If your refrigerator has a water and ice dispenser feature, or even just an installed ice maker, a water supply valve is required to control the water coming into the appliance. The supply valve is usually located at the bottom rear of the refrigerator behind an access panel. The home’s water supply normally travels through copper tubing attached to the valve inlet port.
How does a water supply valve work?
The supply valve is an electrically-control component with inlet and outlet water ports and one or more solenoids. When signaled by a control board, the solenoid or solenoids will open to allow water to enter an inlet hose which directs the water through an optional water filter to the dispenser and/or to an ice maker tray fill tube. Over time, the solenoids can fail or calcium deposits can build up in the valve creating an obstruction, resulting in the ice maker unable to produce ice and limited, or no, water coming out of the dispenser when the lever is pressed. Since water supply valves cannot be easily cleaned or repaired, a malfunctioning valve should be replaced with a new one.
How to replace a defective water supply valve
- Unplug the refrigerator’s power cord.
- Shut off the water supply to the refrigerator.
- Pull the refrigerator away from the wall.
- Unthread the screws to remove the lower rear access panel. Be aware, you may need to detach the copper tubing or incoming water line from the inlet valve port before you can fully remove the panel.
- Detach the incoming water line from the water supply valve inlet port if you haven’t done so already.
- Unthread the screws to release the water supply valve mounting plate or bracket from the refrigerator frame.
- Disconnect the wire connecter or connecters from the solenoid terminals.
- If applicable, slide out any locking clips then depress the retaining rings to detach the outlet hose or hoses from the valve ports. Be prepared for some water to spill.
- If necessary, remove the old water supply valve from the mounting plate or bracket.
- Install the new water supply valve by aligning it on the mounting plate or bracket if necessary.
- Fully insert the hose or hoses into the outlet ports and, if required, slide in the locking clip or clips to secure.
- Connect the wire connecter or connecter to the solenoid terminals.
- Position the mounting plate or bracket on the refrigerator frame and thread the screws to secure.
- Realign the access panel and secure it with the screws.
- Attach the incoming water line to the valve’s inlet port. If the water is being supplied through copper tubing, hand-thread the tubing’s compression nut onto the inlet port then use a wrench to tighten. Avoid overtightening or you might damage the tubing.
- Move the refrigerator back against the wall.
- Turn the water supply back on.
- Plug the refrigerator’s power cord back in.
- Turn on the ice maker or run water through the dispenser to confirm the new supply valve is working properly and there are no leaks.
Find the right water supply valve with Repair Clinic
Since water supply valves will vary depending on the refrigerator model, it’s important to identify the exact valve that fits your refrigerator. To do this, enter the full model number of the appliance in the Repair Clinic search bar, then choose “Valve & Float” from the part category filter on the left side of the page to find the matching part. Repair Clinic stocks water supply valves for all the top name brand refrigerators, including Frigidaire, Whirlpool, Kenmore, Samsung, and LG, but you’ll want to make sure you’re purchasing the specific valve that matches your model.