ApplianceGeneral Electric Refrigerator
Level of DifficultyDifficult
Time to do repair1- 2 hours
Age of Appliance5 - 10 years
The problem is the common issue that the proximity of the plastic water lines that leave the electrically controlled valve near the compressor in the bottom back corner of the fridge, means they become brittle and crack/break. Both the line leaving to the ice-maker that runs diagonally across the outside back of the fridge, and the line that runs under the fridge to feed the water dispenser failed at the valve, breaking off just where they start at the valve.
The result was I noticed a big puddle coming out from under the fridge (too late for the poor wood floor).
The solution, replace the parts. For the ice maker line, it is one thin line - its easy to replace other than taking care to uncrimp and recrimp the connection up at the entry to the freezer.
For the thicker tube, the one that goes to the water dispenser, you replace the reservoir tank that sits inside the fridge. It has the two lines leaving it permanently attached to the tank, hence you replace the whole thing. There are separate lines and a splice/union that can be used to replace just the last 6 inches near the compressor, but I chose to replace the whole unit. This describes replacing that water chill tank unit.
The tank sits behind the bottom 2 drawers in the fridge.. you see it when you pull out the drawers. It has two lines permanently attached, one runs out of one hole in the bottom of the fridge and to the back of the fridge where it attaches to the exit on the electrical valve. The other runs out of the other hole in the bottom of the fridge and runs along the side, then along the front from the fridge to the freezer side. There is a union that connects that line to another line that then runs up the freezer door. Remove the front cover under the fridge to see this line and the union.
To replace the tank, you have to disconnect it from both ends, where its held in by plastic nuts/unions. Water remaining in the lines will drain out when you disconnect them. I unscrewed the valve assembly from the fridge body and then unplugged the plugs to the valves to do the work (but left the fridge plugged in).
To do this work, I needed to raise the fridge side edge of the appliance, since the hoses route along the underside of the fridge. After you disconnect the two ends (at the union on the freezer side bottom front egdge, and back side at the valve) you can pull the hoses up into the fridge. Routing the new hoses will require you have at least that one side off the floor to get your hands under it. I got two 6" tall 4x4 wood blocks and tipped the fridge slightly, raising the right (fridge) side off the ground and slid the blocks under the fridge rollers.
To remove the tank, before you raise the edge of the fridge, there are two screws that you need to remove (top side and left side) from the storage tank.
I recommend that in addition to removing the bottom two drawers, you remove all the bins hanging in the fridge door, since you need to work in there with gravity wanting to shut the door on you. Once you have the tank unscrewed (and the hose ends disconnected) note which hose(based on where it connects to the tank) goes to which hole in the bottom of the fridge. Pull up the hoses from the inside the fridge. The tank is free..go put it in the sink and drain the water out.
Installing the new tank, remove any hose end caps and route the hoses back through the lower drawer support frame you pulled them out of, and feed the correct hoses back through the holes in the bottom of the fridge. I found it better to feed the longer one first, which leads to the water dispenser/front. I could then pull that one up front from under the raised fridge and clip it in place and then route the other hose fully though its hole and route it to the back of the fridge to the valve. This way I ensured I was sending the right hose to the right destination.
You will likely have to trim the hoses once the tank is reattached as they are slightly long. Be sure