Can Refrigerators Get Wet? (What About Outdoor Refrigerators?)

Image fo a woman cleaning wet refrigerator

Refrigerators have more insulation than most other kitchen appliances. So can refrigerators get wet?

Refrigerators can’t get wet unless they are exposed to harsh environments. They are well insulated to prevent water from getting inside and damaging the electrical parts. However, on getting wet, the water and moisture can cause irreparable damage to the refrigerator’s insulation and cooling system.

Let’s talk about this in more detail now.

What Happens When A Refrigerator Gets Wet?

You don’t want your refrigerator to get wet. But what if it does?

Here’s what happens if a refrigerator gets wet.

1. Moldy Insulation

Refrigerator cabinets are surrounded by a polyurethane thermal insulator to preserve the temperature and reduce heat transfer.

This insulator is made out of a foam-like material.

When this layer gets wet, it absorbs the moisture and keeps it trapped inside.

The soggy, damp foam creates the perfect environment for fungus and mold, two things you don’t want near your food.

It also doesn’t help that reaching the insulation to clean or replace it is near impossible.

You’ll have to pull out the cabinets, which will damage them in the process.

2. Rusty Compressor

The compressor is one of the most intricate and expensive components in a refrigerator.

It’s difficult to change, and once damaged, it can be very costly to fix than getting another refrigerator.

Even if it’s water-proof, continuous exposure to rain or other sources of water still can corrode it from the outside.

And if the water makes its way into the inner components, it’s time to get a new refrigerator.

Recommended Further Reading:

3. Destroyed Mullion Heaters

Mullion, or frame, heaters are heating elements placed on the refrigerator frame.

It helps prevent the formation of condensed surfaces on the exterior.

If your refrigerator has it, be careful not to expose it to rain or water in any way.

These components are hazardous if exposed to water. For one, they might short-circuit and cause a fire.

There’s also the risk of shock hazard if you’re standing in water.

4. Fried Electric Boards

The inverter board is something all refrigerators have at their bottom.

It controls one of the most important parts of a refrigerator: the compressor.

The compressor is considered the “heart” of a refrigerator as it pumps the refrigerant throughout the system.

Unfortunately, this essential piece is sensitive to damage and may pose a shock hazard.

Should You Repair Or Replace A Wet Refrigerator?

Man repairing refrigerator

At this point, you know it’s better not to expose a refrigerator to water.

Its thermal insulation layer will get moldy, its electric boards will fry, and its compressor will become rusty and defective.

All this sounds like too much damage to fix, and you might be correct.

At some point, buying a new refrigerator is the smarter solution.

However, if you’re wondering if you can salvage a refrigerator, the answer is, sometimes.

So, when can you repair a refrigerator instead of replacing it?

If the compressor is destroyed, then it’s a lost cause.

Furthermore, moldy thermal insulation is impossible to remove without destroying the inner cabinets.

But don’t lose hope just yet.

If your refrigerator has damaged mullion heaters, you can remove them.

They’re not as difficult to replace as compressors.

You can do it yourself or get a professional to do it for you.

Just remember to cut off the power first to avoid getting electrocuted or injured.

As for the inverter board, if it’s damaged, but the compressor is still working, then all you have to do is replace the board.

It’s a simple, straightforward process.

The best part is you don’t have to worry about other electric components, such as condensation coils and fans.

They’re not as affected by water.

Related Further Reading:

Are Outdoor Refrigerators Get Wet?

Outdoor refrigerators are explicitly designed to weather all the difficult environmental factors.

This includes extreme temperatures and getting exposed to rain.

So can an outdoor refrigerator get wet without getting damaged?

The short answer is that it depends on the quality of its materials. For example, stainless steel is mainly used in outdoor refrigerators to combat corrosion and rust. However, not all stainless steel grades are designed to guard against moisture.

Moreover, the better the stainless steel quality, the more expensive the refrigerator.

Yet, it’s worth every penny in the long run.

If you look at the larger picture, then yes, outdoor refrigerators have a high chance of withstanding rain and water.

For example, the compressor made out of stainless steel will have a longer life because it’s more rust-resistant.

So you won’t have to repair or replace it if it gets wet.

It also helps that all circuit boards in outdoor fridges are heavily insulated to be water and weatherproof.

However, the refrigerator manufacturer must piece everything correctly.

This is to make sure the insulation will only work correctly.

Why Do Refrigerators Wet On The Inside?

We talked about what to do if the refrigerator gets wet from the outside.

But what happens when the water comes from inside?

If you walk up to your refrigerator and find puddles of water underneath, this might be a cause for concern.

To understand why this can happen, let’s first take a look at the cooling cycle of a refrigerator.

It’s no secret that refrigerators dehumidify the air inside them.

They strip the air molecules from water particles and transport them through a pipe to a water-collecting tray near the compressor pump.

Sometimes this pipe can get blocked, causing the condensed water to accumulate and overflow into the refrigerator cabinet.

One reason for the blockage is food fragments getting stuck in the pipe.

You can fix this in a couple of ways. One is to pass a long wire through it to remove the debris.

The other is to temporarily remove the food and cut the power off till the pipes defrost.

Then, clean up all the water, turn the power back on, and put the food back.

Another reason for the formation of water puddles is a damaged door gasket.

The gasket helps seal the refrigerator door properly and prevents condensation and heat exchange.

If a door gasket is ripped or worn, it can cause a constant flow of outdoor air inside.

This results in condensation build-up and creates those sludgy water puddles found under the refrigerator.

This can also happen if you constantly open and close the refrigerator door.

So ensure that the door is not opened frequently and is closed securely.

If the door seal is damaged, get it fixed as soon as possible.

This will help ensure the inside of your refrigerator stays nice and cool, and you won’t have any water puddles under the refrigerator.

Interesting Further Reading:

What To Check If Your Refrigerator Has Got Wet?

Whether you own an outdoor refrigerator or an indoor one, both can get damaged when exposed to water.

Here’s what you should do if your refrigerator has got wet:

  1. Don’t touch it before cutting the power first.
  2. Check for mold.
  3. Check the compressor for odd sounds and vibrations.

How To Ensure Your Refrigerator Doesn’t Get Wet?

Here are a few things you can do to make sure your refrigerator doesn’t get wet:

  1. Buy a high-grade refrigerator.
  2. Protect your refrigerator by using a moisture-resistant cover, especially in wet weather.
  3. Always check the condition of the door gasket.
  4. Check the status of the drainage pipe.

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