Is Your Refrigerator Flooding?

Refrigerator with water dispenserRefrigerator floods are no laughing matter! Last month, my sister in-law’s fridge leaked causing the hardwood floors to pucker and swell, pushing cabinets and even lifting countertops! They’ve had to move out while their kitchen undergoes a massive overhaul. When my refrigerator line broke back in 2012, it was a similar story. The damage was extensive, and repairs were time consuming and expensive! So what can cause leaks and flooding and how can homeowners prevent it?

Causes for Refrigerator Floods and Leaks

Does your refrigerator have an automatic icemaker or a cold-water dispenser? If so, that plumbing is all capable of breaking. What if you don’t have a water line to your fridge? You can still have a leak. Humidity from the air and produce becomes ice or water when cooled. Modern refrigerators have been designed to automatically defrost: ice is melted, flows down a drain, and collects in a drip pan where it is heated (usually via waste heat from the refrigeration system) to evaporate the moisture. If the condensate is not taken care of properly it can become water damage!

Looking a little more closely, here are a few common causes:

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Shopping for Kitchen Appliances in Santa Clara County

Periodically, components of a home have to be replaced, whether a furnace, water heater, washer/dryer set or anything else.  They simply don’t last forever, and too often they don’t last nearly as long as we expect.

Ten years ago, about a year after purchasing our home in the Belwood area of Los Gatos, we remodeled our kitchen.  It was quite an upheaval and very expensive, so we were hoping it would “last” awhile.  (Kitchens get a remodel on average every 16 years in the U.S., by the way.)  But by years nine and ten, some of our kitchen appliances started to act up, and this week our dishwasher gave up the ghost entirely.  I really had hoped it would have gone closer to 15 years, but the apparently the fancy newer appliances have a lot of parts, all of which can fail.  I was told that ten years is about average now.

Jim and I are very analytical about major purchases, so I spent a lot of time on Consumer Reports (where I’m a member) first, reading reviews, watching videos and eliminating a few brands right off the bat.  Unfortunately the CS site does not include Energy Star ratings info, so I also visited the PG & E site and was cross referencing.  Naturally, I’d like to get a rebate!  There’s also a sort of cash for clunker appliances deal, too – you can get $100 back for your old dishwasher if you purchase one of the newer models on a list that the stores have.  Buying a dishwasher is a little like booking airline tickets now: you have to factor in any rebates, trade ins, delivery charges, haul away fees, etc. as well as the actual price so you can compare the true net cost of one appliance versus another.

We visited seven stores on Saturday, hoping for good Labor Day sales and wanting to end hand-washing our dishes as soon as possible.  We stopped by businesses in Campbell, Santa Clara and San Jose (skipping another good store in Mountain View as it was just too far for us):  Fry’s, Home Depot, University Electric , Western Appliance, Sears, Costco and Best Buy.  I didn’t want to make this purchase online as there are too many things that might not be fully disclosed with a web purchase but can be understood in person.
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