The refrigerator is an incredibly important appliance. When it no longer is dispensing water, it becomes a half-functioning nuisance. Follow the steps below to troubleshoot likely causes.
As a sanity check, is your control panel locked or in child mode? Water and ice cannot be dispensed in these modes.
- Press and hold the lock button to toggle this mode.
Faulty Refrigerator Door Switch
Your water dispensing unit will not work if the refrigerator door is open, or if the control board believes it's open. Test the door switch.
- Open the refrigerator door and manually depress the switch. The interior lights should turn off. If the lights remain on, replace the switch.
- The freezer door switch activates the ice maker. Tape the switch down and close the door for 24 hours. If you have no ice after 24 hours, your door switch is faulty.
Dirty Water Filter
Your ice maker may halt ice production while the water filter is clogged and the replacement light is on. This is a safety and flavor precaution and prevents the machine from making poor-quality ice.
- If it's been more than 6 months since you last replaced your fridge's water filter, replace it now.
Loose, Leaking, or Frozen Plumbing Connections
Interruption in the flow of water through the water line leading to the ice maker can account for no new ice production. This can mean a closed valve, a kink or clog in the line, or a disconnection in the line.
- Inspect every valve, line, and connector for leaks. Replace and tighten as you move along.
The water line may have become frozen as it moved through or near the freezer. If your ice maker is malfunctioning this too suggests a frozen water line.
- Locate the water line and trace the entire line for ice.
- Blow air through the water line to check for blockages, and check each junction.
- If you do find ice, use a hair dryer on low and allow the ice to melt in the line or fittings. Alternatively, use a syringe or other hose to add warm water into the line. Replace cracked plastic parts.
Set your freezer between 0 and 10 deg Fahrenheit (-12 to -18 deg Celsius) to prevent the water line from freezing again.
Faulty Water Inlet Valve
If the temperature is correct but the ice maker won’t work, the water inlet valve might be defective. The water inlet valve is an electrically-controlled mechanical valve that opens to supply water to the dispenser and ice maker. If the water inlet valve is defective, or if it has insufficient pressure, it won’t allow water to flow through. As a result, the ice maker won’t make ice.
The valve requires at least 20 psi to function properly.
- Make sure that the water pressure to the valve is at least 20 psi. Close the water inlet valve, and then disconnect the water inlet hose. Hold the hose over a bucket, and open the valve.
If the water pressure is sufficient, use a multimeter to check for continuity to the water inlet valve.
- A water inlet valve should read a resistance value between 500Ω- 1.5kΩ. Outside of this range suggests failure.
If the water inlet valve has sufficient pressure and is getting power, but the ice maker won’t fill with water to make ice, replace the water inlet valve.
Low Water Pressure
If the ice maker still doesn’t work, the water pressure in the house might be too low. The water inlet valve which supplies water to the ice maker is designed to work with a minimum of 20 psi of water pressure.
- Move along the line and check pressure at each point. It may help to troubleshoot to start in the middle.
- Low water pressure at any point indicates a leak. Follow any suspicious pressure drops.
Faulty Dispenser Switch or Actuator
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.
- Remove cover panels and test continuity of the dispenser switch.
- It should read 0 Ohm (Ω) while closed and OL (Open Loop) when open. Other results indicate a faulty switch and require replacing.
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 control board is the problem.
- If you answered no, test each dispenser component in the wiki above before replacing the entire control board. Then, test if your control board is receiving power from the supply.
- If there's power to the board, and the entire dispenser system isn't working, use this procedure to replace control boards on Kenmore, Whirlpool, and KitchenAid refrigerators. This guide will help generically with every other make and model.
Faulty Main Control Board
After all other troubleshooting has been completed you may find the main control board might be defective. This is not common.
- Hire an appliance technician to help troubleshoot, or replace the main control board if you're feeling confident with previous troubleshooting.
- This is an expensive part.