How can I stop the extreme condensation in my refrigerator?
June 21, 2008 9:50 PM   Subscribe

How can I stop the extreme condensation in my refrigerator?

For the past month or so, there's been an extreme amount of condensation appearing in my refrigerator - I mean, the shelves nearly have puddles on them. It's been hot and humid here lately - but this seems extreme!

Some other pertinent details:

1) I'm moving, so the refrigerator is emptier than usual.
2) I haven't adjusted the temperature control, which is in the middle of the extremes of its adjustment capabilities.
3) I haven't been opening or closing it any more than usual.
4) No lint buildup anywhere underneath or in the back, as far as I can see.

posted by Dee Xtrovert to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is the fridge closing all the way? If the rubber part isn't creating an airtight seal, this kind of thing can happen.
posted by Geppp at 10:05 PM on June 21, 2008

possibly it has lost a little gas. this means the performance will drop.
but if it is just a change in ambient, then make the fridge colder.
if you put the setting slightly colder, the air will be naturally dryer.
posted by edtut at 10:10 PM on June 21, 2008

Are you getting a big puddle of water on the bottom of the fridge? Our fridge once got a huge amount of water in the bottom because the drain line from the freezer had gotten clogged with ice. Maybe that might be your problem?

Before that time, I didn't even know that freezers had drain lines, but apparently the "self-defrosting" models do. When all is functioning as it should, the water generated by defrosting drains down to a pan beneath the fridge and evaporates away unnoticed. Our line got clogged by ice, as I said, I believe because I had had the freezer door open for a long time to clean it out very well. I cleared the drain line with some well-placed hot water and the problem hasn't returned.

Good luck!
posted by Sublimity at 10:19 PM on June 21, 2008

You could consult a local appliance repair person to give it a look but it sounds like your fridge is failing at an opportune time for you.
If I may say so, your main concern is disposing of it.
posted by longsleeves at 10:33 PM on June 21, 2008

This happens to me from time to time, and it usually means it is time to defrost the freezer.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:47 PM on June 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

Yeah, the first thing to do is to completely defrost the thing, and I mean completely. (I do rental maintenance so this comes up a lot.) Just cleaning out the freezer itself isn't enough -- you have to make sure that the airway transferring cooled air back to the fridge is actually open. You could even have a little squirrel fan in there that's iced up. When this happens the condensate builds up and you get more water in the bottom than usual.

If this doesn't resolve it, though, then you almost certainly need a new gasket, usually for the fridge (used more often). The standard test is how easily you can pull a dollar bill out of the seal when you close the door on it. There should be moderate resistance. Try it in several places.

If the gasket is only loose in a small place or two, you can try rejuvenating it with some WD-40 -- this can help displace water that's built up in the rubber and can prevent it from having enough "give". (This works with car door gaskets too.)

Ultimately it's an inexpensive ($20-50) fix to just order a new gasket and install it (takes 15-20 minutes, almost no tools).
posted by dhartung at 11:15 PM on June 21, 2008

We had a condensation problem with our fridge this year, to the extent that water was pooling on the shelves. As it turns out, it wasn't the fridge producing excess condensation, but the drain hole at the bottom of the back wall being blocked. If your fridge is the 'wet wall' type where condensation is collected at the back and drains out the bottom, check for excessive pooling around the drain hole and if necessary clear the hole out with an appropriate tool (I used a drinking straw).
posted by Bodd at 2:39 AM on June 22, 2008

To make it slightly more efficient, store a bunch of soda bottles full of water in both fridge & freezer. Whenever I've had condensation troubles, it's the gasket.
posted by theora55 at 8:32 AM on June 22, 2008

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