A black sticky liquid in the fridge or under the fridge can be a source of concern. In this article, we’re going to give you 5 possible reasons why your refrigerator may be leaking a black sticky liquid, as well as some tips to fix it.
Your refrigerator may be leaking a black sticky liquid for one of the following reasons:
- Leaking or spilled food or drink items from within the fridge
- A leaky ice maker or water line
- An overflowing drip pan
- A blocked or clogged drain hole
- A combination of fridge insulation breaking down and excess moisture
If you’re concerned with the black liquid coming out of your fridge, read on below to discover the cause and solution to your sticky mess.
Why your refrigerator may be leaking a black sticky liquid?
The black sticky liquid might be a food or drink item that’s spilled inside the fridge and has solidified over time.
It could also be water coming from the ice maker, a blocked drain hole, or even from an overflowing drip pan mixed with dirt, grime, and soot that may have already been present on the floor.
Finally, your refrigerator may be producing a black sticky liquid because of deteriorating insulation mixed with other moisture produced by the fridge.
To determine which of these possible reasons fits your situation, read below to learn more about each one.
You may also be interested in: Why is oil leaking from mini fridge?
5 reasons for the black sticky liquid leaking from your fridge
There are several possible causes of a dark sticky liquid leaking from the fridge. Read about each one below and further investigate your situation to see if all of the details align before taking action to clean up the spill or attempt to fix the problem.
Leaking or spilled food or drink
Liquids like Coca-cola or balsamic vinegar can solidify into a black-colored sticky substance if left for long periods of time on the floor.
You’ll need to investigate further to confirm what the liquid really is.
This includes checking if there are food items dripping or spilling inside the fridge and checking the liquid’s texture to see whether it’s sticky or watery, dense or free-flowing.
Getting clarity around the above questions can help you quickly narrow down to what the sticky liquid is and the likely cause. In most cases, if you find a black sticky liquid around your fridge, it will be caused by food or drink items. Following the tips above, you’ll want to rule this one out before considering any of the more labor-intensive possibilities below.
Leak from an ice maker
The leak might be a case of a hole or a loose fit in the connection between the water line and the fridge that is collecting on the floor and mixing with dirt and other elements to create a black sticky liquid. In this case, the sticky substance must be coming from some kind of scum or grime that was already on the floor before the leak began.
The ice maker supply line is a tube that connects your water supply to your ice maker. Often times this tubing is made from silicon or other synthetic, bendable materials.
Occasionally, holes can develop in this tubing that can cause persistent leaks. These leaks can sometimes go unnoticed for weeks and can seep into the floor, leading to rot or mold in the floorboards and joists.
If you notice water puddling up under your fridge, be sure to check this line to see if you can locate the leak.
If you trace the black sticky substance and find that it’s caused by the ice maker supply line, you probably don’t have to worry much about the black sticky nature of the substance, as those elements most likely come from some kind of earlier spill. It’s the standing water that you’ll need to worry about most, as it can lead to more serious issues.
An Overflowing drip pan
In some older fridges, there is a drip pan located under the appliance to collect defrost water. Occasionally, these pans will fill up and overflow, leading to puddles of water under your refrigerator.
Again, if there are already grimy sticky elements on the floor from dirt or a previous spill of a food or drink item, the mixture of this substance and water could lead to a black sticky liquid. Once again, in this case, the real issue will be the standing water and not the black stickiness of the substance.
If you have an overflowing drip pan, you’ll simply need to remove it and dump the water. Of course, it is also very important to figure out why the fridge is producing so much water from defrost. Check to ensure the fridge has not been turned off for long periods of time, and make sure the compressor is still distributing freon to the fridge.
A blocked drain hole causing water leaks
Fridges have a drain that allows condensation and moisture that develops inside the appliance to purge efficiently and safely. If this hole becomes blocked, it can lead the liquid to pool inside the appliance, eventually leaking out through other means, such as through the door.
When you have a water leak of this type, it can pool up on the ground and combine with grimy elements already on the floor to create a black sticky liquid. If this is the case, you’ll run into the same problems as the scenarios above.
To fix this issue, you can take a pipe cleaner and run it up the drain to attempt to dislodge the object that’s blocking the drain hole. If this doesn’t work, you may want to use some kind of solution designed for unclogging drains.
