Your fridge most likely contains a bunch of your comfort food neatly packed for the rainy days, when all you want to do is to destress and recharge. So when what is supposed to be a safe haven suddenly appears to leak and leaves your favorite desert soaking wet, saying that it’s a bummer is an understatement. While there may be lots of reasons for a wet fridge, they almost always boil down to the ultimate science of it all: condensation.
Your fridge may be wet inside when it’s unbalanced, contains hot or warm food, or is positioned in a humid location. Some quick fixes would be leveling the fridge, cooling food down to room temperature before refrigeration, and purchasing a dehumidifier.
Condensation happens in your fridge for a variety of reasons. To fix your wet fridge, read on for the most common causes and what you can do to prevent them from happening.
1. Refrigerator Is Not Balanced
When you buy your new fridge, the seller will tell you to level it correctly most of the time, as it has something to do with maintaining the efficiency of the compressor, keeping the fridge working at its optimal condition and increasing its useful life.
Regardless of how technical these things may sound, an unbalanced fridge has impractical impacts on our daily lives and would cause considerable annoyance when ignored.
In some refrigerator models, there are drains located inside to allow condensed water to flow through them. Unlevelled refrigerators, however, disrupt this natural liquid drainage and eventually lead to accumulation.
The resulting water puddle will likely go unnoticed, especially when the fridge is always full, and there’s an adequate number of food items blocking your view.
The problem becomes more serious when, over time, these puddles make the inside of your refrigerator more humid and result in water accumulation elsewhere.
2. Your Fridge Contains Warm Food
When you’re in a hurry to leave the house after a long food prep session, you may be tempted to immediately place warm food inside the fridge, thinking it’ll increase its shelf life when it’s refrigerated as soon as possible.
The thing is, when placing warm food inside the fridge, you not only waste energy but also potentially damage the refrigerator, especially if it’s an older model. The warm food emits heat into the system (that is, the inside of the fridge) and makes the immediately surrounding air warm. This makes for an excellent opportunity for condensation to take place.
3. The Fridge Is Frequently Opened
You may also notice that the more often you open your fridge, the worse the liquid accumulation becomes inside of it. This is because heat quickly travels into the refrigerator. When the fridge is set to a low temperature, the temperature gradient becomes too steep, helping accelerate condensation and more rapidly producing moisture inside.
You may now be seeing a pattern here. It’s almost always the case that when you waste energy when using the fridge, you risk it becoming wet too, and everything goes back to science. Condensation occurs when cold air meets warm or hot air, and the fridge uses energy to cool warm air and bring the temperature of everything inside it into the target temperature.
4. Too Many Items Are Packed Inside the Fridge
Do you like prepping your meals for the entire week? Stacks on stacks of ready-to-heat meals in containers just waiting to be taken out of the fridge make for a well-organized week ahead.
If you’re into this kind of stuff, though, the likelihood of overloading your fridge and ending up with a water puddle becomes highly likely.
Not all refrigerators are made the same, and in particular, they differ in their respective cooling capacities. When this capacity is exceeded, the fridge may not be able to reach the target temperature and bring the entire system to equilibrium; that is, no heat transfer occurs.
Without equilibrium, there will always be warm air from the heat released by the fridge items, colliding with cold air vented out by the fridge itself. This scenario facilitates condensation and leaves you with a wet fridge and possibly spoiled food.
Stacking your fridge with too many items, especially rectangular food containers, may also block the vents that circulate the cold air inside the refrigerator. This leaves some fridge portions with inadequate cold air to bring their temperature down to the target temperature. No cold air circulation means condensation and moisture accumulation.
Hence, even if the fridge is supposedly able to handle the amount of food and drinks put inside, the lack of adequate circulation leaves patches receiving too much cold air and the rest with barely enough to keep them from spoiling.
5. High Humidity in the Fridge’s Location
Sometimes, you may not be opening the fridge to an unnecessarily frequent degree, and yet you still end up with a wet fridge. This may be due to the location of the refrigerator itself. When you place a refrigerator in an area with high humidity, that means too much vapor surrounds the appliance.
Each time you open the refrigerator, warm air quickly rushes into the inside of the fridge, leaving your cold air inside with volumes of warm air needing to chill. Once again, condensation finds an excellent opportunity to take the limelight.
6. Improper Food Storage
Before you consider the possibility that your fridge may just simply be broken, there’s one more possible cause for your wet fridge.
Particular food and drinks emit huge amounts of vapor into the fridge after some time, and storing them properly is crucial in maintaining a neat and dry fridge.
