How to Shut off a Refrigerator Water Valve

checking pressure gauge on refrigerator
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What You'll Need
What You'll Need

A refrigerator water valve is an important component of most refrigerators that have an icemaker, water dispenser, or both. Since most refrigerators now have an automatic ice maker or a water dispenser, it is important to know where to locate the refrigerator water valve in order to properly shut it off during needed repairs.

Without the refrigerator water valve, it will be harder to make repairs if there are leaks or damages in the ice maker and the water dispenser. Since it is not always advisable or practical to shut off the entire household water system, it is important to have this water inlet valve installed in order to control the flow of water to the fridge. Here is how to shut off the refrigerator water valve while you're doing refrigerator maintenance.

Step 1 - Locate the Refrigerator Water Valve

First, you need to find where the water valve is located. This can be a little tricky sometimes, especially if the inlet valve was manually installed by someone else.

Usually, it's located at the wall at the back of the refrigerator. Move the refrigerator forward to reveal the location of the valve. If the valve is hidden in a box covered by a plastic or metal guard, unscrew the guard to reveal the valve.

If the valve is not found at the back of the fridge, follow the water supply line until the valve is found. It can be located near the cold water supply valve at the bottom of the sink. If not, keep following the water supply line.

Step 2 - Shut Off the Water Valve

Most water valves are easy to shut off. The valve will be equipped with either a lever or a knob to shut it off. If the valve uses a lever to turn it on or off the lever lines up in line with the waterline, it's in the open position. Rotate the lever until it is perpendicular to that position to shut it off. If the valve uses a knob, rotate the knob clockwise to shut it off.

Sometimes, the lever or the knob can be hard to rotate because it has not been used for a long time. If this is the case, you might want to shut off the main water line to prevent a water mess in case the valve would break while forcing it to work. You might have to use a wrench or pliers to unstick the knob, but before trying that, take a good look at the valve to see if there isn't and large nut at the base of the rotating shaft. There will likely be one and it should be moved around with a proper wrench along with working the knob or lever to work it loose and gradually take it apart from the body of the valve. It could then be cleaned out, replacing the seals, and put back together.

If the valve is in one piece and not possible to take apart, you can use a wrench or pliers to rotate it back and forth, gradually increasing the amount of movement to try and make it move freely. Grip the lever or the knob using any gripping device and turn it slowly until the lever or knob comes loose. Hand-rotate the lever or knob until the water valve is shut off. Once this is completed successfully, you can turn the main water line back on.


When the refrigerator water valve does not easily shut off, replace it with a new one in order to ensure that it can be easily shut off when required in the future. Shutting off the water valve is important, especially when the water dispenser or ice maker requires repairs.

Install the water valve in a location that is easy to spot. This makes shutting it off a lot easier and a lot faster than going under the sink or anywhere else that is harder to reach.