How to Fix a Refrigerator Water Dispenser

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When refrigerator water dispensers quit working, the solution is often simple. This article will help you to diagnose the problem, and might just save you from having to pay a repair person for an easy fix.


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Step 1

Insert a glass into the water dispenser as if you wanted to get some water. Can you hear the pump running when you press the paddle with the glass? If so, that is a good sign. That means the electrical and mechanical parts are working. The problem is most likely a blockage somewhere in the system.

Step 2

Check the water filter. It is usually located in the back of the refrigerator under a plastic cap that screws off. You may want to move objects in the refrigerator away from where the filter is, because a little water might spill out when you take off the cap. Pull the filter out with your hand and examine it. Does it look dirty or contaminated? Has it been along time since you last changed it? If so, you might want to try replacing the filter with a new one. If a filter is dirty enough, it could prevent water from passing through. In such a case, you would likely have noticed a gradual drop in the output of water before it stopped completely. If this is not the problem, continue to the next step.


Step 3

Get a hairdryer and plug it into an outlet that is close enough to allow you to use it inside the refrigerator.

Step 4

Open the door and locate the area directly behind the water dispenser. You may need to remove some items from the surrounding shelves. Very often, the problem is that the water in the lines in the door have frozen solid. This is especially likely if you have been away for a few days in the winter, and you turned down the heat. The combination of the lower temperature, and the fact the the dispenser is not being used, can cause the lines to freeze up.


Step 5

Turn on the hairdryer and set it to medium heat. Slowly wave it back and forth around the back of the door behind the dispenser. Then do the same around the front of the dispenser. Continue alternating between the front and back of the door for 15-20 minutes, and periodically try the dispenser to see if it starts working again. If you have no luck after half an hour, then the plug of ice might be deeper in the system. Go on to the next step.

Step 6

Ask a couple of neighbors, or friends who live nearby, if they would let you store your perishables in their refrigerators and freezers. Once the refrigerator and freezer are empty, unplug it, and let it sit, with the doors open for 24 hours. Then plug it back in and try the dispenser again. It should work by now. If it still does not work, then the clog is not ice. You will have to call a repairman to purge the lines, or to otherwise solve the problem.