If the water pressure is too high for a refrigerator dispenser, then this may cause the water to splash out of your glass and make a mess. But if the water pressure is too low for your fridge dispenser, you may be twiddling your thumbs while waiting for your glass to fill. Addressing either of these extremes by going through a few troubleshooting steps may help you find the happy medium.
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Model-Specific Troubleshooting Tips
Different refrigerator brands, and even models within each brand, may have slightly different troubleshooting steps to follow. For example, to diagnose a Frigidaire refrigerator with very slow water flow coming from the dispenser, you may follow a different diagnostic route than if you have a Kenmore refrigerator water dispenser with a slow rate. This is why it's important to consult the user manual for the particular make and model of your fridge. There are some common things to look for, however, that apply to most refrigerators.
Refrigerator Low Water Pressure
Other than the inordinate amount of time it takes to fill a glass with water when there's low pressure at the dispenser, another low-pressure clue is when the ice maker produces hollow or smaller-than-usual ice cubes. When the water filter is clogged with impurities, such as debris or mineral deposits from certain water sources, the flow rate of water through the filter is slower.
You may need to change your refrigerator's water filter at least every six months to optimize the performance of your fridge and to ensure that you comply with the terms of your warranty. Follow the steps in your user manual for changing the water filter in your particular model.
Water Supply Line Low Pressure
A common reason for low water pressure at a refrigerator dispenser is a kinked or pinched water supply line. This supply line is what connects the water source to the dispenser and the ice maker. If it develops a kink, water cannot easily flow through it. You may have moved the fridge to clean behind it or underneath it and perhaps pushed it back into place a little too close to the wall. Check the supply line and straighten it out if you see anything that's restricting the flow of water.
Ice Maker Water Pressure Booster
A whole-house reverse-osmosis filtration system may lower the water pressure to the fridge dispenser and ice maker. You can install a dedicated water line to your refrigerator that's not on the reverse-osmosis system or install a bypass cartridge to increase the pressure to your fridge.
But the problem of low water pressure may also be caused by a source outside your home, by the delivery of water from city mains. If this is the case, you can install an ice maker water pressure booster pump, such as the booster pumps featured at Plumbing Supply, to increase the water pressure.
Water Pressure Too High
For water pressure that is too high for a refrigerator dispenser, you may feel as though you're taking a shower when simply getting a drink of water when the water splashes off the bottom of your glass and lands on you. Plumbing codes vary by location, but they typically require the water pressure coming into a home to be between 30 and 120 psi. You can test your home's water pressure by using an inexpensive water pressure gauge, which you attach to the outside faucet closest to your water meter. If the pressure is higher than 80 psi, you can install a water pressure regulator, also called a pressure relief valve, on your system.
Victoria Lee Blackstone is a horticulturist and a professional writer who has authored research-based scientific/technical papers, horticultural articles, and magazine and newspaper columns. Her writing expertise covers diverse industries, including horticulture, home maintenance and DIY projects, banking, finance, law and tax. Blackstone has written more than 2,000 published works for newspapers, magazines, online publications and individual clients.