Why Do Water And Ice Dispenser Break On Refrigerators? (Explained)

Coming home after a long, hot day only to find no ice in the dispenser is one of the most infuriating things that can happen to you as an adult.

Then the daunting task of calling service providers, overlooking the fixing process, and spending money too (1).

However, before you contact the maintenance specialists, you might want to try the following troubleshooting methods to save you time and money.

So, why do Water and Ice Dispenser break on refrigerators 

The reason for Water and Ice Dispenser Break on Refrigerators not working could be due to temperature range, ice behavior, blocked water filter, and water line pressure, to mention a few.

Ice and water dispensers aren’t very complicated tools. Yet they happen to break down as much as McDonald’s ice-cream machines.

The silver lining here is that the services may charge you less for repair, or even better, you can run the diagnostic process yourself.

Take a look at some of the common issues because water and ice dispensers in refrigerators stop working.

Blocked Water Supply Tube:

Your refrigerator has a direct connection with a water supply that comes through a pipe and enters the ice maker or the water dispenser.

The water is often from a cold source for the perfect functioning of the appliance.

However, sometimes the water supply tube becomes cramped or pressed between the wall and the fridge.

This way, the water doesn’t reach the ice maker, causing it to malfunction.

Another reason the tube may not let the water pass through is frozen moldings inside the pipe.

This problem is common, especially if you operate the appliance at anything other than recommended temperatures.

If your freezer is operating on a maximum setting for too long, your water supply tube will probably be frozen.

Possible Solution(s):

First, you need to unplug your refrigerator and adjust it away from the wall so you can reach into the back.

Then locate the water supply tube and shut off the water inlet valve. Once you’ve ensured there’s no electricity supply to your refrigerator; you can do one of four things:

• Fill a pot with hot water and slowly pour it over the pipe to let any frozen water melt

• Use a hairdryer on the pipe

• Let the refrigerator stay turned off for two hours

• Thaw the ice out

Malfunctioning Inlet Valve:

In many cases, the water inlet valve located at the back of the refrigerator may stop functioning properly, restricting the water from entering the dispenser.

This issue primarily arises due to low water pressure, common in many homes.

For an inlet valve to work properly, it needs at least 20psi. And if it doesn’t get the required pressure, there’s no ice in the dispenser.

Possible Solution(s):

The valve may be broken or turned off by mistake, so it is best to do your tests first.

Check the continuity with a multimeter tool, and if you don’t find any, it is time to replace the water inlet valve.

Insufficient Water Pressure:

As we mentioned, water pressure is a significant factor in the exemplary operation of a water or ice dispenser.

Unfortunately, sometimes unprofessional and bad plumbing can cause build-up in the pipes, restricting the water flow significantly.

Apart from the many other problems bad plumbing can cause to your refrigerator, it also makes the water dispenser stopped working altogether.

Possible Solution(s):

Running a harmless cleaning agent through the pipes in your home can significantly reduce the build-up inside them.

Once it passes through the taps, you can refill the tank with clean water and try again.

If nothing works, it is best to leave the task up to a plumber who can suggest many solutions such as replacing the regulator installing a pressure booster, etc.

Jammed Water Filter:

Another reason your ice maker can be giving you a hard time is your negligence to replace the water filter every few months.

The particles often stick to the surface of the filter, slowly increasing in volume and ultimately becoming harmful instead of being beneficial.

Possible Solution(s):

You can replace the water filter with a new one, and we advise you to repeat this practice every six months for ideal results.

This way, you’ll be consuming clean water, free of any micro-particles that may have adverse effects on your health.

Problem With Motor or Gearbox:

If you’ve tried everything else but can’t identify the issue, then it is most probably a mechanical or electrical problem.

In this case, the dispenser will have an ample supply of clean water but may not do its job due to a hardware fault.

Possible Solution(s):

You may need to look for a new gearbox or motor for your refrigerator.

However, before doing that, make sure that you check all the electrical connections, unplug and plug back everything, and remove the ice mold manually wherever needed.


The range of temperature, the behavior of ice, a clogged water filter, and the pressure of water lines, to mention a few, could be the cause of water and ice dispensers breaking on refrigerators not working.

Although it is almost a meme how much water and ice dispensers break down, the newer models change the tides.

With superior material quality and exceptional engineering, the dispensing problems are becoming less and less every day.

However, after reading this article, you are now well-informed on the many troubleshooting methods that ensure a solid solution for your water and ice dispenser problems.

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  1. https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2014/10/the-hidden-cost-of-refrigerator-water-dispensers/index.htm