Replacing the refrigerator dispenser water line is a relatively straightforward DYI project. In most cases, it shouldn’t take you longer than an hour, and if you have some repair experience, only 30 minutes. If you haven’t already purchased a replacement water line, most professionals recommend a copper line as it is more durable. However, plastic tubing will still do a decent job, and it may be easier to install.
How to replace the dispenser water line
Tools required (may vary depending on the refrigerator)
- Sharp utility knife
- Quarter-inch nut driver
- 5/16th inch wrench (for some refrigerators)
- Phillips-head screwdriver (for some refrigerators)
- Putty knife or flat-edge screwdriver
Step 1: Unplug the refrigerator.
Step 2: Turn off the water supply to the refrigerator.
Step 3: Remove the front panel of the dispenser.
If your refrigerator has a removable drip tray, remove the drip tray before removing the panel.
Depending on the type of refrigerator, the front panel on the dispenser may be secured with screws or clips. If the panel is secured by clips, use a putty knife or flat-edge screwdriver to get behind the panel and dislodge it from the clips. If the dispenser front panel is secured with screws, remove the screws, usually with a Phillips-head screwdriver. Be careful, as the panel is connected to a wiring harness.
Step 4: Disconnect the wiring harness
Once the dispenser front panel has been released, turn it around and disconnect the wiring harness. If there are several wire connectors, you might want to take a picture to remember how they are connected. You can now put the dispenser front panel to one side.
Step 5: Remove the dispenser cover
Depending on the type of refrigerator you have, there may be a cover that restricts your access to the water line. If there is a cover, you may need to unscrew it or depress the tabs that secure it. The cover will most likely have wire connectors or a wiring harness that needs to be disconnected so that you can access the water line.
Step 6: Remove the water line mounting bracket
Not all refrigerators will feature a mounting bracket for the water line that needs to be removed. For instance, if the bracket is loosely holding the water line, you should be able to lift the water line off the bracket without too much trouble. However, if you cannot carry out the remaining instructions without unscrewing the bracket, it will need to be removed.
Ensure the water line is not being held down, i.e., it is off the bracket or its retaining clip, before removing it from the refrigerator.
Step 7: Disconnect the water line
Depending on the type of refrigerator, you may need to disconnect the water line from a dispenser spigot. A wrench may be required to disconnect the water line.
Step 8: Access the outer water line
Depending on your refrigerator, the water line may enter the refrigerator from the top or the bottom. If the refrigerator has a toe plate grille, the water line is likely behind it. You should be able to remove the grille by either unscrewing it, using a putty knife to wedge it off, or simply pulling it off the refrigerator.
Refrigerators where the water line comes down from the top usually require unscrewing the left door hinge cover. A Phillips-head screwdriver is usually required to remove the cover.
Step 9: Disconnect the water line
Once you have accessed the outer water line, you will need to depress its tabs to release the water line from the coupler. Be prepared for some water to leak out when you disconnect it.
Step 10: Remove the old water line
You should now be able to remove the old dispenser water line from the refrigerator. If the water line enters the refrigerator from the bottom, it is usually best to pull it out from the dispenser, and if it enters from the top, pull it out from the top.
Step 11: Install the new water line
The new water line can be installed by either threading it up from the bottom of the refrigerator or down from the top into the dispenser.
Step 12: Connect and secure the new water line
The new water line can now be connected to the spigot in the dispenser. Note that how the water line connects in the dispenser can vary; it may need to be positioned in a certain way or fed into a hole on the console.
Before proceeding, make sure the water line is secured to its mounting bracket or retaining clip.
If you needed to remove the mounting bracket, now is the time to rethread the new water line through the bracket and to resecure the bracket to the refrigerator.
Step 13: Connect the outer water line
The water line connection at either the bottom or top of the refrigerator can now be connected to the spigot. However, if there is excess hose, it should be cut off to ensure the water line will not kink. Cut the hose with a sharp utility knife and make sure the cut is straight.
Step 14: Resecure the cover
If the water line was behind a cover, the cover can now be resecured. Make sure to reconnect the cover’s wire connectors (if it has some).
Step 15: Resecure the toe plate grille or door hinge cover
Make sure to reconnect the wiring harness before replacing the grille or hinge cover.
Step 16: Plug the refrigerator back in and turn on the water supply.
The new refrigerator water line should now be installed and ready to use. However, it pays to test it out and make sure there are no leaks.