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Appliance Repair | What to Do When Your Refrigerator Is Not Dispensing Water

Feb 23


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You press your water glass into your refrigerator dispenser...and get nothing. When water is not coming out of your refrigerator, there are several things you can do to try and resolve this problem. In this article we’ll provide you with a troubleshooting guide that might help you fix the issue on your own. But before you get started, let’s play it safe. Close the main water valve that supplies water to your refrigerator and unplug it, so no power is flowing to the appliance. Now let’s see if we can quench your thirst for a DIY remedy and get that water flowing again.  

1. Check the Ice Maker First 

The ice maker should be your first stop as you search for an answer. If the refrigerator water dispenser is not working but the ice maker is, your water pressure could be to blame. Your fridge needs less pressure to make ice than it does to dispense water. Check your refrigerator’s manual to see the necessary water psi for both to function.  

On the other hand, if both the water and the ice maker don’t work, there may be an issue with the water line or the inlet valve bringing water into the fridge. You can slide the unit forward (away from the wall) and see if there are any kinks in the line—also check for leaks while you’re at it. If everything looks okay, contact a refrigerator repair expert to test the inlet valve.  

2. Check the Water Filter  

On average, these filters need to be changed every six months, but when they have a significant amount of dirt or minerals to filter out, they may need replacing much sooner. You’ll find the water filter behind a panel in the fresh foods section of your fridge, or at the bottom inside of the door (if you’re unsure, check your owner’s manual for the location). Follow our refrigerator filter guide to safely check if the filter should be replaced. Some refrigerators models have a bypass filter you can plug in to test if the main filter was blocking your water.  


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3. Inspect the Water Reservoir 

If your refrigerator is set too cold, it may cause a frozen water reservoir, which blocks the water dispenser. Depending on the appliance model, this reservoir is either inside the door or behind a panel in the back of the fridge. If you can reach the reservoir, you can use a blow dryer on the lowest setting to thaw the water in the line. Then simply adjust the refrigerator temperature to avoid the issue in the future. If you are unable to locate or reach the water reservoir, you may consider defrosting your fridge for a day so the water melts. 

4. Look for a Faulty Micro Switch 

When you press your cup into the water dispenser lever, you normally hear a click and a hum. This means the micro switch under the lever is working. If you don’t hear the click and the dispenser doesn’t appear to be jammed, you may need an expert to replace the micro switch.  

5. Test the Control Panel 

Many newer refrigerators have an electronic control panel that operates the dispenser. Press all the buttons to see if they’re working properly, and make sure the lock feature is not engaged. If one or more of the buttons does not work properly, it’s time to contact a professional to diagnose the underlying problem.  

6. Check the Door Sensor 

Water dispensers are designed to only work when the refrigerator doors are closed. So older models have buttons on the inside of the door, and newer models have sensors, to determine if the door is closed. That button or sensor can get jostled, broken, or disconnected—for example during a move. To troubleshoot, plug your fridge back in so it has power. Open the fridge door and press the door button (if present) or hold a magnet to the sensor to see if the light in the fridge turns off. If the light turns off, then the door sensor is connected and working properly. If not, contact a refrigerator repair expert to fix the problem. 


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