sign that reads 'This water keeps the fridge from leaking. Please fill and return it to the fridge when leaving.' (l) hand pointing to water jugs in refrigerator with sign from left panel (r)


‘Not all management companies are in your best interest’: Airbnb fridge contains 4 water jugs ‘to stop it from leaking,’ sparking debate

'There was also a boarded up fireplace.'


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

Posted on May 18, 2022   Updated on May 18, 2022, 2:21 pm CDT

An Airbnb TikToker is going viral after discovering a puzzling mystery in her host’s kitchen: Four jugs of water in an otherwise empty fridge, labeled, “This water keeps the fridge from leaking.”

Viewed 3 million times in 11 days, this TikTok was posted by @ajowensfam, an Airbnb host who specializes in TikToks about home decor and Airbnb hosting.

She was obviously concerned about those four water jugs, adding that this Airbnb rental also had other problems: “There was also a boarded up fireplace, broken tiles and so much more. Not all management companies are in your best interest.” Commenters were intrigued: What was up with the water jugs? Was this a bizarre new Airbnb red flag?

@ajowensfam There was also a boarded up fireplace, broken tiles and so much more. Not all management companies are in your best interest. #airbnb #airbnbfinds #badmanagement #airbnbhost ♬ Funny Laugh no no no – Sound Effect

While the idea of a leaky fridge is somewhat ominous, a lot of TikTokers had theories of their own, offering practical explanations for why it’s actually a good idea to keep water jugs in an otherwise-empty fridge.

“refrigerators need mass to function. if the fridge is empty it will not work correctly and probably has a ton of Condensate,” wrote one commenter, with @ajowensfam replying, “Good to know, that makes sense.”

Others suggested that the water bottles might correct an uneven weight balance in the empty fridge. However one particular explanation clears up the question of why the fridge might leak: “With little or no thermal mass to ‘hold’ the cold, the compressor will have to cycle frequently, which may cause it to overheat and lead to defrosting.”

So while some commenters did see this TikTok as an example of how Airbnb apartments can’t be trusted compared to conventional hotels, this fridge issue probably wasn’t as big of a problem as the TikToker initially suspected. If you google the idea of leaving water jugs in an empty fridge or freezer, a lot of people do recommend this as an energy-saving measure to regulate the fridge’s temperature.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Airbnb and @ajowensfam for comment via email.

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*First Published: May 18, 2022, 9:52 am CDT