Refrigerator Built-In Water Dispenser: How Does it Work?

Refrigerator Built-In Water Dispenser

Years ago, when the refrigerator water dispenser was first introduced, it was considered a marketing gimmick. One more fancy add-on to justify the soaring prices of electric appliances. Fast forward to the present day, and refrigerator water dispensers are still going strong because, as it turns out, they actually serve a purpose. If you have kids, you know how many times a day the refrigerator door is open and shut again as your kids grab a bottle of water to quench their thirst. This impairs the efficiency of the refrigerator and shortens its life expectancy.

Using refrigerator dispensers stops the fridge from being opened as regularly, and also helps the environment by reducing your plastic bottle waste. But, have you ever thought about how they work? Read on below to find out.

Refrigerator Built-In Water Dispenser

Origins of the Refrigerator With Built-In Water Dispenser

Let us start with an overview of the history of built-in water dispensers. The American manufacturer, General Electric, was the first to introduce a custom-made design of the refrigerator water dispenser back in 1969. The public initially perceived it as a hoax as they had not witnessed the technology before. Over the years, built-in water dispensers have constantly evolved and you can now find ones that make sparkling water or even brew coffee!

The Mechanism by Which These Dispensers Work

Refrigerators with door water dispensers need to be connected to the main water supply in your house using a flexible hose. Since these appliances do not come cheap, it is important to make sure that the model you are purchasing will work with your water pressure. Technicians will set it up for you and manage any necessary plumbing work you might need. Once you plug in your refrigerator, pushing back on the water-dispensing lever will activate a water valve that is placed in the back of your fridge. Water will then flow from the water source to your glass, filling it with clean, crisp water.  

How the Dispensed Water Filtered?

One of the best features of built-in water dispensers is that they provide you with fresh, filtered water. Disposable carbon filters can either be placed inside a special compartment in the refrigerator or, in some models, the filter cartridges can be placed remotely under the kitchen sink, which is more convenient when you are replacing your old filter. Water dispenser filters will provide you with safe drinking water that is perfect for your home and safe to drink or cook with. The filters can trap chlorine and harmful heavy metals like highly toxic lead. Almost all new refrigerator models will notify you when it is time to replace the filters, which is usually every six months. 

However, the duration will vary depending on the quality of your water and your frequency of use. You can find more affordable, universal filters that can be used with many brands, but for the best results, it is better to purchase the same brand as your refrigerator.

Common Problems with Refrigerator Water Dispensers

The maintenance expenses of these expensive water dispensers can be quite costly. Regardless of what brand you have, there are common refrigerator dispenser problems that you need to know how to troubleshoot. If, for example, the dispenser stops releasing water, the first thing you have to do is check for a buzzing sound. This will indicate whether the water valve is allowing the water to flow along the tubes or not. If you do not hear a buzz, then it could be time to replace the water valve altogether. Otherwise, it could be an electrical issue. In this case, it is better to contact an electrician as it can be dangerous for you to try and fix the problem yourself.

The second common problem is water freezing in the water supply tube. This often happens when the refrigerator door is left unopened for a long time, or if the temperature is set too low. You obviously want to check your temperature control dial first and, if that is not the cause, you can use a hairdryer to heat the area around the water reservoir to defrost the water inside and allow it to flow. 

When you understand how refrigerator water dispensers work, you will be able to tackle many of the issues you might face on your own without having to hire a professional or pay unnecessary repair costs. You will also know what to look for when you are shopping for a new refrigerator built-in water dispenser. In that sense, this knowledge will save you both time and money.