Refrigerator Water Dispenser Not Working After Filter Change

Fridge not dispensing water after new filter change? I have just replaced the water filter on my refrigerator. The old one was 6 months old so it was time to replace it. I followed the instructions, unscrewed the old filter, and installed the new water filter in the fridge by screwing it in. I then tried to fill a cup of water using the water dispenser and it was only a trickle of water that came out. It sometimes makes a hammering noise while I try and dispense water. The old water filter let the water flow perfectly. My question is, do you think I have a bad new water filter or am I missing something?

Refrigerator Water Dispenser Not Working After Filter ChangeRefrigerator Water Dispenser Not Working After Filter Change

There are many different types of water filter configurations on refrigerators (some fit in the top of the refrigerator compartment and others fit in the base of the refrigerator). You may need to consult your owners manual if some of the fix methods below do not apply to your refrigerator.

refrigerator filter and housing parts breakdownRefrigerator filter and housing parts breakdown
(applies to some refrigerators)

NOTE: After removing the old filter from your refrigerator, remove 1 cup of water using the dispenser. If the dispenser fills the cup in 8 seconds then the water pressure to the refrigerator is correct and you can rule out any type of water pressure issue.

What could be the cause of the refrigerator water dispenser not working after a filter change?:

1 – If your old refrigerator water filter worked and water flowed from the dispenser normally, but after installing a new water filter the water is only a trickle from the dispenser, try reinstalling the old filter to see if the cause of the issue is the new filter.

2You may have bought a cheap aftermarket water filter. Most refrigerator manufacturers state in the users manual to use ONLY water filters made by them = OEM Original Equipment Manufacturer. If you are using a non approved water filter, try using an OEM water filter. They will usually be more expensive but will work as designed to filter the water and let the water flow normally. Buy a new OEM water filter and that may fix your problem.

3Check to be sure nothing is blocking the water filter. Check that the threaded area where the filter will connect to the refrigerator has nothing blocking the small holes where the water will flow through. Sometimes part of the wrapping on the new filter itself could possibly block the water flow. If something is blocking flow, this will cause low flow. When you go to get a glass of water you will get only a trickle. Check to be sure the new water filter is clean and free of small debris before installing.

4The new water filter you installed may not be fully screwed (or seated) into the filter housing. If the filter is not fully threaded into the housing, low flow or a trickle can occur. Make sure you have the filter tightened properly. Remove the filter completely and reinstall making sure it is tight.

5There may be a seal/gasket on your refrigerator water filter housing causing the issue. When you removed the old filter and replaced it with the new filter, it may have moved the gasket/seal. The seal is there to get the filter on air tight so no leaks occur. If applicable, pull off the gasket/seal and reinstall it. Then install the new filter. Make sure the water seal or rubber gasket is seated correctly and is aligned properly with the filter housing and filter.

6Your water filter may be installed too loose or too tight. You can try to dispense water while at the same time slightly unscrewing and tightening the filter at the same time. By doing this you are trying to find the exact tightness needed to let the filter operate properly. Sometimes the water filter has to be to an exact tightness in the filter housing for the water from the dispenser to flow correctly. If you cannot run the water dispenser while readjusting the water filter, simply turn the filter in and out while under pressure and it may start to work.

7You may have air trapped in the lines. A hammering noise is a good indication that you have air trapped in the lines. This can happen when a new water filter is installed. The air creates a gap or pressure issue and the water does not flow out of the dispenser. You will get a slight trickle or nothing at all from the dispenser. Your newer fridge should have come with a bypass plug. This plug can be used in the water filter housing to completely bypass the filter. Install the bypass plug and run water for 3 minutes to clear any air or pressure issues in the water lines. Once water flows properly from the dispenser, wet your new filter and reinstall it. Test it by running water for a few minutes to be sure air is out of the lines.

8You may need to wet the new filter before installing it. Sometimes once they are installed the water pressure has a hard time soaking the inside of the filter. By getting it wet before install, you are helping the filter by saturating it first. Soak it in water and reinstall to see if that will fix your problem.

