Kenmore Elite Refrigerator Not Dispensing Water? (Answered)

By - Hs Saini

Updated -

If I am being honest, I can say that it is tough for me to accurately count how often I visit my Kenmore refrigerator dispenser in a day because of its convenience.

But what is more frustrating is getting there and discovering that your Kenmore dispenser is not dispensing water at all or, maybe worse, not cooling.

If you are facing a similar challenge, be rest assured that we will discuss the reasons for this.

There are many reasons why the Kenmore elite refrigerator stops dispensing water. But the most common reasons are; a faulty dispenser switch, frozen water tube, a water filter that is clogged, low water pressure, the control board of your dispenser, and a poor water inlet valve. Checking on all of this can help you in determining the problem.

Why is my Kenmore Elite Refrigerator Not Dispensing Water?

Several factors could cause your Kenmore elite refrigerator to stop dispensing water.

As earlier mentioned above, there are about six of those reasons which I have chosen to discuss with you in detail, and they are:

#1. Faulty Dispenser Switch

The dispenser switch is what activates or regulates the performance of the dispenser.

So, in a situation whereby a switch fails to function, this may disrupt the operation of the dispenser in your Kenmore refrigerator.

Nevertheless, you can use a USSR multimeter to test for continuity, but it is best to replace it with a new one if there is no continuity.

#2. Frozen Water Tube

Another reason that may cause your dispenser to fail to dispense water is when your Kenmore has a water supply tube that is frozen.

Although the tube connects water towards the dispenser located at the door, water still gets frozen due to the low temperature from the freezer.

This case is prevalent with the Kenmore side-by-side refrigerator. Therefore, your freezers should not be kept too cold not to affect your water supply.

#3. Clogged Filter

A constant replacement of your water filter every six months will prevent your dispenser’s filter from getting clogged over time.

Note also that clogging may affect the functioning of the dispenser, flow of water, and the quality of the water.

#4. Water Pressure (low)

If your house is made of substandard plumbing or build-ups in your pipes, you will experience low water pressure.

This condition is not okay because 20 psi is the standard for your water inlet valve to work correctly.

If there is low water pressure, it could cause the water dispenser in your refrigerator to stop working.

#5. Dispenser Control Board

Almost all the activities carried out by the dispenser system are influenced or regulated by the dispenser control board.

It is noteworthy that it may sometimes be part of the control board that is at fault, which you can find and fix.

At other times, it may be the entire system that may be at fault.

#6. Water Inlet Valve

The water that gets into your Kenmore elite refrigerator water dispenser does not just get there out of nowhere, not at all.

The water inlet valve is responsible for supplying water to the dispenser.

There are only two reasons why the valve may stop working: a faulty valve or a low water pressure (20 psi is the standard pressure for water flow).

Kenmore Elite Refrigerator Water Dispenser not Cold

If you notice that the water coming out of your Kenmore dispenser is not cold, it is therefore that the temperature setting of your refrigerator compartment is not appropriate enough.

To correct this issue, you would need to adjust the temperature using the temperature control-knob electric pad.

But, first, you would have to turn it down by one or two units, then wait for 24 hours to see if the temperature has adjusted.

Secondly, there is a frequent flow of water through the tube rather than the water resting and chilling in the dispenser’s reservoir.

When this happens, it could also cause the water of your dispenser not to get cold as you would want it to.

Kenmore models with reservoir tanks hold the chilled water in other situations. So, if you start dispensing water and find out that it is not chilled, you are only dispensing the water resting in the line.

But with continuous dispensing, you would get a chilled glass of water.

How Do You Unlock a Kenmore Refrigerator Water Dispenser?

When you press the switch that is supposed to deliver cold water into your class and fail to do so, your Kenmore refrigerator is locked.

This switch can only stop when the child lock has been activated or gets clogged with dirt.

The following three steps will help you unlock your Kenmore refrigerator water dispenser:

  • The first step involves turning off the parental lock. You can do this by holding down the alarm button for about three to four seconds until the light located on top of the control lock goes off.
  • Step two involves ensuring to close the refrigerator. You should ensure that the refrigerator door is completed correctly.

    No bottle or jar prevents the door from closing because the water will not function if the refrigerator door is open.
  • Step three involves reactivating the parental lock. The reactivation is done to clean & get rid of any residue on the switch and nozzle of the dispenser.

    If the residue remains after the liquid is dried up, it could restrict movement.

How Often Do Refrigerator Water Filters Need to be Changed?

To make the best use of the refrigerator water dispenser, you must change the water filter every six months.

But, note that the rate of change may also be influenced by factors such as hardness of water, the rate of use of the dispenser, and the water quality (you can use test strips to check for contaminants).

An indecisive attitude on your part to change your water filter will make you suffer from poor health and the inability of the filter to hold debris and other contaminants anymore.

The following are signs that you need to change your water filter:

  • When the water coming out of your dispenser tastes bad
  • When the water from your dispenser smells bad
  • When water flow with low pressure from the dispenser
  • When there is also low ice formation from the ice maker.

Will a Refrigerator Dispense Water Without a Filter?

Every refrigerator with a water dispenser comes with an already installed water filter. But, a water dispenser can function without a water filter if and only if there is a bypass plug.

Only a bypass plug will allow water to skip the filtration site. I will not advise you because it will only result in water with a bad smell and taste.

So once this bypass plug is installed in your Kenmore refrigerator, it replaces the water filter and the housing.

It also prevents water from going into the location of the filter but instead going directly into the water dispenser.

But note that without a water filter and a bypass plug, your refrigerator would not dispense water.

You can install a bypass plug or change a water filter by following these basic steps:

Kenmore Refrigerator Water Dispenser Not Working After Replacing Filter

There are many reasons why the Kenmore refrigerator may not be dispensing water after replacing the filter.

Below are reasons for this to happen and the ways you can correct it:

#1. A Faulty New Filter

If you have a regular flow with the old filter but notice an abnormal flow with the new filter, it could be the fault of the new one.

To know for sure, you can reinstall the older filter to see if the water will flow normally or abnormally, and then you can finally make your judgment.

#2. Purchasing a Cheap Filter

If your Kenmore manual States that you can only use a water filter that has been produced by the OME (Original Equipment Manufacturer), you should do so.

Although it may be expensive, it will serve you better than the non-approved ones.

#3. Blockage on the Water Filter

Endeavor to make sure that the threaded area of the new filter is clean.

It could also be that the wrappings that come with the new filter are blocking the holes. Blocked holes will also result in a low water flow from the dispenser.

#4. Poorly Installed Filter

If the water filter is not fully screwed into the filter housing, there may be low flow. To ensure that the filter is well tightened, you can remove the filter entirely from the housing and reinstall it.

There are several other reasons for your dispenser not to work after your filter, like accidental removal of the gasket from the filter housing, when the filter is too tight or too loose, and when there are air trapped lines.


We’ve discussed six principal reasons why Kenmore elite refrigerators fail to dispense water, and we’ve also seen what can cause the dispenser not to dispense cold water.

Now I know for a certainty that you can unlock your water dispenser and that you can change your filter every six months.

And finally, you’ve seen all the primary reasons for the failure of the Kenmore dispenser to dispense water when filters are changed.

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