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Refrigerator Components You Must Know About

Maintaining and Troubleshooting Domestic Refrigerators: Chapter 3


Refrigerator Troubleshooting: Water Dispenser


In this module, we will discuss the common refrigerator problem associated with the water dispenser. We will also learn how to fix these problems. Skip to quiz!


Diagnosing Malfunctions


The common problems with the water dispenser are:

  • Water does not dispense,

  • Water is not cold from the ispenser,

  • Water leaking from dispenser, and

  • Water tastes or smells bad


The water dispenser fails to run because of:

  • Frozen or clogged fill tubes or water lines

  • Clogged filter

  • Faulty or clogged water valve


Water Line and Fill Tube


Recall that water dispenses in our glass through a plastic tube. This plastic tube is connected to the waterline. If our fridge water dispenser seems blocked or is spraying water at the dispensing point, the most likely cause is a clogged water line or tube.


We need to check the entire line for damage, a clog, or a bend in the line. If the line is bent, we should try to straighten it. If it is broken or non-functional, replace the necessary section of the water line and dispenser tubing. Let us look at the video that shows this.


We should disconnect the water supply. Grab the end of the water line protruding up into the dispenser opening and loosen it. Lift the loosened water line and gently pull the old water tube up and out the refrigerator door.


Insert the end of the new water tube into the hole. Carefully feed the tube up through the hole without forcing it until you see its end. Attach the water line to the filter head and water valve.


If the water line is clogged, it can usually be cleaned out by running vinegar and baking soda through the line. Clogs are likely to occur if there is a flaw in the water line or if the water filter is not updated.



Water Filter


Recall that the water from the supply line passes through the filter. However, if your water tastes bad, the water filter is not effectively cleaning our drinking water anymore. This increases the chance of clogging the filter.


If the water filter is clogged, it won't allow water to flow through. This can result in insufficient water pressure. We should replace the water filter every six months. Let us look at the video that shows how to replace a filter.


To replace the filter, twist it to the left and pull it out of the filter housing.

Use the decorative filter cap from the old filter on the new filter for filters in the grille. Line up the new filter, push it into the filter housing, and twist the filter to the right.


We need to wipe up any water spills in the fridge while replacing the filter. We should run 2 gallons of water through the water dispenser to purge air and residue from the filter and water line. We should reset the filter replacement reminder light to indicate when to do the next replacement.


If the water filter is not clogged, we should check the water line from the water valve to the ice maker. This is because the water line can freeze, not letting water into the ice maker.


To fix the frozen water line, we should locate the tube that is frozen. Then, we should use a hairdryer to defrost water lines without disassembling the lines safely. Let us look at the video that shows how to defrost the frozen water line.



Water Filter


Recall that the water inlet valve assembly of the refrigerator controls water flow to the ice maker and the water dispenser. Once we find out that there is no clogging or freezing of the waterline, we should check the water valve.


If the water valve is damaged, cracked, it will leak. This will cause a loss of water pressure and water under the fridge.


Similarly, if the water valve does not open, it won't allow water to flow through. That is why we should check both mechanical and electrical failure of the valve. Let us look at the video that shows troubleshooting of the water inlet valve.


To check for an electrical failure, access the refrigerator water valve usually found at the bottom rear of the refrigerator cabinet. Use either a multimeter to check the continuity of the valve solenoid coils.


We need to disconnect the water supply line connected to the valve. Then, disconnect the wires from the terminals located on the solenoid coils.


Set the multimeter to the lowest Ohms of resistance setting. The number of coils on the water valve can vary, and each coil will have two terminals. Place a probe on one of the terminals, and place the other probe on the other terminal.


If the meter reading results between 500 and 1500 ohms of resistance, the coil has continuity.

However, there is no continuity if the meter reads 0L or 1 in the far left digit. This means the valve has failed electrically and will need to be replaced.


To check for a mechanical failure of the water valve, we should disconnect the water supply line from the water valve. Place a bucket under the end of the water supply line. Turn ON the water to the supply line and check the flow.


If the water flow seems weak or irregular, the problem is with the water supply. A regular, steady flow could indicate the water valve has become restricted or clogged. We need to replace the clogged water valve. Let us look at the video that shows this.


