Whirlpool Fridge Water Not Working, but Ice Is? Here’s Why

May 6, 2024
Refrigerator Repair

Cold, filtered, fresh-tasting water is one of the best parts about having a high-quality fridge like a Whirlpool. This makes it particularly annoying when the water dispenser isn’t working! But what if the water isn’t working, but the ice is? 

It seems logical that if you don’t have water, you won’t have ice, but that isn’t always the case. We look into why the ice maker is still functioning when your water isn’t working and help you find a solution. Read on to find out what to do!

Note: This guide applies to all popular Whirlpool fridge models, including:


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How Does Your Water Dispenser Work?

In most models of Whirlpool refrigerators, the water dispenser is a fairly simple mechanism. The fridge connects to your home’s water supply via a thin tube (the water supply line). The water flows through a filter, removing impurities such as minerals and sediment. 

It is also chilled by your Whirlpool fridge until nice and cold. When you press a button on the dispenser tap, a valve opens, and cold, filtered water flows out of the spout and into your cup.

How Does Your Ice Maker Work?

While the mechanism of the ice maker is separate from that of the water dispenser, they share the same supply line and filtration system. The ice maker works when water flows from the water inlet valve into the ice mold, where it is frozen solid. Once frozen, the ice maker slightly heats, just enough to loosen the ice cubes. 

Once loose enough to be ejected, they are tipped into the ice bin when the ice maker arm rotates. The process repeats until the ice bin is full, giving you a constant supply of ice for your drinks.

Can One Work Without the Other?

While they share a water supply and filtration system, it is possible for one to function without the other. In most cases, however, it will be the ice maker that is malfunctioning while the water still flows from the dispenser. This is because the water supply is the precursor to the ice-making process—you can’t have ice without water!

If there is a fault with the water supply line, then water won’t be able to flow to the ice maker, which will mean the ice cube tray is empty. If there is a fault with the ice maker arm or heating mechanism, water will still be able to flow from the water dispenser. However, if the water dispenser nozzle has a blockage, this may impact the flow of water from the dispenser while the flow to the ice maker remains unimpeded.

Causes of Water Dispenser Failure

While most issues that affect water flow also affect the ice maker, this might not always be apparent. This is because it takes a while for the ice to freeze and be dispensed, so if the ice bin is filled with ice cubes before the water supply problem occurs, it won’t be immediately apparent as the ice maker will continue to work temporarily, appearing unaffected.

However, once the ice bin runs out of ice cubes, and the ice maker attempts to go through another ice-making cycle, it will be clear that there’s a problem.

Blocked/Faulty Water Dispenser Nozzle

If the water dispenser nozzle is blocked or malfunctioning, water won’t be dispensed. However, as long as the water supply to your fridge is unaffected, the ice maker will still function normally. 

This can be caused by mineral deposits blocking the nozzle, preventing water from escaping. It’s more likely to occur if the filter is not changed as often as it should be or if you live in an area with high mineral content in the water. Here’s what to do:

  1. Inspect the nozzle for debris or buildup. If there is something obviously blocking it, use a toothpick or toothbrush to clear the nozzle.
  2. If this doesn’t work, remove the nozzle assembly and soak in vinegar for at least an hour. Clean thoroughly with a brush and then reinstall it to see if the water flow issue is resolved. 
  3. If you suspect the nozzle mechanism might be faulty, source a replacement part compatible with your fridge, then replace the entire nozzle assembly. This should get your water dispenser working again.

Filter Issues

If the filter on your Whirlpool water dispenser is clogged, it may prevent water from flowing out of the dispenser nozzle. It will eventually also stop ice production, but if your ice maker has enough water in the ice cube tray before the filter becomes blocked, it may work for a little longer. 

Whirlpool recommends you replace your water filter once every six months, but you may need to change it more frequently if the water in your area has a high mineral content. If the water flow to the water dispenser or ice maker noticeably slows down or stops before the six months are up, it’s a sign you may need to replace the water filter cartridge more often.

Frozen Water Line

Like a clogged filter, a frozen water line will eventually lead to the ice maker not working. However, it may appear fine for a while if there is residual water in the ice cube tray. Here’s how to troubleshoot this issue:

  1. Pull your fridge away from the wall and feel along the water supply line for hard, frozen patches. 
  2. If you find a frozen section, use a hairdryer on a low or medium setting to gently melt the ice. 
  3. Once defrosted, test to see if the water is now flowing again. 

Preventing the Issue from Recurring

Some routine maintenance and care can help ensure you don’t experience any further issues with your Whirlpool water dispenser. Here are our top tips:

  • Change the water filter regularly. 
  • Always use Whirlpool-approved water filters.
  • Periodically check the water lines for kinks, bends, or frozen spots. Add insulation to the water lines if freezing becomes a recurrent issue.

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