How to Change the Water Line Inside the Refrigerator Door
Dec 08, 2016
If the line leading to the ice and water dispenser on your refrigerator springs a leak, or if you suspect slime and algae growing inside the tubing, you must replace the water line. If you have basic do-it-yourself skills, you can save the cost of a service call by replacing the water line yourself. After defrosting the refrigerator, turn off the water supply and unplug the refrigerator to prevent water spills and electrical hazards.
Run a defrost cycle on the refrigerator. Turn off the water supply at the shut-off valve. Unplug the refrigerator power cord from the outlet.
Press the drip tray on the bottom of the dispenser downward, slide it out and set it aside. Insert a putty knife into the seam between the bottom of the dispenser and the outer escutcheon or cover plate. Lever sideways to ease the lower edge out.
Insert the putty knife up under the escutcheon from the bottom and lever outwards to pop the lower tabs free. Slide the cover plate up and off the top locating tabs. Pull the plate out slightly and turn it around to expose the electrical connections.
Locate the wiring harness connector near the top of the cavity. Press the connector’s locking tab in with your thumb, disconnect the plug and set the cover plate aside.
Release the locking tabs to the right and left in turn to free the dispenser, gently pulling it down to access the water line. Rotate the dispenser assembly upward and tuck the top edge inside the cavity out of the way.
Trace the water tube up to the support bracket situated in the recess on the right side of the dispenser opening. Use a 1/4 inch nut driver or a screwdriver to remove the single screw securing the bracket to the back of the recess and pull the bracket from its mounting post. Detach the water line from the bracket for easy removal.
Open both refrigerator doors and kneel down to reach the lower kick plate and grille. Insert the putty knife into the right-hand seam between the top of the kick plate and the refrigerator and pry the right side off its retaining clip. Repeat on the left side to detach the kick plate. Set the kick plate aside and close the doors.
Reach into the left side of the opening under the refrigerator. Locate the old water line and pull it forward as far as possible. Hook your forefinger and middle finger around the back of the water line connector and use your thumb to depress the red locking ring on the near end of the connector inward. Once you’ve done that, ease the old water tube out of the connector with the other hand.
Reach up and grasp the end of the water line protruding up into the dispenser opening. Lift the loosened dispenser out of the way and gently pull the old water tube up and out of the refrigerator door.
Insert the end of the new water tube into the hole beside the lower left hinge under the door. Carefully feed the tube up through the hole without forcing it until you see its end appear in the water-tube bracket recess. Keep feeding the tube upward until about eight inches of tubing appear inside the dispenser cavity.
Insert the end of the new tube in the retaining slot and hole in the support bracket. Ensure that the length of the downward facing free end matches the length of the old tube installation.
Gently pull the tube down from the bottom opening until the excess tubing that forms a loop inside the bracket cavity disappears. Push the bracket onto its mounting post and secure it with the screw removed earlier.
Rotate the dispenser assembly back into place. Position the top edge carefully and ease the assembly up until the side locking tabs line up with the clips. Press the bottom inward until you feel the locking tabs snap into place.
Line up the cover plate and reconnect the wiring harness plug. Hook the three tabs on top of the escutcheon into their slots on top of the dispenser, and depress the two dispenser paddles to ensure that they move freely. Push the bottom edge of the escutcheon inward until you feel the lower tabs click into place. Replace the water dispenser drip tray.
Measure the excess tubing protruding through the bottom of the door so that it lines up with the connecter without kinking. Mark the spot with a felt pen and place a wooden block on the floor near the cut line. Lay the tubing on the block and use a sharp utility knife to trim the end to length; make the right-angle cut as straight as possible.
Insert the cut end of the tube into the push-fit connector. Grasp the connector with one hand and push the tube inward until you feel the connector locking device click into place. Pull the tube gently backward to ensure that the connector locking device is working properly.
Open both refrigerator doors. Line up the lower kick plate with the tabs on either side and push the ends inward until the tabs lock into place. Reconnect the power cord, turn the water supply shut-off valve back on and test the dispenser to ensure that it’s working properly.
Things You Will Need
1/4 inch nut driver
Small wooden block
Sharp utility knife
When you take the cover plate from the refrigerator, make note of the tab locations on the top and bottom of the water dispenser unit for re-installation.
Work cautiously when securing the new tube in the mounting bracket inside the dispenser to avoid kinking the replacement tube while carrying out this procedure.
Some refrigerators are fitted with threaded couplings between the door water line and the water inlet pipe instead of a push-fit connector. If this is the case, do not risk damage by over-tightening the threaded coupling.
While the water line replacement for the dispenser is fairly similar among manufacturers, contact the manufacturer for more information if you find something that appears different.