What Happens If A Refrigerator Gets Wet?

Dealing with water damage can feel like the worst thing in the world sometimes. Did your refrigerator recently become wet due to a flood or other water-related problem, and you aren't sure what to do? Well, we've done extensive research into this and have the answer waiting here for you. Let's get into it.

Depending on how wet a refrigerator gets, you could need to replace it. Typically, if your appliance becomes submerged in water, like in a house flood, you'll need to purchase a new fridge. We say this because many of a refrigerator's mechanical parts are underneath it, so water can cause major issues.

As we begin, we will cover all things refrigerators and discuss whether or not you can use yours after it gets wet. Whether your kitchen is flooded or your refrigerator has a leak, we're here to offer some help. With that said, let's dive right into this post!

Maintenance engineer is working in the kitchen and repairing the refrigerator, What Happens If A Refrigerator Gets Wet?

Can Water Damage A Refrigerator?

Yes, it is certainly possible that water will damage a refrigerator. Usually, flooding or a major leak will wreak the most havoc on your appliance, so expect an expensive repair if this is the case.

Flooded floor in kitchen from water leak

According to the Department of Environmental Protection, if your fridge becomes submerged in water, you need to replace it. The same goes for freestanding freezers/coolers, so keep that in mind.

Of course, water damage won't always happen so suddenly or dramatically, so if you notice a leak, make sure to fix it as soon as you can.

Ignoring signs of potential water problems can lead to you needing an entirely new refrigerator, so time is of the essence.

Can A Flooded Refrigerator Be Saved?

Unfortunately, most appliances, including the fridge, won't be salvageable after flooding. Considering that water will short out the electrical components on a refrigerator, flooding is almost always a death sentence for the fridge.

That said, some experts claim that rain damage to the exterior of a refrigerator isn't always permanent, so that's good to know.

On the same note, saltwater of any amount tends to leave irreparable damage to a fridge, so if you live near the beach and experience a flood, you probably need a new appliance.

What Do You Do When A Fridge Gets Wet?

If your fridge gets wet, it's good to inspect it before anything else. Check if your appliance has water inside and around the side and bottom of its exterior.

Like we said, flooding tends to take the lives of refrigerators most often, so you could be out of luck. However, if it only rained or wasn't enough of a flood to submerge your appliance, you could be fine.

Regardless, we recommend having a specialist test your fridge before you try to use it to keep everyone safe.

How Do You Dry Out A Wet Fridge?

For those with a wet fridge, you can tackle this in a few ways. First, we recommend using a towel to dry the entire inside of your refrigerator.

Then, you want to place a desiccant dehumidifier to absorb any excess moisture. This will dry out the entire inside of your appliance and should get things back to normal.

Of course, if your refrigerator's electrical components appear water damaged, you'll need to call a professional to inspect them, so don't plug in your fridge until that.

Young men mechanics checking refrigerator

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What Happens If The Back Of A Fridge Gets Wet?

Refrigerator coils at the back of fridge

Depending on how wet the back of a refrigerator gets, this could be permanent. Considering your appliance's condenser coils will typically run along its back or base, water damage can result in a broken fridge.

Furthermore, your refrigerator's compressor will be on its backside, and if that becomes wet, chances are your appliance will stop working.

That said, you may need to replace the coils or compressor, so your entire refrigerator might be salvageable. Additionally, the insulation inside a fridge can't get wet, so that's another thing to worry about.

Can The Back Of A Fridge Catch Fire?

Yes, the back of a refrigerator can catch fire. Although this won't typically happen because of water-related damage, overheating is a leading cause of fridge fires.

However, if water damages your appliance and you turn it on, this could lead to an electrical short, so that's not to say flooding causing a refrigerator fire is impossible.

Regardless, if you suspect any moisture near the back of your fridge, we recommend having someone inspect it ASAP.

Will Rain Ruin A Refrigerator?

If you have an outdoor refrigerator and it rains, this can be problematic. Generally, a bit of water on the outside of your appliance shouldn't destroy it; too much water can.

So if you notice the weather calls for rain, you should bring your refrigerator inside. You also want to make sure and wipe down your fridge if rain gets on it to avoid water seeping into one of its electrical components.

Furthermore, you might want to invest in a tarp or overhead cover for your outside refrigerator, which could save your appliance down the road.

Can You Transport A Fridge In The Rain?

In general, we don't recommend transporting a refrigerator in the rain. A fridge can get wet during the moving process unless it's covered, ultimately breaking due to water damage.

With that said, if you have your refrigerator in a box or waterproof cover, we don't see any issue with moving it during a rainstorm. Again, a tarp can be a lifesaver, so that's our recommendation.

Core Tarps Heavy Duty Tarp Cover

This heavy-duty tarp measures 8x10 feet, is waterproof and weather resistant, won't tear, and comes in various colors/sizes.

View this waterproof tarp on Amazon.

Is It Okay To Keep A Fridge Outside?

Yes, you can certainly keep a refrigerator outdoors, as long as you take a few precautions. Most importantly, you want to ensure your fridge isn't somewhere with full sun exposure.

The same goes for uncovered, leading to overheating and water damage. Even creating a weatherproof cover for your outdoor refrigerator can prevent it from becoming broken in case of rain/heat, later on, so we recommend it.

Furthermore, you can always move your refrigerator into the garage during inclement weather, so that's another idea to try.

How Do I Protect My Outdoor Refrigerator?

For those with an outdoor fridge, there are plenty of ways to protect it. Like we said above, placing your refrigerator under a weatherproof cover/tarp is a good place to start.

You can also apply a coat of stainless steel finish, which will help keep your fridge's exterior looking good. On top of that, you want to wipe down your refrigerator whenever you notice moisture, so keep a close eye out.

Are There Fridges Made For Outside?

Yes! Luckily, many manufacturers make refrigerators that claim to be outdoor-friendly. The difference between outdoor and indoor fridges is their temperature and overall climate tolerance.

Typically, an outdoor refrigerator will handle a broader range of temperatures. This includes warmer weather, as well as colder winter climates.

An outdoor fridge will also be made with more durable materials, so you don't have to worry as much about rust or damaged parts.

That said, just because a refrigerator says it is outdoor-friendly doesn't mean it can stand tons of water, so try to keep your appliance as dry as possible.

Does Flood Insurance Cover A Refrigerator?

Man repair a refrigerator

For the most part, flood insurance should cover the refrigerator. Considering many plans include large appliances, your fridge will be able to get repaired/replaced if need be.

Of course, this can vary depending on where you live and the policy you have, so it's always best to reach out to your insurance directly.

For example, the National Flood Insurance Program offers two types of flood coverage for homeowners: Building coverage and Contents coverage.

Luckily, both of these plans cover large appliances, although Building coverage seems more widescale.

To Wrap It All Up

Whether you recently had a flood or noticed a leak under your refrigerator, knowing what to do next is essential. We found that water can ruin a fridge and its electrical components.

Specifically, submerged refrigerators will most likely need to be replaced rather than repaired. Furthermore, if a fridge is outside and it rains, you could end up in the same situation. Again, every appliance will react differently to moisture, but it usually won't be good.

Regardless, make sure to protect your outdoor refrigerator with a weatherproof tarp and make sure to call in an expert after a flood to inspect your appliance.

Made it to the end? Check out these helpful related kitchen posts below!

Does The Refrigerator Water Filter Affect The Ice Maker?

Can A Refrigerator Be Transported On Its Side Or Back?

Should A Refrigerator Run All The Time?

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