For instance, leafy greens and peeled fruits contain relatively high moisture that readily evaporates due to the dry air inside the refrigerator. The produced vapor condenses once it collides with cold air, leaving you with, yup, you got it, a wet fridge.
7. Broken Fridge Parts
When you believe you’ve done the above steps and yet nothing really changes for the better, it may be that your fridge door or some other part of the appliance is broken or cracked. It could also be that the rubber strip that seals the fridge door into the fridge itself is torn.
How Do I Stop Condensation in my Fridge?
You can stop condensation from taking place in your fridge by incorporating some minor tweaks including limiting how often you open the fridge, not overloading it with food and drinks, replacing a broken part, or maybe changing its position.
1. Level Your Fridge
One of the most basic requirements before using your fridge is to level it. Almost all fridges come with adjustable legs to do just that. If you have a level bar handy, you can place it on top of your fridge and adjust the legs until the bubble in the bar is centered. You can also download a phone app that does the job with insignificant implications on accuracy.
After leveling, wipe your fridge dry of any standing water that tends to accumulate on the corners. If the leveling were the only problem, it should only take a few hours before the fridge gets up to speed and starts operating under optimal conditions.
2. Cool Down Food to Room Temperature Before Refrigerating
Taking the time to make your freshly cooked meals cool down to room temperature benefits you in at least two ways.
- You reduce the amount of electricity you consume by letting nature take its course and bringing the food’s temperature down. This eliminates the energy requirement for the fridge.
- This saves you from the annoying, and at times, gross circumstance of a fridge shelf dripping with water.
Patiently waiting to bring the food down to room temperature is almost non-negotiable if you want a clean fridge. Otherwise, the time you saved from simply waiting for the food to cool down may just be used for cleaning the fridge after water starts to accumulate inside.
3. Be Mindful of How Often You Open the Fridge
An excellent way to avoid frequently opening the fridge would be to ask yourself why you’re doing this in the first place.
Is it simply for cold water? Then perhaps place cold water with ice cubes in an insulated pitcher instead of using your refrigerator as storage for drinking water that you’ll likely consume in less than an hour.
When cooking multiple meals at a time, plan the entire process ahead. Take out all the necessary ingredients, except for those that melt quickly, such as, say, the ice cubes you palace in the blender.
This method not only saves electricity from the frequent opening of the fridge door and prevents condensation from taking place, but it also potentially makes your cooking process more efficient.
Remember that if you seem to open the fridge door frequently enough that condensation inevitably occurs, it may be that you’re keeping something in the fridge that doesn’t need to be there. Efficiency is key!
4. Don’t Overload Your Fridge
An excellent way to prevent condensation from taking place in your fridge is to be mindful of the vent locations. Additionally, make sure that cold air freely circulates around the fridge, helping it reach equilibrium much faster and prevent condensation (assuming that the amount of food items is within the fridge’s capacity, of course).
5. Adjusting the Humidity in the Fridge Location
Bringing down the humidity around the fridge location to its ideal value, usually between 30 to 50%, can save you from the unnecessary hassle that a wet fridge brings.
A good dehumidifier may also be an instant fix. Looking for good-quality dehumidifiers is crucial in making this fix work. Besides helping your fridge function more efficiently, this can also improve your family’s health and prevent non-fridge-related damages that may occur at home due to excessive humidity. Hence, this quick fix helps you hit multiple birds with one stone.
6. Store Food Properly
After washing your fresh lettuce and other veggies, make sure you drain them properly before placing them inside. An alternative would also be to put them in an airtight container to trap moisture and prevent them from vaporizing and mixing with cold air.
Besides treating yourself with a dry fridge, you also end up with one that is easier to organize. Properly storing food items also prevents them from getting contaminated by other food items and preserves their quality.
7. Hire an Expert or Replace Broken Parts
When all the suggested fixes do not work, then it may be time to consider hiring an expert or replacing broken parts.
Most of the new fridges on the market have more extended warranties for fridge parts, so it may be a good idea to contact your supplier for a possible free repair service or replacement.
If this isn’t the case, it would be time to assess whether you can fix the fridge yourself and buy the replacement parts somewhere. Or whether you’d instead save time and effort by paying someone else to labor over your leaking fridge.
Any food or beverage whose temperature is higher than the fridge temperature is a route for condensation, and the warmer they are, the worse condensation they’ll surely cause.
Putting this into consideration and being careful about how warm air enters the fridge can drastically reduce water accumulation inside the appliance.
Quick fixes include letting food cool down before refrigeration. Making sure that the fridge is balanced and that humidity in the fridge location is within acceptable levels will also help keeping condensation away.
When nothing works, though, remember that it could also be the fridge itself that needs fixing.