Why is my fridge water running slow?
July 15, 2019 4:56 PM   Subscribe

Fridge filter (ha ha): I've tried replacing the filter and the valve. Now what?

The water from our whirlpool refrigerator started dispensing really slowly a few weeks ago. First thing I thought was filter, pulled the (six month old, off brand) filter out (this fridge can run without one) and sure enough the water flow was normal. So I bought some new filters and put one in. Same symptoms. I put another one from the three pack, same thing. Did some research and replaced the valve. Still slow and now I'm at a loss. Did I get a bad batch of new (off brand) filters? Is there some other problem it could be?
posted by nzero to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
Response by poster: Shoulda mentioned, I also checked the water pressure and it's pretty high. Sprayed myself in the face pretty hilariously.
posted by nzero at 5:01 PM on July 15, 2019

Best answer: Is the water nozzle removable? It might be clogged with lime. A couple hours soaking in white vinegar, then a quick scrub with a bottle brush might help.
posted by Marky at 5:45 PM on July 15, 2019

Best answer: How's the water plumbed into the fridge? Saddle valve or a proper tap and valve? Saddles can get plugged up with a chunk of rust like nobody's business.

If you have a flood safe supply line between the wall and the fridge, same problem - there's not a whole lot of cross section there, so a bit of rust will plug it up right quick.
posted by Kyol at 6:36 PM on July 15, 2019

Response by poster: Well the water pressure at the back of the fridge seems high, and with the filter removed the water comes out of the fridge at normal speed and pressure. To me that seems to rule out the supply line and the nozzle.
posted by nzero at 7:06 PM on July 15, 2019

Best answer: Whirlpool offers a help page for Water Dispensing Slowly.
They suggest that air trapped in the line can cause reduced flow and offer another page on How to flush the water system in a refrigerator.

If possible I would try some back pressure - turn off and disconnect the water source. Hold open the valve. Put some air pressure into the outlet spout at the front of the refrigerator. See what may come out the back.
posted by tronec at 2:40 PM on July 16, 2019

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestion. I ordered a whirlpool branded filter this afternoon, if that doesn't solve the issue I'll try the back flush next.
posted by nzero at 4:07 PM on July 16, 2019

Response by poster: I guess I should also mention that I always follow that flushing procedure and in this case I've done it multiple times.
posted by nzero at 4:11 PM on July 16, 2019

Response by poster: Name brand filter came in and didn't solve the problem. I took the entire water line out up to the valve and was able to pinpoint the water filter housing as the trouble spot. I'm soaking it in vinegar in the hopes that it's hard water deposits clogging it up since a new one is fifty bucks.
posted by nzero at 3:36 PM on July 18, 2019

Response by poster: turns out the plastic mechanism inside the filter housing that allows the fridge to run with or without a filter had disintegrated and clogged the intake. It also turns out this is a common failure with this fridge.
posted by nzero at 8:18 AM on July 20, 2019

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