Manufacturers design ice makers to work in a very straightforward way. Water flows into the ice maker, and then ice cubes fall out. So, why does an ice maker leak water onto the floor instead?
A leaking ice maker is likely due to a clogged defrost drain, incorrectly set fill level, and loose or damaged fittings and hoses. Finding the root cause will take a bit of detective work as you must inspect each part closely and trace where the water is coming from.
Keep reading as this guide tells you everything you need to know about why your ice maker is leaking water onto the floor.
Ice Maker Leaks: General Causes and Solutions
Any ice maker that leaks water onto the floor has three likely reasons. They are a clogged defrost drain, an overflowing ice maker, and loose or leaking fittings.
Let’s take a closer look at each of those possible causes and how to fix them.
Clogged Defrost Drain
What it is: The defrost drain is a standard feature in many refrigerators and their ice makers. Manufacturers include it in the appliance so that any excess water can flow out quickly and neatly without causing a mess.
Typically, a lot of water forms when the appliance goes into its regular defrost cycle. The cycle runs for a set period to melt away any excess frost and ice buildups.
That’s why it’s often referred to as the ‘defrost drain’ and comes as a standard feature in most refrigerators and freezers.
How it fails: The defrost drain is prone to clogging and freezing. There are two reasons for this problem:
- Food bits: People use refrigerators to keep many different food items inside. From there, food bits and other debris can find their way into the defrost drain, causing a clog. In addition, water will back up when it can’t flow through the drain, causing water to leak onto the floor instead.
- Frozen water: The water that flows into the defrost drain is very close to freezing temperature. So, it can frost up and freeze very quickly, causing a clog inside the drain. The defrost drain doesn’t have a heater inside to melt that clog, so water backs up and leaks onto the floor.
How to fix it: The solution is to clear the clogged defrost drain.
Firstly, you must clear the drain by removing any food bits or debris lodged inside. However, if you find that the drain is frozen, you must melt away that ice buildup.
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You can do so by slowly pouring hot water into the drain until the ice melts and flows away.
Remember: never use hair dryers, heat guns, or any similar tool to melt the ice inside the appliance. Those tools shoot a concentrated blast of heat that will warp and damage the plastic panels around the ice maker.
Overflowing Ice Maker
What it is: Ice makers work by receiving a steady supply of water that freezes into ice cubes. Most appliance brands and models allow you to control that water supply to ensure that you get the exact type of ice cubes that you want from the ice maker.
Typically, you can adjust the ice maker fill level by turning a set screw somewhere inside the appliance. When the fill level is set correctly, the ice maker will produce solid ice cubes for you to enjoy.
How it fails: When you find that the ice maker is working correctly but leaking water onto the floor, the fill level is likely too high. So, the ice maker fills up with more water than it can freeze into ice cubes.
When left for too long, the excess water will overfill the ice maker and leak out into the compartment and then onto the floor around the appliance.
How to fix it: You can quickly fix this problem by adjusting the ice maker fill level. Firstly, refer to the appliance manual or tech sheet to identify your ice maker’s fill adjustment set screw.
The screw typically requires a flat tool like a screwdriver to turn. You should turn the fill level slightly lower and see if the ice maker still overflows.
The goal here is to lower the setting to the point where the ice maker doesn’t overflow but still produces solid ice cubes. So, if you find that the ice cubes are hollow or brittle, that means you’ve set the fill level too low.
Loose Or Leaking Fittings and Hoses
What it is: Ice makers rely on several fittings (e.g. elbows, couplings, etc.) and hoses to supply it with water. In many ways, these fittings are similar to the ones used in the rest of your household plumbing system.
There are fittings and hoses inside and outside the appliance related to the ice maker. Firstly, some connect the machine directly to your household’s water supply.
Then, there are fittings and hoses within the fridge that carry water through a water filter and then into the ice maker.
How it fails: Water supply fittings can sometimes become loose if the appliance has been moved around a lot. Besides that, they can also form cracks if they’ve ever been hit accidentally.
For example, these issues can happen when accidentally pushing a fridge too hard against the wall behind it.
Besides that, friction can also cause hoses to develop pinhole leaks which go unnoticed until enough water leaks onto the floor.
How to fix it: This issue can be tricky because you must inspect all water supply fittings and hoses up-close. That will include the parts outside of your fridge and those inside the appliance as well.
Take a flashlight and check the fittings outside of the appliance, for starters. That will allow you to look for any leaks or damaged parts.
Then, repeat the same inside the appliance. This part might require you to unscrew and remove faceplates or other plastic panels inside to expose those hoses and fittings.
You should tighten any loose fittings that you find to be leaking water.
Remember: don’t over tighten them, as that will cause the fitting to break. Instead, tighten those fittings just enough that water no longer leaks out anymore.
Any damaged parts you find must be replaced with new ones, as you can’t repair them.
How Do I Stop My Ice Maker From Leaking Water?
The best way to stop your ice maker from leaking water is to have a proper maintenance plan in place. Here’s a 4-step maintenance plan to help you prevent your ice maker from leaking water:
- Check fill levels: Firstly, you can prevent ice maker leaks by occasionally checking and adjusting fill levels. The setting should be enough to produce solid ice cubes without overfilling the ice maker.
- Clear drains: Defrost drain clogs don’t happen instantly. Instead, the clog builds up gradually until no more water can flow through. Regular cleaning of food bits and debris, as well as melting frost and ice, can prevent the drain from clogging up entirely.
- Inspect hoses and fittings: Ice maker leaks rarely happen instantly, like with a hose suddenly bursting. Instead, more minor symptoms like pinhole leaks and dripping connections occur first. Look for them so you can tighten loose fittings and replace leaking hoses before they cause more significant problems.
- Invest in high-quality parts: Wherever possible, always invest in high-quality parts like a copper ice maker line. You can have them put in before the ice maker is installed or whenever you decide to replace the existing water lines.
Why Is My Frigidaire Ice Maker Leaking Water On The Floor?
The two most likely reasons your Frigidaire ice maker is leaking water onto the floor is a damaged water inlet valve or a problem with the water filter:
- Water Inlet Valve: Firstly, check that all of the attachments to the valve are on tight. If they’re in good condition, water is likely leaking out through a cracked section of the valve. For this, you must replace the valve with a new one.
- Water Filter: Check the water filter for any visible signs of damage. If the filter is still new, it’s likely that it was not installed correctly or that you’ve used one that’s not compatible with your Frigidaire model.
Why Is My Samsung Ice Maker Leaking Water Into The Bin?
Samsung refrigerators have a known issue that causes water to leak into the ice maker bin. That problem is caused by a faulty ice route assembly that fails to close completely.
Warm air will enter when that happens, and excess water can leak out into the bin.
Firstly, check that nothing is obstructing the ice route assembly’s flap. If that’s not the case, you must replace the ice route assembly.
Commercial Ice Machine Leaking Water
Commercial ice makers leak for similar reasons as household units built into fridges. Those reasons include:
- Loose fittings.
- Leaking hoses.
- Frost and ice build-ups that block drains.