How to fix a leaky refrigerator by replacing a cracked refrigerator water supply valve and broken plastic water lines for the ice maker and door dispenser. The plastic valve and water lines had become brittle and failed due to heat and age.
I noticed a bead of water along the bottom of the kitchen cabinets that lead back to the refrigerator. I asked my wife if she’d seen that before, she replied with a grin “No, but I guess we need a new refrigerator! I’ll drive!” I’m thinking “Uh oh – this could be expensive! I want to see what’s wrong first.”
Refrigerator Water Leak
I pulled the 9 year old Frigidaire Gallery refrigerator, model #FRS24BGGB2, away from the wall. The leak was coming from the corner near the water valve that serves the ice maker and chilled water door dispenser. I felt along the plastic water line connections at the blue plastic water valve and it was wet. Bingo! Found the problem.
The immediate task is stopping the water leak until I can fully diagnose the problem. I shut off the water supply valve at the wall.
How to Fix a Leaky Refrigerator
Remove the Refrigerator Water Supply Valve
Unplug the refrigerator so you don’t get shocked or electrocuted! The water supply valve is next to the main wiring harness and compressor motor – not a good combination when wet.
The water supply valve bracket is held by a single hex screw that’s simple to remove with a driver and socket:
The cause of the refrigerate water leak is became very apparent. As I removed the blue water supply valve, the plastic tube for the chilled water dispenser broke off. In fact both plastic water tubes were brittle and yellow due to heat from the refrigerator compressor motor:
I also discovered a very fine stream of water squirting from a stress crack in the blue plastic body of the refrigerator water valve. In fact, the leak was caused by several problems:
- Both plastic water lines for the ice maker and door dispenser were brittle and yellowed from heat and age. The tubes had cracked and were leaking at the water valve fitting.
- The water valve body has a stress fracture and was leaking.
I unplugged the wiring harness then disconnected the refrigerator water supply hose with a wrench:
The cracked and broken refrigerator water lines can be seen in the next photo. That big black bell shaped object is the refrigerator compressor; be careful – it’s hot!
Now I need to figure out where to get replacement parts.
Refrigerator Water Valve and Line Repair
I need to replace both the water supply valve and cracked ice maker and door dispenser water supply lines. I wrote down the Frigidaire model # from the sticker on the inside roof of the refrigerator and Googled my number and the term “water valve”, finding a number of appliance parts stores with replacement valves and prices. I didn’t order online because I wanted to fix it today, so I went to Google Maps and searched for “appliance parts” to find stores near me.
I called the appliance parts store near me and they confirmed they had the water valve and tubes. When I arrived at the store counter, I had the choice of two pumps: 1) $84 for the Frigidaire valve or 2) $33 for a substitute GE valve that was recommend by several of the online parts stores.
I asked to see the GE water valve, part #WR57X10051 and compared it to my original Frigidaire water valve. There were some differences, but the GE bracket would fit and the GE valve had the new style push-fit hose connectors. The GE pump also terminal adapters for the electrical connections to fit my wiring harness. Not wanting to spend an extra $50 for no apparent benefit, I bought the GE water valve and a set of 5/16″ and 1/4″ plastic water tubes.
Comparison of the new and old water valves:
The new valve has the push-fit quick style hose connects – just press in the water tube. To disconnect the water line, press the plastic ring inward and pull the tube out. The mechanism works really well and require no tools.
Based on my Frigidaire Refrigerator model number, the store clerk sold me the following replacement water tubes for the ice maker and door water dispenser.
Refrigerator Ice Maker 1/4″ Plastic Water Tube Part #: B5705307. Cost $4.20
Frigidaire 5/16″ plastic water tube, part #218976409 for the door water dispenser. Cost $19.56. Wow! Don’t know why this slightly larger tube is so expensive!
I asked the sales clerk what’s the difference between these plastic water tubes versus buying a generic tube at the hardware store. She said you have to be careful to get the right type of plastic or it will affect the taste of the water.
Refrigerator Water Line Union
I recognized right away that I didn’t want to tear apart the refrigerator to replace the chilled water door dispenser plastic tube. My plan is to cut off about 6 inches of the brittle and yellowed old water lines and splice a new section of tube between it and the water valve. The person at the appliance parts store recommended a John Guest 5/16″ push-fit union, part #PPM040BW. Just want I needed!
The John Guest push-fit union is another one of those “no tool” designs. Just insert the plastic tube until it seats fully for a secure water tight connection. To release the tube, press the ring inward and pull.
This project is continued in How to Fix a Leaky Refrigerator – Part 2.
Thanks for reading,
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