Fix a refrigerator water dispenser quickly and easily with standard hand tools and a new switch. You can do it in an hour.
By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine:November 2011
Locate the detents in the trim panel. Slip a plastic putty
knife up against the trim and wedge off the trim with a
screwdriver or paint can opener.
So the kids were really thirsty and
jammed their glass into the water
dispenser on the refrigerator door.
Now the paddle is hanging by a
wire, and you’re seeing a $300
repair bill. No way! You can do this
repair yourself with ordinary hand
tools in about an hour. A replacement
paddle/switch costs about
$75. I’ll show you how to make the
repair on a Whirlpool refrigerator.
Repairs on other makes are similar.
Open the fridge door and write
down the model and serial number
of the fridge. Then contact a local
appliance parts dealer or use the
Internet (repairclinic.com is one
online source for discounted parts)
to buy a new switch and paddle.
Start by unplugging the refrigerator.
Then remove the drip tray
to expose the trim panel screws. If
you don’t see any screws, unsnap
the panel using a plastic putty
knife and paint can opener (Photo
1). Lift the trim panel off the door.
Pull the snap retainers away from the
switch and slide it off the pegs.
Drill out the pegs and replace them with
two No. 4 x 1-1/4-in. machine screws. Slide
the new switch onto the screws and tighten
Remove the metal retainer plate (not
shown). Replace the broken paddle with a new
one. Reattach the water tube.
Next, remove the microswitch
(Photo 2). The switch retaining
pegs are usually broken, so replace
them with screws (Photo 3). If the
paddle is broken, first disconnect
the water tube. Then remove the
metal paddle retainer plate and
swap in a new paddle (Photo 4).
Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.
Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.
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