A combination of fridge insulation breaking down and moisture
When you have broken insulation from door seals on your refrigerator, it can combine with moisture in the fridge, and this solution can leak onto the floor leading to the sticky you’re finding below your fridge.
If this is happening, it may simply be time to purchase a new fridge. If the fridge insulation is breaking down to this degree, you’ll eventually start to have problems with temperature regulation. There’s no easy fix for this issue.
Could a black sticky liquid be oil from the compressor?
If you find a black sticky liquid underneath your fridge, you might be tempted to think it’s oil leaking from the fridge’s compressor. Oil from the compressor will either appear clear or a brownish, rusty color from the metal. Check to see if the liquid is truly black and sticky. Oil should be slick and more clear in color.
Oil leaking from the compressor is a serious issue and can quickly degrade your refrigerator. The tell-tale signs of a leaky compressor are:
- An oily-smelling, clear/brown dense liquid appears on the ground at the back of the refrigerator.
- It continues to drip even after you wipe it up.
- A clinking sound occurs while the fridge is running.
If your fridge is experiencing all of these symptoms, then you may have a leaky compressor. If not, you’ll need to consider one of the reasons listed in the section above.
How to find out what the black liquid is
The following questions can help you find what it is to make an informed decision about what to do next.
Does the fridge have any food items?
If the fridge is empty, for example, it helps rule out the possibility of a food spill. If the fridge is full, however, you’ll want to investigate the items inside to ensure the black liquid couldn’t be coming from a leaky food or drink item.
Could it be a bottle of Coca-Cola or any other black liquid
If you find that there are dark-colored liquids in the fridge, check to make sure they aren’t leaking. Pick up the bottles in question and look for sticky spills inside the fridge. If you find a leak, trace the liquid’s path to make sure it’s not leading directly to the spill site.
Is the rest of the fridge clean?
Remove the various shelves and drawers in the fridge to make sure it’s clean and check if there are any traces of the liquid.
There is always a possibility that what you have in the fridge is responsible for the black sticky liquid.
Be sure to thoroughly investigate this possibility before moving on to other theories. This is the cause of a high percentage of these types of occurrences.
Is the liquid smelly?
Smell the black sticky liquid to determine if it smells more like oil or food waste. If it smells like food waste, the odds are that it’s coming from leaking items within the fridge. If it smells like oil, it could be an issue with the compressor.
Is your drip pan overflowing?
Refrigerators that automatically defrost can have a drip pan located below the fridge to collect excess water. These can fill up quickly and overflow, causing the defrost water to leak onto the floor. If this is the case, you’ll need to empty the drip pan, then try to determine what’s causing the excess water melt.
Should you continue using the fridge leaking black liquid?
If the fridge is running smoothly and cooling as expected, then you can probably continue running the fridge as you troubleshoot the issue. If you hear a distinct clanking noise or notice the fridge insulation is breaking down, you may want to remove all of the contents of the refrigerator and unplug the appliance.
If you are unsure or have serious concerns about the food safety or performance of the fridge, do not hesitate to consult a qualified fridge technician.
What causes pools of water under the fridge?
A pool of water under the fridge can be caused by loss of power to the fridge, forcing it to defrost and cause water leaks; perhaps the fridge door is not firmly closed or even spills from the foods and drinks in the fridge. We’ve already covered a number of possible reasons your fridge may be leaking, but you can find out more in this post: Mini fridge leaking – (Quick fixes)
A dark sticky liquid from your fridge can be one of several issues ranging from dripping or leaking food items in the interior of the fridge, an overflowing drip pan, a blocked drain tube, or failing insulation.
Depending on how smoothly the fridge is running, if it is still cooling properly and the problem is localized to the issues above, you may be able to use the fridge as you continue to investigate the cause of the water leaks.
If, for whatever reason, feel unsafe or uncomfortable, consult a qualified technician for immediate support.
Why is there a thick black liquid leaking from refrigerator?
There could be a number of reasons, including a food or drink spill, water leaking from other areas and mixing with floor grime or dirt, oil leaking from the compressor, or insulation breaking down from within the fridge and combining with moisture.
Why is there clear oil leaking from fridge?
It could be oil leaking from the compressor where it serves as a lubricant.
Why is there brown liquid leaking from fridge door?
This could be a food or drink spill, or it could be insulation breaking down in the door, mixed with moisture from the refrigerator.
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