How to Repair a Water Cooler Dispenser

hand getting water from cooler dispenser
  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-50

A water cooler dispenser seems like a relatively simple piece of tech...until it stops working. Then, when you've got to figure out how to repair a water cooler dispenser, the darn thing might as well come from an alien spaceship.

If you have a malfunctioning water cool dispenser on your hands, all is not lost. There are a few different things you can check to repair a water cooler dispenser and all of them are fairly easy DIY tasks that anyone can learn how to complete.

When You Should DIY It

Common signs of a need for repairs to a water dispenser are hot or cold water being too tepid and spouts not dispensing quickly enough, which is usually due to wear or blockage. With some relatively easy steps and pretty common hand tools, you can take on several repairs yourself to get cool water flowing again.

Most modern water dispensers have replacement parts that are readily available from their manufacturers, and many of these basic parts do not even require tools other than a basic screwdriver to install. You don't have to be a DIY wizard to work out some simple repairs that will almost always fix the problem you're having.

Performing your own repairs on a water cooler dispenser is an economical choice and a fairly easy undertaking. Of course, water cooler repair only works out if you kind of know what you’re doing.

6 Simple Repairs for Water Cooler Dispensers

You can tell right away when a water cooler isn't working properly. Usually, it's because the water is too warm or it's coming out in a small trickle.

Try some simple water cooler repair tricks to see if this corrects the problem and work your way up to slightly more complicated DIY tasks to get the dispenser properly dispensing cool water again. Water dispenser repair is often easier than it first appears once you know a few tricks.


Remove the water jug from the cooler and set it to the side. Unplug the water cooler for several minutes.

Plug your cooler back into the wall outlet, but do not replace the jug just yet.

Locate the switch at the back of the machine. This is the reset switch.

Turn the dispenser off using the switch, unplug your cooler once more, and leave it unplugged overnight. Once you have plugged it back in the next day, wait three to five hours before placing a new jug in the reservoir.

Wait another six hours for the water in the jug to cool, and then test the dispenser again.

Doing this resetting process has been found to solve many temperature problems. If this doesn't fix your problem, try a different water cooler dispenser repair trick.


Always unplug your water cooler dispenser before doing any repairs or maintenance. You don't want to remember that you forgot to do this the hard way, so double-check that it is fully unplugged before you get going.

Then, remove the water jug from the top and place it off to the side, setting it upright so the water won't leak out.

Locate the coils on the inside of the dispenser. You will find more than one set of coils if you have a dispenser with both hot and cold spouts.

Some models are even available with a third spout that will give you water at room temperature, which means there are even more coils. No matter how many there are, clean the coils thoroughly with a damp, clean cloth and make sure that there is no debris or dust on them.

Rinse all parts of the coils thoroughly when you're finished. Clean any residue or dust from any other internal areas of your cooler.

If you see more stubborn dirt or dust, wipe the coils down with a mild soap and water mixture and then wipe them clean with plain water. Wipe everything down again with a dry cloth to remove all moisture.

Sometimes, a good cleaning is all the water dispenser repair you need. Dust, hairs, and other bits of stuff manage to find their way inside water dispensers and will affect the way they run.


Flush the system to remove any blockages and clean out all the inner workings. To perform this task, make sure the water cooler is unplugged and remove the water jug.

Open the spigot or spigots and let all the water drain from them.

Pour about one gallon of water from the tap into the reservoir. Hold the spigot or spigots open so that the water drains right through.

This will flush out the system and could solve any problem you're having. Put the water jug back in place, plug the dispenser back in and test it.

This is one of the more simple options for water cooler repair when you’re having a problem and this can often fix many issues. Sometimes, you don’t need to know how to repair a water cooler…just how to flush out the system.

Check the Hoses

Physically touch all hoses to make sure nothing is loose or out of place, or leaking. You should not be feeling moisture here.

If hoses are loose or wet, try to re-secure them. If you find that there are rips or tears or damage to the fittings or hoses, these parts will need to be replaced.

Check piping and spouts as well, looking for leaks, broken areas, or ill-fitting connections. Fix these if and where you can and replace parts when you find broken or damaged areas.

You might need a wrench or screwdriver to tighten up hoses and connections, so have these tools handy.

Swap Out the Filters

If your dispenser has filters or a filter, change these out. This is a simple fix and sometimes, this is all you need to do.

It’s easy to forget to change filters but if your water dispenser has one, it should be swapped out for a new filter every six months.

