Top Reasons Why Fridge is Making Ice But Not Dispensing Water

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When it comes to fridges with ice and water dispensing features, it’s only normal that they experience failure from time to time. Still, it can be confusing and frustrating when the same fridge can make ice yet somehow fails to dispense water.

What’s going on? Don’t they rely on the same water supply and components to function?

If your fridge makes ice but not dispensing water, possible issues related to a Failed water inlet valve, Frozen water line or hose behind the fridge, Blocked union connector, Low water pressure

If you’re interested in understanding these issues in greater detail, keep on reading! We’ll look at the components related to this problem, why they fail, and what you can do to fix them!

Related: My Fridge Was Leaking Water Inside – Here Is How I Fixed

Reasons Why Fridge Dispensing Ice, But Not Water

1. Failed Fill Valve or Water Inlet valve

Refrigerators that are connected to a water supply will also have at least one fill valve inside of them. These electrical valves open and close automatically to control the water flow into (and sometimes within) the appliance.

Related: Whirlpool Refrigerator Water From Dispenser Is Not Cold

All fridges will have a water inlet valve at the back of the fridge that connects to your household water supply.

Beyond that, some fridge brands and models also have secondary fill valves within the fridge itself.

Fridge water inlet valve is leaking

These secondary valves typically allow for more control over separate water lines, like one for the ice maker and another for the water dispenser.

You can refer to your fridge’s user manual and technical sheets to discover how many fill valves your fridge has and where they’re located. That will make it much easier to troubleshoot them for problems.

Why it fails:

Fill valves are like little gates that control water flow inside your fridge. It’s possible that the valve on the line leading to the water dispenser is faulty and not opening up fully, assuming it’s opening at all.

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Suppose your fridge has been in use for many years. If that’s the case, then the likelihood is high that the problem is caused by a faulty fill valve. The valve might not open fully to allow water to flow powerfully through the water lines.

However, suppose your fridge is still relatively new. In that case, there’s a possibility that the fill valve is obstructed, perhaps with a foreign object or some kind of buildup that’s stopping it from working correctly.

How to fix:

When it comes to fill valves, the most effective solution is simply replacing it with a new one. Again, the design of one fridge to another can be quite different.

So, refer to the user manual or technical sheet for your fridge to understand how many fill valves it has and where each of them is located.

  • What you’re looking for is whichever fill valve leads to your water dispenser.
  • The user manual/technical sheet will help you identify and locate the valve.
  • With that knowledge, you can remove the necessary access panels to reach the fill valve.
  • Disconnect the valve from its electrical connectors and remove any screws holding it in place.
  • Then, replace it with the new fill valve
  • Work backwards. Replace the connectors, mount the valve back in place, and close the panel you removed earlier.

2. Frozen Water Line

There are several water lines inside your fridge. You see, once the water comes in through the inlet valve at the back of the fridge, it flows through a water line to the water filter.

Related: Refrigerator Ice Maker Not Working? Here Is How To Fix it

Depending on your fridge’s design, separate water lines may go from the filter to the ice maker and the water dispenser.

Why it fails:

Suppose the fridge is making ice but not dispensing water. If that’s the case, it’s possible that the water line that goes to the dispenser has become frozen, and no water can flow through it anymore.

In some cases, the water line will freeze when the fridge’s temperature settings are too low.

How to fix:

To clear the frozen water line, you’ll need to thaw the ice out from inside. That can be tricky, especially since the water line is usually hidden away within the fridge door or behind some other fridge panel.

  • Your first option would be to shut off the entire fridge and let it thaw out slowly.
  • When the fridge is shut off, it’ll gradually warm up and melt all of the ice anywhere in the water line.

Unfortunately, this option requires a lot of time to work. For most people, who don’t have a secondary fridge or freezer to store their food, this is not a practical solution.

If that sounds like you, then what you can do as an alternative solution is to purchase water line cleaning kits.

These kits might sound complicated, but they’re usually nothing more than a way to gently pump hot water into the frozen water line.

You could even build one yourself with a regular syringe and some small plastic tubing.

  • With the kit, gently fill up the water line with hot water to help the ice melt.
  • Then, try to raise the fridge’s set temperature to prevent this from happening again.

3. Blocked Union Connector

The water line inside of your fridge isn’t necessarily one very long hose or tube that runs from the inlet all the way to the water dispenser.

Instead, it could be two or more hoses that are connected at various points by union connectors.

A union connector is different from the standard couplings that you might already be familiar with. What makes a union connector unique is that it’s not a permanent fixture.

You can connect and disconnect two hoses inside your fridge as needed if they’re held together with a union connector.

Why it fails:

Much like a valve, a union connector can also experience blockages. These could come as a result of a long-term, gradual buildup of dirt and debris. Or, it could also be caused by a foreign object getting lodged inside the connector.

Whatever the case might be, the outcome is the same: water will not be able to flow through the union connector as smoothly as it should.

Suppose your fridge is making ice but not dispensing water. In that case, the water supply to the dispenser may be blocked at the union connector. In contrast, the water supply runs as usual to the ice maker.

How to fix:

Thankfully, replacing the union connector is pretty straightforward. 

  • Firstly, disconnect the fridge’s power supply and shut off the water as well.
  • Then, drain any remaining water out of the line by pressing on the water dispenser lever.
  • You’ll want to prepare some towels and perhaps even a bucket to catch any water that might spray out.
  • You’ll probably need to remove a panel to gain access to the union connector, so be sure to refer to the user manual to know which ones in particular.
  • Once you’ve found the problematic union connector, simply remove it from both hoses and replace it with the new one. 
  • Ensure that it’s on snugly before you turn on the water supply to test that water can flow through it without any problems.

4. Low Water Supply Pressure

When the fridge you’ve chosen for your home has an icemaker and water dispenser, the appliance typically connects directly to your household water supply.

You’ll find the hose behind your fridge and connected to the appliance’s water inlet valve at the back.

Related: Why Samsung Fridge Is Leaking Water

All fridges require their water supply to come in at a certain level of pressure. You can refer to the user manual for your fridge to understand what that minimum water pressure is for the brand and model that you have.

Why it fails:

If your fridge isn’t dispensing water, it’s possible that the water supply pressure simply isn’t strong enough.

Depending on your fridge’s design, that low pressure might be enough to supply water to the ice maker but not enough to supply water whenever you try to get it from the dispenser.

The cause of that low water pressure can be internal to your home. It’s possible that the water supply line’s valve isn’t opened far enough to allow enough water to enter the fridge.

Depending on the plumbing configuration of your home, it might also be possible that the water supply coming into the home is doing so at low pressure.

How to fix:

Fixing this problem shouldn’t require any tools or spare parts.

  • Look behind your fridge for the water supply line that’s connected to the water inlet valve.
  • Then, follow that water supply and find the valve that controls it. Make sure that it’s opened all the way and that there’s enough water flowing through it.
  • To be extra sure, you can remove the water supply from the fridge and test it to ensure that water is flowing through.
  • Besides that, you might want to check the water pressure coming into the home to ensure that the municipal water supply isn’t lacking pressure.

Reader Comments (5)

  1. I have water slowly pooling in the bottom of my fridge with no clear indication of it coming from anywhere… would that help identify which solution is most likely?

  2. My water supply was running fine, then I changed the water filter and it starts out normal then slowly stops (I get about a 1/3 glass of water). I put the old filter in same thing happens. The ice coming from ice maker is about 2/3 the size so I suspect the same thing is happening there as well. We bought the fridge about 8 years ago and have changed the filter about every 5-8 months

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