It’s never a positive sign when you see water leaking into your refrigerator. If you see water moving from your freezer into your refrigerator, you might be considering panicking. After all, this seems like it could be a sign of a major problem. Before you call to get repairs done, you should be aware that this problem usually has a fairly simple solution.
There are two main causes of water leaking from your freezer into your refrigerator. The first potential cause of this issue is that there is a blockage of the defrost drain. The second is that your fridge/freezer door gasket is compromised. While this kind of leak may seem like it’s only going to ruin your food, it is something that you should take care of as soon as possible. Understanding how and why the problem occurs will help you understand how it can be fixed.
Blockage of the Defrost Drain
Part of the process of understanding how to fix this problem requires a basic understanding of how your freezer works. The role of your defrost drain might be more important than you think, so you’ll need to make sure that you clear any blockages as quickly as possible.
Purpose of the Defrost Cycle
During the cool down process, after the heat absorption caused by the evaporator coils, the evaporator fan blows the frigid cold air through the unit. This frozen mist builds up on the evaporator coils and freezes. In order to melt the ice and maintain the freezer and fridges functionality it has an automatic defrost function. Freezers are designed to go into a ‘defrost’ mode once every so often – some models run in defrost mode every six hours, while others might go as long as two days between cycles. Regardless of the timing.
Defrost Drain Specifics
The defrost cycles cause the ice to melt. As this water cannot simply stay in the unit, freezers are designed with a defrost drain to carry the melted water away. A properly functioning defrost drain will carry the moisture out of the freezer and into a pan where it can safely evaporate.
The location of your defrost drain largely depends upon the type of freezer that you own. The main rule for finding your defrost drain is to open the freezer compartment of your unit, and locate the evaporator cover. Once the cover is located you will remove it and the drain should be below the evaporator coils.
If you have a top freezer refrigerator the drain will typically be located towards the back and bottom of the freezer compartment. You will need to remove a cover to access the drain.
If you are struggling to locate your defrost drain the smartest thing to do is to look at your manual.
Steps to Removing Defrost Drain Blockage
Now that you know the cause of the freezer leaking water into fridge space, you can start working on fixing the issue. You’ll need to remove the drain blockage in order to accomplish this task.
- Clear the contents of the freezer
- Remove the evaporator cover (this will be located in the back of the freezer and covers the evaporator coils and fan)
- Melt the ice that has built up on at the bottom of the freezer. You can melt the ice by using a blow dryer or you can poor hot water over the ice to melt it.
- Grab a towel and soak up the water
- Locate the defrost drain and use a turkey baster that is filled with hot water and blast it down the drain. Once you see water coming out the other end of the drain you know the clog is partially gone
- You will then clean the drain by using 1/3 cup of baking soda with 3/4 cups of water. Once you have made the mixture pour it down the drain and clean out the bin where the water collects.
Refrigerator Door Gasket
When you’re done clearing your blockage, your refrigerator leaking water from freezer problem should be solved. How ever lets say you realize that this is not the issue it could be that your freezer door is not staying shut after being closed.
The seal on your refrigerator door actually plays a fairly important role. When it is functioning correctly, it helps to ensure that the door properly closes and that the interior temperature of the unit stays at an optimal temperature. If the seal is damaged, your freezer will have to work harder to stay cold which then leads to higher energy bills and more wear on the unit.
How to Check if Your Fridge Gasket Works
You’ll want to start by checking out the integrity of your freezer’s seal. The quickest way to do this is with a piece of paper. You’ll need to shut the freezer door with a piece of paper between the gasket/seal and the fridge. Then you will try to pull it back out. If it’s easy to pull out, the seal isn’t in good shape. Your next step, then, will be to clean the seal to try to bring it back to an effective state.
How to Clean Fridge Gasket
Cleaning a freezer seal is actually fairly simple.
- You’ll want to use a very basic cleaning solution here – some use a tablespoon of baking soda in warm water, while others use a gentle household cleaning solution. Both are solid choices for cleaning off your seals without doing any damage to the material.
- Take a good microfiber cloth and dip it in your solution, and then use that cloth to wipe away all of the gunk build-up on your seals. You should get rid of not only most of the dirt and grime but other problems like mildew and stains at the same time.
Once you’re done, you can test the seal one more time. If you’ve cleaned it properly, the seal should be airtight. If there is still an issue, you should check the seal for any kind of physical damage. While you might not be able to deal with this damage on your own, being able to identify it will allow you to better communicate your problems to those who will repair the unit.