Certain refrigerators have ice and water dispenser buttons, or levers, that you press to dispense ice and water from the refrigerator door without having to open the refrigerator. If a dispenser button becomes stuck, it can cause the refrigerator to continuously dispense ice and water, or to dispense neither, depending on the button issue. Additionally, most refrigerators have a light button that pops out to turn on the light when you open the refrigerator door and goes in to shut off the light when the door closes. Occasionally, this button can stick, too. Before you contact a refrigerator repair technician to address a sticking dispenser button (or lever) problem, see whether or not you can identify the problem and fix it yourself.
How to Stop Ice and Water From Dispensing
A stuck dispenser button can dole out ice and water nonstop, quickly becoming a major kitchen disaster. You must act fast. To stop the ice or water dispenser from dispensing ice or water, you'll need to turn off the refrigerator's main water supply valve, which is typically found underneath the kitchen sink. If it's not below the sink, you'll probably find it in the crawl space or basement. Look for a cold water line that has a 1/4-inch copper pipe connected to it. In the middle of the line and pipe should be a saddle valve with a post and a wire threaded through it. Turn the saddle valve counterclockwise to close the valve. This should stop ice and water from dispensing, so you can troubleshoot the button problem without incurring an icy or watery mess.
Quick Button Reset
Sometimes an ice or water dispenser button can stick if it's jammed or pressed too hard. If pressing the button again doesn't release it, unplug your refrigerator. Wait about 5 to 10 minutes, then plug the appliance back in. Occasionally, a temporary power outage is enough to reset your refrigerator and unstick its dispenser buttons.
Door Isn't Closed
A dispenser button might appear stuck and not release ice or water if the refrigerator's door is open. The door must be closed for the dispensers to work on most refrigerators.
Activated Locking Feature
Some refrigerator models with ice and water dispenser buttons have a locking mechanism, according to Whirlpool. If the locking mechanism is used, the dispenser button won't work and may seem as though it's stuck. Go to the front cover of your refrigerator to find the locking mechanism on most refrigerators that have it, and press "Unlock" to restore the dispenser button's controls.
Behind each ice and water dispenser button are several electrical wires that send signals to various components telling them when to open and close or operate otherwise to perform a specific function, such as dispense ice or water. Over time from normal use, a wire can fray or loosen and cause the button to stick when you press it. Contact a refrigerator repair technician to evaluate the control board wiring on your refrigerator, which regulates the dispenser buttons. If the technician discovers that a wire is faulty, he can repair it for you.
Stuck Light Button
If the refrigerator light doesn't come on when you open the door, the refrigerator light button may be stuck. Inspect the button to verify that it's in the closed position -- level with the refrigerator wall. Locate the small lip on the outside of the switch and carefully pull it to release the button. KitchenAid recommends that you operate the switch manually several times, both pressing and releasing it, which should prevent it from sticking again.
If the water dispenser is dripping water constantly, it might not be because the button is stuck. It might instead be that there's a problem with the water valve that supplies water to the dispenser. Contact the manufacturer of your refrigerator to schedule a service appointment. The valve might be cracked or not connected properly. However, if only a few drops of water leak from the water dispenser immediately after you've pressed the dispenser button, it usually just means there's a slight lag in the overall system and is generally normal. You can eliminate the lag by running the water dispenser for at least two minutes consecutively to release air in the water valve that has likely attributed to the system lag.
Christie Gross has been writing since 1998. Her work writing public policy platforms for elected officials nationwide has been featured in national and local newspapers under various client pen names. Gross has a Bachelor of Arts in English and political science, as well as a Master of Public Administration from the University of Delaware.