Having trouble with your ice maker? Or maybe your water dispenser is running slow? There might might not actually be a problem with either, directly anyway. Often times the source of the problem is the Water Inlet Valve. This one little valve has a lot of control when it comes to what makes it through your refrigerator’s water lines, and when there’s a problem it can stop your dispenser and ice maker in their tracks which is why we’ve made it our Pick of the Week.
How it Works
You’ll typically find your refrigerator’s Water Inlet Valve behind the appliance, connecting the fridge to your water supply. To prevent large mineral deposits or other debris from passing into the refrigerator, most valves come equipped with a small filter screen right where the water supply line connects to it.
Most Inlet Valves are operated by a solenoid, which is essentially a tight coil of wire that acts as an electromagnet when current passes through it. When the solenoid receives a signal, it opens the plunger valve allowing water to flow through to fill the ice tray or to be dispensed depending on what is needed.
Signs There’s a Problem
A common sign that there’s a problem with your Water Inlet Valve is that your ice maker isn’t functioning properly. You might not have any ice at all, smaller than normal ice cubes, or notice that your ice has been freezing together into a big clump.
Another sign is that your water dispenser is running slower than normal or won’t dispense water at all. These issues are often caused by one of three things:
- There’s a break in the coil or an “open coil”
- The filter screen is clogged with mineral deposits (common in areas with hard water)
- Minerals or other debris have managed to pass through the screen and forced the valve to stay open
To test if there is a problem with the solenoid, you’ll have to disconnect the power and water supply to your refrigerator and remove the valve to test it for continuity (find out how to do this here). Most functioning valves will display a reading of between 200 and 500 ohms, but you’ll want to check your owner’s manual for the exact number.
If the multi-meter reading doesn’t match the manufacturer recommended reading, you’ll most likely have to replace the entire valve. If it does match, you’ll want to check the filter screen and clean it off with a soft bristled brush and warm water if possible.
If neither of these things seem to be the problem, it’s possible that your water pressure is simply too low to operate the valve or that you need to change your water filter.
We hope you found this helpful! Be sure to give it a like and share it with a friend if you did. If you’d like to check out some of our past picks, you can find them all here.
Written by: Sarah Walker