, water accumulation can lead to unpleasant odours, mould growth, or even damage to the fridge or surrounding areas.

Can I fix the water accumulation issue myself or should I call a professional?

Many causes of water accumulation can be fixed with basic tools and a bit of time. However, if you are uncomfortable with DIY solutions or the problem persists, it might be a good idea to call a professional.

Final Thoughts…

There you have it! The most common causes of water in your fridge and how to fix them.

I hope one of these was the culprit and you’re all fixed up as good as new. No service call-out or new fridge required!

Just remember that you may need to keep an eye on these and give your fridge a good clean from time to time to avoid water collecting again.

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Author

Michael from Kitchinsider.com

Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for over 10 years. Before that, he was an electrician and part of a team that fitted kitchens. He created Kitchinsider in early 2019 to help give people advice when it comes to getting a new kitchen.