Refrigerator Leaking Water: Top 8 Reasons and Fixes for Kenmore, Whirlpool, Frigidaire, GE, and Other Brands (With Video!)
If your refrigerator is leaking water, there’s likely something wrong with one of the components inside of it. Troubleshooting the issue can give you the tools you need to repair or replace the part that is giving you trouble. First, though, make sure you’re safe by unplugging the refrigerator from the wall or turning off the circuit breaker. The water supply under the kitchen sink should also be turned off. Once you have safely disconnected your fridge, follow this easy guide to diagnose which component is the problem and save money fixing it yourself.
Once you have identified the part needed for your refrigerator, search below using your specific fridge model number to identify the exact part needed:
- Freezer Drain
The freezer drain is the first place to inspect if your refrigerator is leaking water. It’s the part that drains water when the refrigerator is set on the defrost cycle. Most of the time, it’s going to be located on the bottom of the freezer behind the back panel. If this component gets frozen up or clogged, it won’t be able to drain water properly and might cause leaking. The water can also go into the bottom of the freezer and be frozen into a chunk of ice.If you have a side by side refrigerator, the water may start to leak out on the kitchen floor. On the other hand, for refrigerators with freezers on top, the water can go into the refrigerator and lead to frost. The first step is to visually inspect the freezer drain to see if food or ice is clogging it up. Remove any food and use hot water to break up any ice that is there. It’s also a good idea to inspect the drain tube on any refrigerators that have them. Check for clogs between the cabinet and the evaporator pan. If there are any present, make sure to remove them. If there is damage, the parts may need to be replaced.
- Water Inlet Valve
The next part to inspect when your refrigerator is leaking water is the water inlet valve. This is typically caused through a clogged valve, a bad solenoid, or a jammed plunger. Before checking each component, the first thing to determine is how good the water pressure is in the house since a certain pressure is needed to keep things working the way they are supposed to. This information can be found in the refrigerator user manual. Pressure that is too low or too high can cause problems like leaking water.
Sometimes the water dispenser solenoid can malfunction so the water inlet valve doesn’t open and the water isn’t pushed to the dispenser, leading to a leak. Find the solenoid for the dispenser, which is often a 5/16 inch line. This solenoid will need to be tested for continuity using a multimeter. First, set the multimeter to continuity and then touch the probes together to make sure the tool is working. Then take the wiring harness off the solenoid and press a probe to each terminal. If a reading isn’t present, the solenoid has gone bad and should be replaced.
If there is a reading on the solenoid, the next thing to check is whether the valve has a clog or jam. Turn on the power and water and put a bowl underneath to catch any water. Next, disconnect the water line before pressing the dispenser. If there isn’t any water coming out of the valve, it is damaged and it will need to be replaced.
- Ice Maker
Another part that can lead to a leaking refrigerator is the ice maker. If it isn’t working in the way it should be, it could be causing leaks. The ice maker is the part that causes the ice to come out of the dispenser door and it can come in a variety of styles, including flex tray style and half-moon style. All ice makers do the same thing and will have a tray where the ice is made as well as a control section that controls the different cycles of the ice maker.
While the ice maker can be several locations, it’s typically found in the freezer. You’ll want to make sure that the switch for it is in the on position and that the ice maker arm faces down. Check your user manual to determine what temperature the freezer should be at to make ice. This will be under 10 degrees Fahrenheit in most cases. If you find that the freezer is warmer than expected, the condenser coils may need to be cleaned.
Next, make sure the fill tube is going into the ice maker and the ice maker is mounted in the proper area. If it’s mounted where it’s not level, the water will go to one end and overflow to cause leaking. You’ll also want to look at the trays as some of them can crack and allow water to leak out. If the control section goes bad, this can keep the ice maker from dumping the cubes, which can lead to overflowing and leakage. If the contacts inside are failing, they can leave the water on longer than it should be and lead to overflowing. In some cases, the various ice maker parts can be bought individually, but in other situations, you will need to buy an entire ice maker.
- Water Filter Assembly
If there’s a leak in the refrigerator, the next thing to look at is the water filter assembly. This is a component that is used to filter the water when it comes into the refrigerator. Many water filter assemblies are on the market but most will include a water filter and either a water filter head or a water filter housing. This is typically found near the kick panel on the bottom of the fridge or in the fresh food section.
