How Much Water Should Be In Refrigerator Drip Pan?

By - Ron Singh

Updated -

The amount of water in a refrigerator drip pan is a topic worth discussing because it is one of the most common fridge problems.

Of course, some amount of water is to drip into the pan from the drain pan in the fridge. However, it should not overflow to the ground and cause a mess.

Constantly mopping the floor or placing a towel on the floor close to the fridge can be stressful and appear inappropriate.

Therefore you need to ascertain how much water your drain pan should house and how much the drip pan can take.

As the term drip implies, the drip pan is to house only a tiny amount of water. It is not to overflow or store moisture for a long time and indicates a problem if it does. So, you must pay attention to how much water it contains from time to time and fix it as soon as possible.

Why Is My Refrigerator’s Drain Pan Full of Water?

How Much Water Should Be In Refrigerator Drip Pan

There are various reasons your fridge’s drain pan will hoard water to the brim. Below are the possible reasons and solutions to the problem.

#1. Ice Maker Door Faulty

If the ice maker’s door is faulty, it will not close properly. Consequently, when you decide to defrost the ice maker, the condensed water will leak into the fridge and the drain pan.

This action will overwhelm the drain pan, and it will overflow. 

However, if the ice maker’s door is not faulty, the water will not leak into the fridge at the slightest chance.

You can fix this by; replacing the ice maker’s door with a new one or repairing the old one.

#2. Rapid Defrost Rate 

Occasionally, we must defrost our refrigerator because of a few reasons

  • When we intend to clean the fridge and rid it of germs and microbes.
  • There is an unusual and unnecessary amount of ice buildup in the refrigerator.
  • When the refrigerators drain pan is frozen and cannot trap any more water.

During the procedure, if the defrost rate is faster than the ability of the drain pan to trap water, it will be full.

But, if you defrost slowly without using any heating element like a hand dryer. You are at a higher risk of experiencing a problem.

Leaving the refrigerator to defrost on its own may take longer, but it will save you from creating a mess.

Nonetheless, you can apply this method if you do not mind having a puddle in your kitchen or wish to finish the work faster.

#3. Heating Element Faulty

The evaporator coil is the refrigerator heating element and facilitates the water entering the drain pan to leave faster.

This coil plays a significant role in the emptiness or fullness of the pan. You can find it at the base of the refrigerator’s drain pan.

It is responsible for leaving a small amount of water in the pan; it does not have to be empty.

Consequently, if the coil develops any fault that affects its ability to evaporate water rapidly, it becomes a problem. It is one of the most probable causes of a full drain pan.

#4. Door Not Closing Properly

The fridge stays at a specific temperature to preserve foods properly; if the refrigerator door cannot close properly, it will affect its performance.

In addition, when the door stays open, the fridge will give off heat to its surroundings, leading to condensation.

The door might be open if the gasket is worn. The reason is that the gasket acts as a seal that traps air and moisture in the refrigerator.

To fix this problem, you must replace the gasket with a new worn because once it wears, there is no going back.

Is there Supposed to Be Water In a Fridge Drip Pan? 

There is supposed to be some water left in the drip pan. However, it should not overflow or be higher than ½ inch from the base. Anything higher than this will be a problem as the water will eventually leak.

The drip pan is inside the fridge; if it leaks into the compartment, it becomes full or gets frozen. Eventually, if the door gasket is worn or you do not close the door properly, it will spill to the floor.

So, there should be no cause for alarm if you stoop to check the drip pan and notice some water. Now, the drain pan will freeze because of a fault in the heating coil. 

What Causes a Refrigerator Drip Pan to Overflow?

There are various reasons why a refrigerator drip pan will overflow.

#1. Clogged Drain Line

When the drain line is clogged, it leads to condensation that causes more water to go into the drip pan.

If this problem persists for a long time, the drip pan will continue to overflow and be challenging to handle.

To fix this problem, you must clean the drain pipe to remove clogs and particles.

#1. How to Fix a Clogged Drain Line

Here are the following steps to fix a clogged drain line

  • The drain pan is underneath the fridge, and the line is behind, so you must move the refrigerator away from the wall to access it.
  • Unplug the fridge from the socket before you move it from the wall.
  • Open the door and locate the drain hole at the bottom of the fridge. You must remove the boxes at the base to access the drain hole.
  • Then, flush the drain hole with warm, soapy water until you evacuate all the clogs. Put everything back when you are done.

#2. Damaged Drain Line

If the drain line is damaged, you must replace it with a new one. Damages include tears or wear that allow liquid to pass excessively when the cold air condenses.

#1. How to Fix a Damaged Drain Line

For this procedure, you will need the following tools.

  • ½ -inch wrench
  • Pliers
  • Zip ties
  • Drill driver

Now, here are the steps to replacing the drain line.

  • First, unplug the refrigerator from the wall to avoid electrical accidents. In addition, disconnecting from the power allows you to move the fridge from the wall without an obstruction.
  • Move the fridge from the wall and unscrew the bolts on the panel at the base. Next, use the plier to cut the zip ties that secure the drain pipe.
  • You can pull out the worn drain pipe with the zip ties out of the way. First, remove the insulating strip on the pipe and set it aside; then, you take the new one and attach the insulator to it.
  • Fix the pipe to the drain outlet and use the zip tide to secure it. Finally, you can screw the bolts back and close the panel. 

Factors to Account For With Water In the Refrigerator Drip Pan

Having established that the drip pan must house some water, let us consider the differences between the drip pan and drain pan.

The table below shows the unique features of both.

#1. Drip Pan Vs. Drain Pan

Drip PanDrain Pan
It is a flat tray that captures water from the refrigerator.This pan is at the base of the refrigerator with a hole or hole(s) for water to pass into the drip pan.
They are tiny and can only house a small amount of water. It catches condensation and directs it to the drip pan.
The drip pan can be a drain pan because it stores water.The drain pan cannot be a drip pan even though it can be interchanged.


In conclusion, the drip pan is in the refrigerator for a reason; to trap water. However, it must not be scorched every time; ½ -inch from the base of the tray is fine.

But, when you notice that it is complete and perhaps overflowing, it indicates a problem you can fix. It takes some tools and the correct information.

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