Why is there water under my fridge?
Water under a fridge is never a good thing and should be addressed immediately. The question to ask is, “Is the water coming from the front of the fridge or from the back?”
Before you proceed further, go downstairs and shut off the water to the fridge then proceed.
If it is from the back, typically it is from a broken ice-making water line which you can read more about in this blog article about how to fix your ice-maker. If it truly is from the back of the fridge, you may have a large issue with a cracked water line and this can be easily confirmed with a quick visual check by pulling out the fridge.
Once you have made sure that the water line is not the source of the water, then it is likely due to condensation from the front of the fridge. Most of the time, it is due to overstuffing of the freezer such that the door can not close entirely and there is a gap between the seal of the door and the freezer. Rarely is it the fridge as it does not get cold enough to form ice and allow for ice to build up.
This is quick and easy to identify. Close the doors as usual and inspect around the edge where the doors and fridge meet, especially on the bottom side if you have a low drawer freezer. Sometimes, the rubber insulation on the doors may be touching the freezer but barely, allowing for cold air to escape through the gap and forming condensation behind it. You can feel a slight draft if you wet your hand and place it by the gap.
If you are finding sheets of smooth ice when you open your freezer, this is the usual suspect for it. Not having a tight seal is actually really bad for your fridge as the compressor has to keep working to maintain temperature as more and more cold air leaks out past the gap.
To fix this issue, take everything out of your freezer and inspect the seals on the edges. If you have a drawer-style freezer, inspect the rails as build up of ice on the tracks can prevent it from fully closing. The same with freezer doors that swing open; ice build up near the hinges can prevent the door from fully closing.
Use a hair dryer on the highest heat setting but lowest fan setting to slowly thaw the ice build-up and make it easier to chip off. Using a blunt butter knife, as flat to the surface as possible to pry up large chunks of ice, is most effective. You are not trying to break the ice. Rather, you are trying to separate the ice from the freezer and remove it in one piece. Work from the edges in and be gentle, using the warm knife and hot hair dryer to worm the butter knife under the ice and lift.
Once all the ice has been removed, close all the doors and repeat the wet hands method to feel for cold drafts. Look at the rubber seals with the doors closed. They should be compressed slightly, roughly ⅔ of their original height.
If the rubber seal feels hard and inflexible, then it is time to call the pros to get your fridge resealed. If the fridge is over 15 years old, then consider getting a new one.
Even though resealing a fridge is not terribly expensive, the service call to get it fixed and time involved, can add up. With other key components of the fridge like the compressor and circuitry getting too old, other parts may break soon and it can get very expensive to constantly replace aging parts.