Water damage is a scary thing, especially since often times we don’t even know that there is water damage happening until long after the fact. Take, for example, water damage caused by a leaky refrigerator. Because the fridge blocks your view of the wall and floor behind the unit, you won’t notice water damage is occurring unless the leak creates a visible puddle.
What can we do about refrigerator water damage? We’ll walk you through what to expect when facing water damage caused by your fridge, how to repair it, and whether or not insurance will cover the costs.
How Long Before My Fridge Causes Water Damage?
Refrigerator water damage doesn’t always happen suddenly. Often times what ends up happening is the plastic water line behind the refrigerator will crack or weaken, causing a slow leak. Over the years, this leak drips water down to the floor and wall beneath the fridge, causing slow but progressive refrigerator water damage.
Other common causes of fridge water damage are ice maker leaks and condensation. Unfortunately, even just a little bit of added moisture from condensation buildup can spell disaster for your walls and floors. That’s the scary thing about water damage – it’s silent and happens over long periods of time.
How to Repair Water Damage from a Refrigerator
The repairs will depend highly on the extent of the water damages. If the water has only recently been there, chances are that you can mop it up and air out the surfaces. Once dry, flooring should return to normal. You’ll want to make sure that the walls are adequately dried as well, since this will prevent mold growth.
If your fridge has caused water damages over a long period of time, however, you’ll likely need to have the flooring and drywall completely ripped out and replaced. This is where things get costly. Because mold is also a serious possibility, we recommend that you leave the job of assessing and repairing the damages to a professional.
Preventing Fridge Water Damage
One clear way to prevent fridge water damage is to regularly check and maintain your fridge. First, try to clear away any dust and debris from behind the unit, then check for hard water buildup in the water line. You might even want to consider upgrading the plastic water lines to a braided steel supply line.
We also recommend purchasing a battery operated water alarm. This water alarm can be placed behind the refrigerator, out of sight. While you’re at it, you can place one beneath your kitchen sink and behind the dishwasher, too. If the alarm comes into contact with water, it will let off an alarm. This will help prevent water from sitting unseen for too long, which causes permanent water damages.
Will Insurance Cover Refrigerator Water Damage?
Unfortunately, slow leaks (like ones caused by a toilet, ice maker, freezer, or fridge) are NOT covered by a typical homeowner’s insurance policy. Your insurance will usually cover things like damage caused by a “sudden and accidental” leak or other malfunctions, and not water damages that are determined to be due to negligence. For instance, water damages caused by a burst pipe would likely be covered – but repairing the pipe itself would not be. Your best bet when it comes to refrigerator water damage is to use the preventative tips above, and to regularly check and maintain your fridge.