Refrigerator Water Dispenser Not Working – Unfreezing a Refrigerator Water Line

When water is not dispensing through the refrigerator door, the water line might be frozen. This is a very common problem that occurs in side-by-side refrigerators. Here’s how to troubleshoot this problem and how to get your water flowing once again.

Before attempting any fixes, make sure the water supply is not shut off, either to the house or the refrigerator.

Check to see if the ice maker is making ice. If ice is being made, chances are water is still flowing into the refrigerator and the problem lies with the water line to the dispenser.

Items to have on hand before attempting this repair:

  • Towel and small bucket
  • Help from another person
  • Hair dryer or heat gun
  • Syringe with tubing attachment and hot water.

First, remove the kick plate from the refrigerator to access the water line.

Unscrew the line from the water connector valve (also called a John Guest Fitting) to test the side that supplies water to the refrigerator. Be sure to have a towel or bucket on hand to catch any water from the line.

Have someone press the water dispenser lever in the refrigerator door to activate the water inlet valve. See if water is flowing through the line. If waster is flowing from the water line, then the water line is probably frozen on the other end of the line – the side that supplies it through the refrigerator door.

There are several methods to unfreeze the water line:

  1. Use a heat gun or hair dryer and try to direct heat into the line to unfreeze the line. Be careful with this method as using electricity around water can be dangerous. Be sure to hold the hair dryer far enough away from the water line so it does not come into any contact with water from the line.
  2. Unplug the refrigerator and leave the freezer door open so the line will thaw.  You will need to remove and store the food inside somewhere else temporarily.
  3. Use a syringe of hot water to inject water into the line at the dispenser. A tube attached to the syringe will help the hot water reach inside the line. Or else buy a pre-made tool like The Water Line Buddy available at http://waterlinebuddy.com. Another tool is called the Ice Surrender Frozen Waterline Tool available at https://www.graceappliance.com/icesurrender

For GE, HotPoint, Kenmore and RCA refrigerators, a water dispenser heater tube, part number WR49X10173, available for purchase to keep the water line from freezing up. The heater tube is easy to install and comes with instructions,. Check out the video below to see how to install the GE Refrigerator Water Dispenser Heater Tube.

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