We need to unplug the power cord from the wall outlet. We need to close the water supply cut-off valve for the refrigerator. Place a towel under the water valve assembly to catch water.


We should loosen the compression nut and pull the water line free. Remove the screws from the rear compartment cover and pull the cover off. Unplug the wire harness and pull the water inlet valve out.


We should then reconnect the wire harness on the new water inlet valve. Position the new water inlet valve and rear compartment cover on the back of the refrigerator. Connect the water line and tighten the compression nut firmly. Open the water supply cut-off valve.


The water dispenser fails to run because of:

  • Frozen or clogged fill tubes or water lines

  • Clogged Filter

  • Faulty or clogged water valve

If our fridge water dispenser seems blocked, the most likely cause is a clogged water line or filter.


Once we find out that there is no clogging or freezing of the waterline, we should check the water valve. We should check both mechanical and electrical failure of the valve.



 

Refrigerator Troubleshooting: Ice Maker


In this module, we will discuss the common refrigerator problem associated with the water dispenser. We will also learn how to fix these problems. Skip to quiz!


Diagnosing malfunctions


The common problems in the ice maker are:

  • Ice maker does not make ice

  • Ice maker does not turn off

  • Ice maker froze up

  • Ice maker does not eject ice


The ice maker fails to run because of:

  • Faulty Ice maker thermostat

  • Defective auger motor

  • Faulty water valve

  • Clogged water line and filter

  • Defective heater

Let us discuss how to troubleshoot them.


If the water’s route is blocked, the ice maker won’t make ice. This occurs due to:

  • Faulty water valve

  • Clogged water line and filter

We need to replace them as discussed earlier.


The water valve can be tested without having to pull the refrigerator away from the wall. This can be done by inserting the probes into the holes marked “V” and “N.” Let us look at the video that shows this.


The multimeter should read about 300 ohms. If the multimeter reads OL or 1 then the water valve is defective. We need to replace the clogged water valve, water line, and water filter as discussed earlier.



Ice Maker Auger Motor


Recall that when the dispenser is activated, the auger motor will rotate to pull the ice forward to the outlet chute of the bin. If your ice maker is producing ice but does not correctly eject it, the problem is with the motor assembly inside it.


If the motor is not operating, then you can check it for continuity with a multimeter. Let us look at the video that shows this.


We should check the motor resistance by inserting the probes into the holes marked “L” and “H.” Our multimeter should read around 4400 ohms to 8800 ohms. If no continuity through the motor terminals, then we should inspect the control actuator and switch.


Recall that the dispenser switch is a momentary contact switch that will supply power to the auger motor when activated. The switch sits behind the pad or lever that is pressed to dispense ice.


We will need to remove power from the appliance and remove the control panel cover to access the switch. We can check the continuity of the switch with a multimeter. Let us look at the video that shows this.


Some models of refrigerators use electronic control to supply power to the auger motor. We need to verify whether the control board is getting power by checking continuity.


If the control board does not have continuity, we need to replace it. Let us look at the video that shows how to replace the dispenser control board.



Ice Maker Thermostat


Recall that the ice maker thermostat controls and regulates the ice maker ejection cycle by monitoring the temperature inside the freezer. Much like a refrigerator and defrost thermostat, we test the ice maker thermostat for continuity. Let us look at the video of this.


We need to set the multimeter to the ohms setting. Start by testing the thermostat when it is cold, about 10 degrees. Insert one probe into the hole labeled "T" and the other probe labeled "H." The meter should indicate zero resistance.


After the ice maker has warmed up, repeat the test, and this time the meter should indicate infinity. If the thermostat does not pass both tests, it should be replaced.



Ice Maker Heater


Recall that the ice maker heater warms up the mold to loosen the ice. Much like defrost heater, we check the resistance of the ice maker heater. Let us look at the video of this.


We test the control module heater for resistance using a multimeter. We need to set the multimeter to the ohms setting. Place one probe into the hole labeled "H" and the other probe labeled "L."


The multimeter should read in the range of 60 to 90 ohms. If the heater does not pass this test, replace the ice mold heater. Let us look at the video that shows how to replace the ice maker heater.


