Why Is The Water Dispenser on My Refrigerator Not Working?

It’s likely that you don’t give much thought to your water dispenser until it malfunctions, such as when you press the switch and no water comes out or when the water continuously flows without stopping.

There are various reasons why a refrigerator water dispenser may stop working, such as a frozen supply tube, a blocked water filter, a defective inlet valve, a broken dispenser switch, or a faulty control board.

Before diagnosing the issue with your refrigerator’s water dispenser, make sure to eliminate the possibilities of an open door or insufficient water pressure.

If the refrigerator or freezer door is open, most water dispensers will not work, so it is essential to ensure that there are no obstructions inside that may prevent the doors from closing tightly.

Afterward, check the water pressure in your entire house by turning on the sink faucet to ensure that there is enough water pressure for the water dispenser to work correctly and to rule out any system-wide issues.

Common Refrigerator Water Dispenser Problems

Initially, we will examine the issues that could hinder the flow of water from the dispenser.

If the water supply tube located near the ice maker freezes, it can obstruct the flow of water and cause a blockage in the water dispensing mechanism situated in the freezer door.

If you suspect an ice clog is causing the issue, you can perform a test by attempting to insert a frozen plastic zip tie into the tube; if it becomes obstructed before reaching the end, this indicates that your supply tube is indeed blocked by ice.

If the water dispenser on your refrigerator is not working due to a frozen supply tube, you can defrost it by turning off or unplugging the refrigerator for a few hours.

Some people advocate using a hairdryer to heat up the tube and unfreeze the blocked ice. Don’t put the hairdryer down or leave it unsupervised; you must manually point it towards the tube for the whole time it takes to dissolve the ice, which is approximately 15 minutes.

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Alternatively, you have the option to buy a frozen water line tool for approximately $10, which has a flexible tube with a needleless syringe at the end. By using this tool, you can inject warm water directly into your supply tube and melt the ice.

Assuming that a frozen water tube is not the cause, a malfunctioning inlet valve could be the reason why your refrigerator’s water dispenser and icemaker are not receiving water as this valve regulates their water supply.

If the water valve is stuck in a closed position, it can obstruct the flow of water to your refrigerator’s dispenser. Conversely, if it becomes stuck in an open position, the water will continuously flow out and create a potential mess.

If the water dispenser on your refrigerator is not working, you can easily replace the valve yourself using basic tools such as a screwdriver and wrench. The valve is typically situated at the back and bottom of most refrigerators, requiring you to pull out the fridge to access it. Before beginning any work, make sure to unplug the refrigerator and turn off the water supply.

It is important to refer to your refrigerator manual to determine the specific model and make in order to identify the appropriate size and type of inlet valve, as there are various types available.

If your refrigerator’s water dispenser is not working, it could be due to a clogged water filter. While you can try cleaning the filter by soaking and rinsing it, it is advisable to replace the filter every six months for optimal performance.

Occasionally, a malfunctioning switch can be the reason why the water dispenser on your refrigerator is not working. Typically, when you apply pressure to a plastic flap or surface with your glass or water bottle, it triggers a switch that controls the flow of water.

If your refrigerator water dispenser is not working, in most cases, you can purchase a replacement switch and install it by removing the plastic face of the dispenser to access the switch mechanism and attaching the new switch.

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Finally, a faulty control board may be the cause of your water dispenser’s issue. The control board is an electronic component that oversees all operations of the water dispenser and ice maker. It is possible to replace it, though the process is more involved.

How Much Does It Cost To Fix a Refrigerator’s Water Dispenser?

Once you’ve identified the issue, you may be pondering whether it’s worth fixing yourself or hiring a repair service. This decision will depend on several elements.

For fixing a refrigerator’s water dispenser, the majority of replacement parts cost less than $100, but the control board can be expensive, ranging up to $400 depending on the model and make of your refrigerator; if you possess the necessary skills, you can do it yourself, otherwise, calling a repair service will cost around $200 for a service call plus an hourly charge.

The prices for replacement parts may differ based on the brand and model of the refrigerator, cost of living in the region, and the place of purchase; however, here are some typical costs.

Frozen water tube tool $10-$15
Inlet valve $30-$80
Water filter $30-$50
Water dispenser switch $10-$30
Control board $100-$300

In order to acquire the appropriate component, it is necessary to have knowledge of the precise model and brand name of your refrigerator, along with the model number and occasionally the part number. The label on the interior wall of your refrigerator will display the refrigerator’s model number.

If you have lost your user manual, it is possible to locate it by conducting an online search.

Why Do Refrigerators Have Water Dispensers?

It is common for refrigerators with a water dispenser to also have an ice dispenser since the two are closely connected, although not all refrigerators come equipped with a water dispenser.

The development of water dispensers in household refrigerators can be traced back to the introduction of icemakers and the delivery of ice cubes through the door. Icemakers have been a feature of refrigerators since the 1950s, and the first dispenser that allowed for through-the-door delivery was introduced in 1965. As built-in icemakers require access to a fresh water line, it was logical to also provide a way to dispense cold water from the same source.

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The water dispenser and icemaker share a common water source, which is connected to the refrigerator during installation through a 1/4-inch flexible tube attached to the water valve located at the back of the fridge, and this tube must be connected to a water line from either the wall or floor.

Refrigerator manufacturers found it convenient to include a water dispenser since the refrigerator already receives water for the icemaker.

John Gorrie was granted a patent for the first icemaking machine in 1851, and his design was further developed over the course of the early 1900s. Then, in 1929, Jurgen Hans created the initial ice machine that could generate edible ice.

For many years, icemakers were primarily used in commercial settings until the 1950s when consumer machines were introduced. The initial built-in icemakers were situated entirely within the freezer compartment of the refrigerator, and ice was retrieved from the bin using either a scoop or your hands.

In 1965, Frigidaire released the first refrigerator with a door-mounted ice dispenser, though it took some time for it to become popular. The initial water dispensers were introduced in the 1980s, around the same period that side-by-side models started to gain traction. The larger freezer space of these side-by-side fridges provided more room for an icemaker and water dispenser combination.

With the rise in popularity of French door refrigerators in the late 1990s, water and ice dispensers were also introduced, but they are situated in the refrigerator section’s door instead of the freezer section due to its design.

Icers are more likely to malfunction in French door refrigerators than other models due to their intricate design, but water dispensers are not particularly prone to issues.

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