9Some people report that removing one of the two small o-rings at the end of the water filter fixes the issue. Do this at you own risk but give it a try if everything else has failed to work.

make sure water filter is tightMake sure water filter is tight and seated properly

fridge replacement filtersFridge replacement filters
Buy OEM refrigerator filters and not cheap aftermarket filters

If you know of other reasons a refrigerator water dispenser will not work after installing a new water filter, please leave your comments or questions below.

ALLEN VETTER - DIY Repair Assistant
Allen is a Home Maintenance/Appliance tech and the author/creator of this website. He has 30 years of experience troubleshooting and repairing all types of machinery. Contact here

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dale Hall September 26, 2018 at 1:00 pm

I have just replaced the water filter in my Whirlpool side-by-side, filter 4396841. Water trickles and stops after the change, the dispenser sounds like it’s working but not water. When the older filter is re-installed the water flow and operation is normal. Could this be a problem with the dispenser valve or the filter housing? Your thoughts?


2 Mike August 13, 2017 at 4:36 pm

I had the same problem and fixed mine, by unplugging the refrigerator for a minute and plugging back in.


3 david cowell July 8, 2017 at 7:03 pm

I have a relatively new model Maytag refrigerator that has a filter compartment inside the upper right hand corner of the cabinet.
It uses the cover plate to seat the water filter, so there was no way to touch the cartridge when it was inserted.
I taped a small small folded piece of paper towel to the end of the filter cartridge before inserting it into the refrigerator.
That provided the little extra push the filter cartridge needed to work properly.


4 JSolo June 17, 2018 at 1:52 pm

Works perfectly! You saved me a lot of heartache and despair!


5 renee jones February 5, 2017 at 8:20 pm

Not working with new filter… What could be wrong with my refrigerator?


6 DIY Project Help Tips February 8, 2017 at 10:10 pm

renee jones,
Try either tightening the filter a little more or loosening it a little bit as there may be a pressure or vacuum type issue.
Are you using the correct OEM water filter?


7 Lisa Sinclair January 30, 2017 at 2:24 am

I have a Maytag MSD2272VEB00 side by side fridge. We replaced the water filter and now it is making the hammering noise from the water dispenser and low flow water. When the filter is removed, I ran water through to make sure there is no air in the line, and the water flows well. When the filter is back in place, it has low flow and the hammering starts again. It does not happen when I hear the ice filling. It is the approved filter.


8 Lynn August 7, 2016 at 2:49 pm

I was cheap and went to discount filter website. Should have known better. Our GE Adora takes a RPWFE filter and the ones that say RPWF will NOT work! Those come up when I type in the GE number. I tried everything on the troubleshooting sites and then found the info above. Guess I have to suck it up and pay 52$ per filter….


9 Holly March 5, 2016 at 6:36 pm

I have a GE side-by-side. We ignored the water filter for years (I know), and a few months ago the water dispenser stopped working. So I just removed the filter and replaced it with a cap. Now when I depress the water dispenser, I can hear the water running, but nothing comes out AND water is leaking from the bottom of the fridge onto the floor. Is it a clogged line?


10 Jim March 2, 2016 at 7:26 pm

I just replaced my water filter. It is a 4396841 Whirlpool Refrigerator Water Filter.
It works fine for about an hour and then the water dispenser stops completely. If I push on the filter, it works again. It seems that the filter is coming loose, however, I do not see how that is possible since it spring loaded and does not appear to be worn out.
I have tried two different water filters and I get the same issue.
Unfortunately I do not have the old filter to put back in. However, the replacement is the exact same make and model (PUR).
Any ideas?


11 DIY Project Help Tips March 3, 2016 at 6:17 pm

Is it possible the water filter housing is damaged or there is an issue with the tightness from the spring? Have you tried to get the water filter tighter by turning it or trying to readjust it? Could there be a piece of plastic that was on the new filter that has gotten stuck in the filter housing? What is the model number of your Whirlpool refrigerator? Are you using the EXACT same model number and type of water filter?


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