Whirlpool Refrigerator Won't Dispense Water

Whirlpool Refrigerator Won't Dispense Water

nicO and 2 contributors
Last updated on

If your Whirlpool fridge isn't dispensing water when you press the paddle with your glass, let's get things flowing again. Maybe you get ice but no water.

Your fridge won't dispense water. You can check these items right away:

  • Your fridge is plugged in, and the power is on, as in the light comes on when you open the door. (Sorry, we have to ask. Amazingly, this gets overlooked!)
  • Make sure the water is turned on and connected. Check both your household supply (Sorry again!) and the refrigerator supply.
  • Make sure the inlet hose or tube from the refrigerator supply valve to the fridge is not kinked. Sometimes, the fridge gets moved, and the tube is kinked or crushed. Copper tubing is notorious for kinking and staying kinked. Soft tube will fold and kink. Stainless steel braid is a good idea here.
  • Make sure the control pad is not locked (the lock icon on the display is lit). To undo, press and hold the lock button for 3-5 seconds. This is also known as child lock mode.
  • Change the water filter. Remember to purge the air after you do this; otherwise, you might get no ice or water.
    • If you just changed the filter before it stopped working, this could be your problem.
    • To purge, run the dispenser (if it will now run) and dispense about a gallon of water.
    • If it's been more than 6 months since you last replaced your fridge's water filter, replace it now.

Done all of these? Let's dig in.

Causes

1

This can cause no water (and often no Ice) if a connector is improperly plugged in or left disconnected. Sometimes, when you have to move your fridge, you have to remove the doors. And they don't get put back quite right.

Check all the connectors up by the door hinge. Remove the screws and lift the hinge cover and check.

All ok? Move to the next item.

2

On some models, if the doors are ajar, or the refrigerator thinks they are, the water will not dispense. Some models have mechanical switches; others have magnetically operated reed switches.

Since most refrigerators, in general, have a door alarm, you might know if it thought the door was open, except that the alarm can be silenced. You can test the switches:

  • Open one door
  • Look near the top of the door for a plunger or button that the door presses against.
  • Press the button and see if the interior light goes out. If it does, you know that switch works.
  • If there is no apparent button, you have a magnetically operated switch. Get a small magnet.
    • Hold it against the side of the long plastic cover part on the top of the fridge, about 3-5 inches from the hinge, on the part that faces the door when it's closed.
    • See if the lights go out when you hold it there. You may need to move it around a bit.
    • If the lights stay on, you likely have a bad door switch. That will keep your water dispenser from working.
  • Door Switch okay? Move on to the next item. If it's broken, you will need to replace it.
  • Here's a guide to replace the switch.
3

Generally, the tubing installed on the fridge doesn't have kinking problems unless the fridge has been disassembled and reassembled incorrectly. Clogs are very rare. If you feel a little lost, check out Figuring Out Your Tubing in the Additional Information Section for tips on figuring out what goes to what.

  • The first thing to check is the supply tubing to the door. You should take off the hinge cover on the door (located on the top of the refrigerator and inspect the tubing there.
    • Occasionally, in reinstalling the cover, the tubing will get pinched.
    • Since the tubing flexes a bit each time the door is opened, this can also cause it to move and pinch.
  • Sometimes, the tubing in the fridge can freeze. This can happen with tubing inside the freezer door. You can use a syringe with a small tip to push warm or hot water through the tubing to remove ice.
  • You should also check the tubing inside the door panel if possible. On many models, there is a door panel with a small reservoir and a solenoid valve behind it. That valve controls the water dispensing and also feeds the lower icemaker in the freezer compartment.
  • You can also use household water pressure if you bypass the solenoid valves to make sure your tubing is clear. You can just get a straight-through coupling fitting and insert it in place of the valve, and connect the inlet and outlet tubes together. Have a container handy to catch the flow before you turn the water on.

If everything is clear, go to the next step.

4
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Perhaps the most common failure resulting in your refrigerator not dispensing water is a failed solenoid valve. There are two valves on your fridge, and the test for which has failed is fairly straightforward.

You face two issues:

  1. The inlet valve failed, or
  2. You have a bad dispensing valve.

Usually, these two valves must operate. One allows water to flow into your fridge, and the other allows water to flow to the proper device. Both have to turn on and work right, or you will get nothing. On some models you may only need one valve. A good first step is to test the resistance of the valve solenoid coils. Use a multimeter to test them. You just need to test the resistance of the coil.

  • A water inlet valve should read a resistance value between 500Ω- 1.5kΩ. Outside of this range suggests failure.

If the main valve (pilot valve) where the water comes into the back of the fridge doesn't work, you may also experience no ice being produced. Here's a guide to that replacement

Take pictures of what you started with, and maybe even use masking tape to mark tubes and electrical connectors on the valves.

  • You can check your valves by disconnecting the outlets and then, with a container ready to catch the water, press the water dispensing paddle or switch.
  • If you have a valve inside your refrigerator door, you will have to make the refrigerator think the door is closed (probably with a magnet, as described above in the Failed Door Switch section).

If the outlet doesn't operate, it's a good bet your valve is bad. This tests the valves at the same time but can be messy. Frankly it may be quicker to just replace the parts rather than try to test with all the complications involved. Before you do, check through the Wiring Issues section below.

The water inlet solenoid valve which supplies water is designed to work with a minimum of 20 psi of water pressure to close the valve, so If the valve lets water through but slowly and then doesn't shut easily this could be a cause. Check the fow from the wall supply point.

If the valves check out, go to the next section.

5

Two main problems:

  1. You have failed internal wiring or connectors.
  2. You have a failed dispensing switch.

Failed Wiring

A common failure on these refrigerators is the in-door wiring harness. Since the wiring runs through a hole in the left door upper hinge, it gets flexed a lot and somewhat pulled on as the door is opened and shut. This commonly leads to wiring failures or loose connectors. If you replace the valves and you still don't get things to work, it's most likely the door wiring harness. This is difficult to check.

  • A sign will be that the dispenser will work intermittently
  • The dispenser may start to work when you move the door wiring around.

If this is the case or you discover broken wires, the only recourse is a new door, or possibly you can replace the door foam unit.

Switch Failure

Another item to check is the dispenser microswitch.

The water dispenser is activated by the movement of the dispenser switch, and a faulty or failing switch may not allow any water to be dispensed.

  • It should read 0 Ohm (Ω) while closed and OL (Open Loop) when open. Other results indicate a faulty switch and require replacing.

If the switch checks out, you are running out of possibilities. Go to the next item. You might not want to reinstall the dispenser quite yet.

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Water Dispenser Microswitch (removed)

Faulty Dispenser Switch or Actuator

6
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Dispenser PC Board Example

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Main Control Board Example

  1. Your dispenser PC board is faulty.
  2. You have a failed main control board.

That's all that's left, folks.

Faulty Water Dispenser Control Board

An electronic control board controls water dispensing. Can you still dispense ice? Do the lights and buttons on the controls still function?

  • If you answered yes, it's unlikely that the dispenser control board is the problem.
  • If you answered no, Test if your control board is receiving power from the supply.
  • If there's power to the board, and the dispenser system isn't working go to the next item.

Faulty Main Control Board

After all other troubleshooting has been completed you may find the main control board might be defective.

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