moisture in refrigerator

Why Is There Excessive Moisture In My Refrigerator?

In most cases, having a little bit of moisture in your refrigerator is no cause for concern. This normally happens when the weather is warm and humid; it could also be because of the way you use (or abuse) your refrigerator.

However, if you find that the moisture is excessive, it may be because your refrigerator has trouble maintaining its temperature. It could be a mechanical problem in your refrigerator that is rearing its ugly head.

In this article, we will discuss the probable causes why your refrigerator is building up condensation, and how to solve it.

Does excessive moisture in your refrigerator mean trouble for you?

Dew drops normally form in your refrigerator during its operation. When air gets cold, it’s moisture-holding capability is reduced. This forces the excess moisture in your refrigerator to condense into visible dew drops.

When the moisture manifests itself in tiny beads, it is normal. However, if it forms into large beads, there could be a problem. It may be by the way you use your refrigerator, or it could be an early indicator of mechanical problems. Either way, you should properly diagnose it to prevent complications.

Non-problem causes

Here are several non-problem reasons why your refrigerator is building up moisture. These are mostly related to misuse. So these problems can be easily solved at no cost to you.

Frequent opening of door

Opening the refrigerator’s door will introduce warm and moist air to the cold surfaces of the fridge. As said earlier, when this moist air eventually cools down, it will let most of the moisture go, eventually forming the large beads of dew inside your refrigerator.

It’s easy enough to avoid this. Just minimize the amount time you spend opening the fridge door. Don’t forget to wipe off the condensation from the fridge, as this can cause frost to form in your refrigerator compartment.

Storing hot food in the fridge

When the steam coming from warm food in the refrigerator cools down, it will eventually cause condensation to form on the walls of the fridge.

Allow your food to cool down before storing them in the fridge. Make sure to keep them covered as well.

Improper temperature setting

Refrigerators typically operate at a temperature of 0°C – 5°C. Ideally, you should set your fridge at 2°C – 3°C to safely store your food.

Setting your refrigerator at 5°C can make it too warm. Not only will it cause excessive moisture inside the refrigerator, it can also cause spoilage and spur bacteria growth that can cause food poisoning.

High ambient temperature

Okay, this one isn’t your fault at all. If the ambient temperature gets too warm, it can throw the refrigerator’s temperature regulation out of whack. This could make the air inside the fridge to be temporarily warmer. It usually goes away though.

Mechanical Issues

If you think that the previous four reasons are not the ones that are causing the moisture build-up in your refrigerator, then you might be encountering mechanical problems with your fridge. It could be any of the following:

Door gasket not sealing properly

If the condensation is mostly concentrated in the on the edges of the fridge door, it may be an indication that there is something wrong with the gasket.

The gasket seal keeps the warm air from the outside from entering the refrigerator while the door is closed. If the gasket is broken on torn, it can leak warm air into the refrigerator which will cause moisture to build up.

Most gaskets can be easily replaced by yourself. However, if your unit is still under warranty, you can call a technician and have the gasket replaced.

Clogged drainage

Moisture in the refrigerator is normal; which is why fridges have drain holes to lead the excess water from the inside to the drain pan just above the compressor. The heat from the compressor eventually evaporates this water away.

However, if you see excessive condensation in the refrigerator – so much so that it is making a little puddle in your fridge – then it may be because its draining capability is compromised.

The fix is easy enough, just locate the drain hole (refer to your operation manual), grab a pipe cleaner and just jam it through the hole until you remove the clog. You can even put a baking soda and vinegar solution down the hole to dissolve the hardened impurities away. Just rinse with water – oh, and don’t forget to keep an eye on the drain pan to keep it from overflowing!

Malfunctioning thermostat

The thermostat regulates the temperature in the fridge; it tells the compressor when to start or stop.

If this part malfunctions it can make the temperature inside to fluctuate from warm to cold. When it makes the fridge unusually warm, it can coat the surfaces with “sweat” – excess condensation.

Worse, if the thermostat swings to the other side (i.e. extremely cold), it can make this “sweat” freeze – leaving you with a layer of frost on your fridge walls. Defrost this, and call a technician!

Cooling problem

If your refrigerator is sweating, and you notice that the temperature is abnormally warm as well, then it has a problem with cooling – determining which kind of problem is paramount to solve this issue.

The problem may be any of the following:

  • Refrigerant leak
  • Clogged coils
  • Malfunctioning evaporator fan
  • Malfunctioning condenser fan
  • Compressor breakdown

Call a technician to help you diagnose the problem.

Conclusion

In summary, you should expect some moisture forming in your refrigerator. The level will be determined depending on how you use (and abuse) your refrigerator. But if it reaches a point that it pools in some areas inside your fridge, then you may be up for expensive repairs and a lot of headache.

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