Make Replacements

Take a good look at the coils and inner workings of the water cooler dispenser.

If any parts inside this dispenser, such as coils or spouts, look damaged or corroded, they may need to be replaced. Look online for replacement parts using the model number of your dispenser, information which should be printed somewhere on the machine.

Corrosion is a common problem over time with dispenser coils. When installing the replacement coils, make sure you fit them each securely in the same position as the old coils.

The same process goes for fitting your new water spouts in place. These may take a little effort to lock completely into position, and it is a good idea afterward to check for leaks around the edges to be sure they are properly in place.

This is more intense water cooler repair compared to the easier methods, but most of the time even casual DIYers can figure out how to make some simple parts replacements.

If you need some extra help, you can usually find YouTube video tutorials that will walk you through the process.

Repair a Water Cooler Dispenser

There are several simple DIY repairs you can perform on your own to fix a malfunctioning water cooler dispenser. Often, these simple repairs will work to solve whatever problem is causing the water cool to not work properly.

But if these repairs don't work, you will need to call a technician or water cooler repair service to have the water cooler dispenser professionally repaired or replaced. Save money by trying all the DIY fixes first and most of the time, that will be all you need to do to get the water flowing again.

Water Cooler Dispenser FAQs

Can a water dispenser be repaired?

Water cooler dispensers can be repaired. Lots of little things can go wrong that end up being fairly easy fixes.

Bigger fixes may require the services of a technician but even these larger problems, such as leaks, are fixable in many cases.

When all repair options are exhausted, you will need to replace the entire water cooler dispenser and get a new one.

What causes water dispenser to stop working?

There are many reasons why a water cooler dispenser stops producing a good flow of cool water. The machine may be dirty or in need of reset, a hose may have come loose or a coil may need to be replaced.

Lots of little things can go wrong that causes the water to stop its flow but with some simple DIY repairs, you can often solve many of these issues.

How do you fix a water cooler that will not dispense water?

If no water at all will come from the water cooler, try cleaning the interior of the machine and flushing out the system to remove any debris or clogs that might be impeding the water.

Also, reset the machine, as sometimes this simple fix solves water flow issues and gets everything working smoothly again. It takes a long time but it's one of the easier DIY repairs you can perform.

How do I reset my water cooler dispenser?

Resetting a water cooler dispenser is a lengthy process but not a difficult one. First, unplug the machine and remove the water jug.

Plug the machine back in and then flip the switch in the back of the machine. Make sure the water cooler is turned off and unplug it again.

Leave it this way for about 12 hours. Plug it back in and let it sit for about five hours before you place a new jug into the dispenser.

Let the jug sit and get cool for about six hours before you check to see if the dispenser is now working properly. This simple reset procedure can solve many problems but if it does not, try other troubleshooting repairs to get the water flowing well again.

How many years does a water dispenser last?

Most water cooler dispensers will last an average of seven years before they need to be replaced. Some models will need to be replaced sooner or later than this, depending on how often they are used.

Do water dispensers need maintenance?

Water cooler dispensers need regular maintenance in order to continue functioning properly. They should be cleaned at least once every six months.

The hoses, spouts, and coils should all be checked at this time and any loose parts should be re-connected. Any broken or corroded parts should be replaced.

How to fix water dispenser pump?

If a water dispenser pump is not working, it often needs to be replaced entirely. Most of the time, the pump would need to be taken apart and parts replaced if it is not working anyway and often, replacing the pump is the easiest course of action.

Why does the water taste weird?

Sometimes, the water cooler dispenser will appear to function perfectly in every way, producing cool and flowing water on command...and yet, something is still off. If the water tastes weird, you might be storing the water jugs or dispensers in the wrong way.

Don't ever store water jugs or the dispenser in direct sunlight, not even if the sunlight lasts only a very brief amount of time. Sunlight, first of all, is a fire hazard when it's shining on water because this can create a reflection that ignites a spark than can grow into a catastrophe.

Sunlight can also make certain chemicals from the plastic jug seep into the water, which changes the taste. This is not necessarily dangerous to you in any way but it can make the taste of the water unpleasant and some people do not like the idea of drinking plastic chemicals.

Remember that plastic is petroleum-based, so this can create a funny taste and it doesn’t taste very pleasant to think about drinking oil whether or not it’s safe for your health.

Further Reading

How to Make Your Own Water Purifier

How to Test Your Tap Water

Troubleshooting Hot Water Dispenser Problems

Water Filter: How Effective Are They?