My Fridge Is Leaking Inside! What Should I Do?

A large water leak inside your refrigerator is certainly dramatic and possibly even terrifying (as in “I fear for the well-being of my wallet if I have to shell out a lot of money for a repair”). On the other hand, this type of leak does not usually have a noticeable effect on the operation of your refrigerator or freezer, other than leaving refrigerated food soggy, so you may be tempted to bury your head in the sand and ignore the problem. This is not a good idea, as the loss will not go away on its own. However, it is quite easy to fix. I fixed this particular refrigerator myself and lived to tell the story.

flooded basement cleanup

Total moisture loss

My refrigerator is a fairly new model, with no freezer and no freezer. I noticed the moisture on the bottom shelf for a few weeks but didn’t act until it turned into a real leak. This coincided with a particularly busy season for my warranty repair service. When I called them, they said it would be more than a week before a technician could come and fix my leak in the refrigerator. So I took a look at everyone’s favorite DIY repair manual, the internet, to see if I could fix the leak myself.

Defrost drain block

My research was comforting. Apparently, leaks inside the refrigerator are generally less serious than water deposits on the kitchen floor. It seemed that the cause was the defrost drain. In freezers, freezing of this drain due to ice or food residue is a simple and fairly common problem. Water that cannot come out of the defrost drain as it normally would, hence the leak.

To start

The solution is just as simple (in theory at least): unblock the drain. Good and fair. The initial step of the instructions was doable. I took the food out of my freezer and put it in a fridge. (If you are testing this in very hot weather, you can insulate the chest with blankets to keep it in the cold air.) I also took the food out of the fridge to make cleaning easier.

Remove the drain cap

The next step was easy too. I unplugged the refrigerator from the electrical outlet to allow the liquid in the drain hole to thaw. I had read that pouring hot water down the drain would speed up the process. However, I first had to remove the drain cover, which was also frozen. After several hours, I was able to move it around a bit, but it sure wasn’t going anywhere. Afraid of damaging it with brute force, I waited a bit longer. I’m still out of luck.

Hot compresses

Finally, I decided to apply a little TLC, in the form of a warm compress placed over the drain. I had to replace the compress several times as it cooled down, but in about an hour the drain cover could be removed.

Empty the drain

From there it was easy to flush the drain with hot water. Some people use a turkey stick for this, but since I last roasted a whole turkey it was … uh … never, I don’t own this particular kitchen equipment. Instead, I used a funnel to pour a thin stream of warm water down the drain. After a while, the liquid flowed freely, without any hindrance. Problem solved!


Now my successful adventure in the world of refrigerator repair is complete, all that was left for me was to clean up the mess. Not the most pleasant task, but my warm glow of accomplishment made it that much easier to tackle.

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