When a water filter is clogged, it can lead to a leak in the refrigerator or it can reduce the flow of water to the dispenser. When the head has been damaged, there’s typically no water flow at all. To check the component, the water and power will need to be turned back on for a short time. Push the water dispenser and see if water comes out. If it doesn’t or the flow is slow, the water filter will need replacement.
The check valve in the filter housing can also become stuck and cause issues. It’s tasked with turning the water off if the filter is removed. Most of the valves will come with one or two pins that can be pressed to make it seem as if a filter is inside. If this valve is in your refrigerator, take the filter out, use screwdrivers to push the pins, and then press on the dispenser. If there is no water coming out, the part is bad and the water filter head will need to be replaced.
If the valve doesn’t have pins, move to the back of the fridge and then disconnect the water filter return line. Place down a bowl before pushing on the dispenser on the door to see if water comes out. If it does not, the filter head will need to be replaced. If the housing or filter are leaking, they will need to be replaced.
- Ice Maker Fill Tube
The ice maker fill tube has water flow through it to reach the ice maker and can lead to a leaking refrigerator. Fill tubes come in all sorts of styles but all of them do the same job. The tube is responsible for connecting the water supply line with the ice maker fill cup. Most of the time, it’s mounted on the outside of the refrigerator and goes through the back wall into the area over the ice maker.
If this part is cracked outside of the fridge, water can leak down the line and reach the floor. Damage on the inside will create water underneath the fill tube which can turn into ice in the freezer. If the ice maker fill tube is damaged in any area, it needs to be replaced.
- Water Tank
Another thing that can lead to a leak in the refrigerator is the water tank. This part is responsible for holding all of the cold water inside of the refrigerator. Depending on the type of refrigerator you own, this tank can be a length of tubed coiling or a reservoir. Most of the time, the water tank is going to be found in the back area of the fresh food section behind the access door or wall.
If the water tank is leaking, it will typically lead to water ending up at the bottom of the refrigerator. Get access to the tank and visually inspect it for any leaks that are present. If there are any found, the tank will need to be replaced.
- Drain Pan
Assuming the parts above have all been in good shape, it’s time to look at the drain pan. This component holds the water from the defrost cycle when it clicks. Drain pans can be found in a variety of styles, but most of them are made of plastic. Since these are exposed to heat, over time, they can get cracks and start to leak water. The drain pan is typically found in the back of the refrigerator behind the access panel but sometimes can be found in the front behind the kick plate.
If water is leaking from the area, pull the drain pan out and look for any damage to it. If there is damage present, it will need to be replaced to stop the leaking from the refrigerator.
- Water Lines and Connectors
The final thing to inspect on a refrigerator that is leaking are the water lines and connectors. Each of these parts is responsible for taking water from one location in the refrigerator to other areas. Water lines and connectors will be made out of plastic and often come in 5/16 and 1/4 inch sizes. There are two seal styles depending on the connectors. One has O rings on the inside while the other uses a compression fitting.
There are many connectors and water lines throughout the refrigerator and any of them can be causing a leaky fridge. If you know where the refrigerator is leaking, the best option is to look at any connectors and hoses that are located nearby. If you aren’t sure where the leak is from but none of the other components were damaged, inspect all of the lines for cracks and holes that might be leaking water.
Once the lines have been inspected, take time to visually inspect the connectors to be sure they aren’t leaking. It’s possible to remove a leaking line and attempt to reseat it to see if that resolves the issue. However, if that doesn’t make a difference, the connector or line or both are going to need to be replaced. Sometimes the lines can be bought on an individual basis, and if a small section is needed, it can be spliced in with two connectors.
Still have questions after reading this guide? Please reach out to AppliancePartsPros.com, we are always happy to help you fix your appliance yourself. Since 1999, AppliancePartsPros.com has helped millions of people repair their broken appliances by providing high-quality original parts at well below retail prices, free tech support and troubleshooting, and award-winning customer service! We’re open 7 days a week. Visit our site at https://www.appliancepartspros.com or call us at 877-477-7278. Over 90% of orders delivered in 1-2 days with guaranteed overnight shipping available! 365 days to return any part. Expert, friendly, US-based customer support team.