The ice maker fails to run because of:

  • Faulty Ice maker thermostat

  • Defective auger motor

  • Faulty water valve

  • Clogged water line and filter

  • Defective heater


We troubleshoot the water valve, heater, thermostat, and motor by inserting multimeter probes into holes present on the ice maker assembly. We need to replace these components if they do not pass this test.



 

Question #1: Why does the refrigerator water dispenser fail to run? (select all that apply)

  1. Frozen or clogged water lines

  2. Faulty or clogged water valve

  3. Faulty defrost heater

  4. Clogged filter

Scroll down for the answer...















Answer: Frozen or clogged water lines

Faulty or clogged water valve

Clogged filter

The water dispenser fails to run because of:

  • Frozen or clogged fill tubes or water lines

  • Clogged filter

  • Faulty or clogged water valve


Question #2: How do we clean the waterline of the refrigerator?

  1. By running oxygen through the water line

  2. By running nitrogen through the water line

  3. By running vinegar through the water line

  4. By running ice cubes through the water line

Scroll down for the answer...















Answer: By running vinegar through the water line

If the water line is clogged, it can usually be cleaned out by running vinegar and baking soda through the line.


Question #3: When do we need to replace the water filter on our refrigerator dispenser? (select all that apply)

  1. Every week

  2. Every three days

  3. Every leap year

  4. Every six months

Scroll down for the answer...















Answer: Every six months

We should replace the water filter every six months.


Question #4: We should troubleshoot the water valve considering its mechanical failure only.

  1. True

  2. False

Scroll down for the answer...










Answer: False

We should check both mechanical and electrical failure of the valve.


Question #5: Which test do we perform to troubleshoot the electrical failure of the refrigerator water valve?


  1. Nitrogen purge test

  2. Continuity test

  3. Rattle test

  4. Clog removal test

Scroll down for the answer...















Answer: Continuity test

To check for an electrical failure, we use a continuity test of the valve solenoid coils.


Question #6: What indicates mechanical failure of refrigerator water valve?


  1. A irregular flow of water at outlet of water supply line

  2. No change in multimeter reading

  3. A regular, steady flow of water at outlet of water supply line

  4. Multimeter reading between 500 and 1500 ohms of resistance

Scroll down for the answer...









Answer: A regular, steady flow of water at outlet of water supply line

A regular, steady flow could indicate the water valve has become restricted or clogged.


Question #7: Why does the refrigerator ice maker fail to run? (select all that apply)

  1. Faulty door sensor

  2. Faulty or clogged water valve

  3. Faulty defrost heater

  4. Clogged filter

Scroll down for the answer...















Answer: Faulty or clogged water valve

Faulty defrost heater

Clogged filter

The ice maker fails to run because of:

  • Faulty Ice maker thermostat

  • Defective auger motor

  • Faulty water valve

  • Clogged water line and filter

  • Defective heater


Question #8: For diagnosing the problem of the refrigerator ice maker, we can check the water valve from the ice maker assembly.

  1. True

  2. False

Scroll down for the answer...

















Answer: True

The water valve can be tested without having to pull the refrigerator away from the wall.


Question #9: How do we troubleshoot problems in the refrigerator ice maker auger motor?

  1. Measuring resistance across different ice made by the ice maker

  2. Measuring resistance across holes marked “L” and “H.”

  3. Removing motor and checking resistance

  4. By checking ice maker switch

Scroll down for the answer...










Answer: Measuring resistance across holes marked “L” and “H.”

We should check the motor resistance by inserting the probes into the holes marked “L” and “H.”


Question #10: Much like a refrigerator and defrost thermostat, we test the ice maker thermostat for continuity.

  1. True

  2. False

Scroll down for the answer...

















Answer: True

Much like a refrigerator and defrost thermostat, we test the ice maker thermostat for continuity.


Question #11: How do we troubleshoot problems in the refrigerator ice maker thermostat?

  1. Measuring resistance across different ice made by the ice maker

  2. Measuring resistance across holes marked “T” and “H.”

  3. Removing motor and checking resistance

  4. Measuring resistance across holes marked “L” and “H.”

Scroll down for the answer...

















Answer: Measuring resistance across holes marked “T” and “H.”

We need to insert one probe into the hole labeled "T" and the other probe labeled "H" for troubleshooting the ice maker thermostat.



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