What to Do If Your Refrigerator is Leaking – Quick Expert Answers

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There are many articles on the internet about how to fix a leaking refrigerator. But most of the time, when you look up “what to do if your refrigerator is leaking”, what you’re really looking for is someone to tell you what to do right now, to stop the water from damaging your home! That’s what this article is for.

We’re Cleaner Guys, a professional water damage cleanup company. We help people deal with the aftermath of leaking fridges all the time. We can tell you the very first things you should do, and who to call! Read on.

Table of Contents

What to Do If Your Refrigerator is Leaking – First 5 Steps to Take

If you discover water pooling from the bottom of your fridge, here are the first 5 crucial steps that you must take immediately. This is from our decades of experience as professionals who clean up water accidents like this.

  1. Begin soaking up the water with towels, blankets, etc.
  2. Turn off the water source to the kitchen.
  3. Call a plumber.
  4. Call a water damage restoration company.
  5. Continue drying out the water as best you can.

Let’s break these down more, so you know why you should do these steps.

Soaking up the water

You need to start by soaking up the water because the longer it sits on your floors, the more likely it is you’ll have water damage to deal with. Floors that soak up a lot of water almost always breed mold. They have to be dried out as quickly as possible.

Turning off the water supply

    Turning off the water supply to the kitchen may help to stop the water flow. If the water is coming directly from the refrigerator and not from its supply line, turning off the water supply valve may not do anything. However, at this stage, when you’ve just discovered the water, you don’t know where it’s coming from. So turning off the water supply is a fast and easy way to have a chance at stopping it.
    Most water supply shutoff valves are in the basement, but some may be in odd places — mine is in my pantry. Know where your water shutoff is before something like this happens.

    Calling a plumber

    Calling a plumber is the next best step for most laypeople. There are plenty of videos on the internet about how to troubleshoot why your refrigerator is leaking. But, if you’re not already familiar with the workings of refrigerators, we strongly recommend that you simply call a plumber.
    It is very tempting to attempt to figure out the issue yourself. However, if you spend a couple of hours unsuccessfully trying to figure it out, the water will have spread even further. This will create water damage you can’t repair yourself, and that will be more expensive to fix than just hiring a plumber.

    Calling a water damage restoration company

    The next step, calling a water damage restoration company, is the one most people skip, to their detriment. Water soaks into floors very quickly, and even when the surface is dry, the floor underneath the surface is often still saturated with water. This will not only cause mold to grow and spread where you can’t see it (which can make you sick), but it can also make your floors dangerous. Here at Cleaner Guys, we got a call from a man just recently whose dog fell through the man’s kitchen floor because the fridge had been leaking for a long time, and it made the floor soft!
    Find a good, reputable water damage restoration company, and give them a call to avoid all of that. Tell them when the water damage started, how big the water spread was when you found it, how quickly you cleaned it up, and whether the floor now feels dry. They can use that information to determine how likely it is that there is water damage in your floors that they should come inspect. Do not skip this step! It can lead to dangerous mold growth later.

    If you’re not sure how to find a trustworthy restoration company, click here to read our guide on choosing the right company.

    Continuing to dry out the area

    After you’ve called a plumber and a restoration company, you should continue drying out the area as best you can in the meantime. Set up any fans or dehumidifiers you have around the wet area, and point them at it. Use a hair dryer too, if you have one and you have the time! You need to get the affected area dry as fast as possible, so that mold doesn’t grow.
    Pull out your refrigerator from the wall too, and do your best to soak up and dry out the water back there too.

    Why is My Fridge Leaking Water?

    According to Mr. Rooter Plumbing, there can be several causes of a refrigerator leaking water. These include a cracked drain pan, the fridge door being slightly open for too long (which causes increased condensation), a clogged defrost drain, or a leaking water supply line. In our experience at Cleaner Guys, water supply lines are usually the biggest culprit.

    Mr. Rooter Plumbing recommends several different ways of fixing these issues, but as previously mentioned, our strong recommendation is still to call a plumber. One of these methods may work on your refrigerator, but you might have to go through several potential fixes first, and in that time, you risk severe water damage that will require a professional water damage restoration company to fix.

    Is My Fridge Leaking Water or Refrigerant?

    Worried that your refrigerator might be leaking some chemicals like refrigerant and not water? The answer to this question is actually very simple. If you see a puddle of liquid under your fridge, it’s water. Refrigerant like Freon is a gas, so if your refrigerator is leaking refrigerant, there will be signs of it, but you won’t be able to see it. Some signs of leaking refrigerant like Freon are strange smells in your kitchen, your refrigerator constantly humming without ceasing, food feeling warm, and more, according to Universal Appliance Repair.


    Our strong recommendation when you find that your refrigerator is leaking is to first start soaking up the standing water, then turn off the water supply, then call a plumber and a water damage mitigation company. After that, keep drying out the water with fans and dehumidifiers. You can try to troubleshoot and fix your fridge on your own, but we don’t recommend it, because while you’re trying to figure it out, the water is soaking deeper into your floors. This will mostly likely cause unreachable water damage and mold that you can’t take care of on your own. It will cost you a lot more money. The most important thing when you find that your fridge is leaking is to stop it as soon as possible. That’s our advice as a professional water damage restoration company.

    Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. No part of this article is medical or legal advice, and may not be used as such. For all serious medical matters, consult your doctor. For all serious legal matters, consult your legal advisor. This article contains Cleaner Guys’ experience and opinions only.

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