How Does a Refrigerator Water Dispenser Work?

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A refrigerator water dispenser is a great convienence.
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A fridge with a dispenser and no plumbing simply won't work. The lines that run along the back of the appliance need to be in good shape with no kinks or clogs for the water dispenser to spit out cool, fresh water. If the Frigidaire water dispenser is not working, then understanding how the feature works can help you to find what may be causing the water not to flow.

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A water dispenser works by activating a valve to release water, which can malfunction and cause water to stop flowing.

How the Water Dispenser Works

When the paddle-shaped plastic piece in the front of the refrigerator is depressed, it activates a small switch in the door of refrigerator that operates a valve in the back of the appliance. The valve releases water through the connected tubes that run along the back of the refrigerator.

The water flows through the tubing and the control valve and into a water reservoir where it is held until the water dispenser is depressed. The water reservoir is continually filled so that cold, fresh water is always available.

Water Valve Concerns

The water valve can be the reason behind why the water won't flow from the refrigerator, according to Appliance Repair It. Pull the water line that is located on the valve that feeds the water to the reservoir located in the fresh food section of the refrigerator. Watch the valve as the water dispenser is depressed. If water flows from the valve when the dispenser is activated, then the valve is in good shape.

If the water doesn't flow from the valve, then it could be that the water valve needs to be replaced or that there is a problem with the electrical. Listen for a faint buzzing sound when the water dispenser is depressed to know if the water valve needs to be replaced. If there is no buzzing sound when the water dispenser is activated, then the water valve will need to be replaced.

Before you check the refrigerator water dispenser for electrical issues, it's best to unplug the appliance.

Defrost Water Drain

Appliances with an automatic defrost have a drain tube that moves water to a fixed drain pan located under the refrigerator. If you find water in front of the refrigerator a few times throughout the day, then it could be traced to a clog in the drain tube, according to GE Appliances.

Defrost the water drain if it is clogged with frozen water by removing it or flushing it out. Clean out the drain hole and drain pan if needed with 1 teaspoon of baking soda mixed with 2 cups of hot water. Use a bulb baster to get the solution into the recesses of the drain.

Ice can form under the bottom pan in the freezer compartment as well. To defrost the water drain, put the refrigerator into the defrost cycle. A freezer that is leaking water can be because of a full drain pan. If the drain pan is full, empty it and clean the surrounding area.

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Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.

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