One of the most common causes of damage in our home’s kitchen is a refrigerator leak. Most of the time these leaks are caused by the refrigerator icemaker or the water line supplying water to the icemaker, but not always. Sometimes it’s just the result of a faulty refrigerator. If you find water inside or underneath the refrigerator it requires immediate attention.
The number one cause of refrigerator leaks is a problem with the icemaker water line. The connector between the water supply and the icemaker itself can become loose. The seals making the connection can age and crack. Correct this by ever so gently tightening the connection. After a slight tightening if there is still a small leak, the seal and/or compression fitting requires replacement.
When a homeowner decides it’s time to clean behind the refrigerator, the refrigerator unit is pulled out away from the wall. When the cleaning is done and it is time to push the refrigerator back into position if the person isn’t careful, the icemaker line can get crimped. Even though the line may not leak right away, the crimp weakens the line and sometime in the future the line will break near the crimp. When moving your refrigerator in or out it is best to have a second person assist you, making sure the icemaker water line doesn’t get pinched, twisted, or crimped.
Many times the water supply line to an icemaker is plastic. This is a bad idea. Plastic will get brittle with age and can be affected by heat as well as cold temperatures. Many times refrigerators are located in a corner of the kitchen, with only a narrow base cabinet separating it from a stove or oven. Every time the stove or oven is heated up, the heat from it can affect nearby plastic lines, even if there is a small cabinet in between them. Consider having a braided supply line installed to replace a copper or plastic line. You can find these braided lines on Amazon.com starting around $11, depending on how long you need the line to be.
Another common refrigerator leak involves the defrost drain. When the freezer on the refrigerator goes into its defrost mode, small particles of dirt or food or even ice crystals can easily block the drain opening. The defrost drain opening is small and can be clogged with debris or ice crystals. Flush the drain by slowly pouring hot water into it. If this doesn’t solve the problem, use a stiff piece of wire to attempt to remove the blockage.
If your refrigerator has a water filter it could be another source of refrigerator leaks. The connection could be bad. The seal on the filter could be faulty from the manufacturer. Maybe someone installed the wrong size or model for that particular refrigerator. Age could even cause the filter housing to crack. All of these could allow a water leak to occur. Check the connections between the filter and the filter housing. After checking this if there still is a leak in the filter system, it might be wise to contact an appliance repairman.
Sometimes the drain pan at the bottom of the refrigerator is where the leak may start. Although it is a rare occurrence, sometimes the drain pan will develop a crack or a hole. Unless the pan is, or becomes faulty, water in the drain pan usually evaporates long before it overflows the pan. Examine the pan for damage. Look for small pinholes or cracks. If no damage is noticeable, place the pan under a faucet and add water to it; look again for any small drips.
So you see a puddle of water coming out from under your refrigerator. You have a vinyl floor so you grab a mop, clean up the water and you’re a-okay! Not so fast. Is the drywall around the refrigerator wet? Are the baseboards gaping away from the wall due to expansion from being wet? Did the water get to the underside the vinyl flooring? If any of these things have happened, you’re real problem is still there. Water damage and a possibility of mold.
Drywall has a paper backing on both sides. That’s an organic food source for mold. Chances are that the walls have been painted with a latex-based paint. Latex is an organic food source for mold. Most vinyl floor coverings have a paper backing on them. Once again, paper is a food source… that’s right, for mold. In the case of vinyl flooring, it is next to impossible to dry the underside of it in a timeframe that will eliminate the chances of mold developing, If damage affects the underside of any vinyl flooring it is best to remove and replace the floor covering.
“But,” you say, “my walls didn’t get wet and I have a hardwood or laminate floor in my kitchen.”
Let’s start with any laminate flooring. Most laminate floors are installed over a plastic or vinyl-like cushion. Once water gets between the laminate and the cushion or the cushion and the subfloor, it is again next to impossible to dry before permanent damage occurs either to the laminate or the subfloor or mold develops. Once again it is recommended that the laminate flooring be replaced after the subfloor is dried.
When refrigerator leaks on a hardwood floor the damage is not immediately noticeable. Hardwoods absorb water slowly, so chances are that the damage won’t be evident in the first 24 hours. Then you might notice a waviness, or cupping of the individual floorboards around the area where the leak occurred. Unless action is taken quickly to reverse the damage, the damage could become permanent, requiring replacement or sanding and refinishing. Again before any restoration procedures can take place, drying must be performed.
A refrigerator leak may seem like a minor nuisance but it only takes a small amount of water to turn a small leak into a major problem. If you discover water coming from underneath your refrigerator don’t ignore the issue. If you are looking for free, expert advice concerning the damage caused by a refrigerator leak, you can get qualified help by calling 877-960-0491, night or day. These pre-qualified professionals can answer any concerns you may have and offer an effective solution to your problem along with a cost-free, no-obligation estimate.
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