How to Replace Whirlpool Refrigerator Water Tank and Filter Head Assembly

How to Replace Whirlpool Refrigerator Water Tank and Filter Head Assembly

Due to the danger and complexity of electronic equipment repair, the following technical tip is intended for professional reference only. Please refer to manufacturer’s recommendations as Encompass does not guarantee the accuracy, reliability or safety of this information. 

When a leak occurs inside a Whirlpool refrigerator, the water tank and filter head assembly could be at fault. This is the part that connects the water supply line behind the refrigerator to the filter and then to the inlet valve. In an area with hard water, buildup can clog or crack through the tubing. Following are steps to replacing the assembly with part #WP12956202.

1. Unplug refrigerator and turn off water supply
Always be sure to unplug an appliance before starting a repair. Also, because this repair involves replacing part of the water system, turn off the water supply at the local shut-off valve behind the refrigerator. The part being replaced connects directly to the supply line, so disconnect the supply line from the water inlet valve at the base of the refrigerator while you’re behind the appliance.

2. Dismantle refrigerator interior
As the assembly is mostly positioned inside the refrigerator, dismantle some of the inner paneling. To get started, open the doors and remove the right side shelving. (Just pull up to remove the
hooks from the rear brackets and slide them out.)

Next, locate the water filter cover at the top of the refrigerator. Press down the tab to open the covers. Turn the filter counterclockwise and fully remove it. Press the back of the cover panel free of the hinge pin, pull out the whole cover panel and set aside.

Remove the interior access panel in the middle of the right back paneling inside the refrigerator. (This is the panel with the four small holes around the perimeter.) To remove it, insert a flathead screwdriver into each of the holes to depress the locking tabs. For the top two holes, press in toward the opposite hole. For the two lower holes, press the screwdriver down to disengage the tabs. Tilt the panel down and wiggle the bottom free from its mounting tabs and set the panel aside.

Then, remove the upper access panel by inserting the screwdriver into the central hole along the bottom and disengaging the locking tab by pushing it up. Pull the panel out and set aside. The water tank at the back of the refrigerator’s interior is now accessible, as well as the filter head running up the back into the ceiling.

3. Remove old water tank and filter head
The water tank may still contain water. Before removing the old parts, place a towel at the bottom of the refrigerator to catch any leaks.

First, loosen the housing that holds the filter head at the ceiling. Do this by prying open the mounting tabs toward the front of the housing and then rocking the back of the housing free until the housing is supported only by the lines running up to the filter head.

Next, press down the tabs at the top of the blue water inlet valve so you can pull the small tube free from the top. Once it’s free, you can remove the transparent support housing around the tube. Also, pull the water line to the left out of the mounting tabs. Completely separate the housing bracket from around the filter head and set  aside.

Move to the rear of the refrigerator and locate the water inlet tube that was disconnected at the start of the repair. Loosen the screw that holds the tube in place. Push it down and remove the plastic retaining clip from around the tube. Then, remove all the screws holding the lower rear access panel in place. Set the panel aside.

Return to the front of the refrigerator. Start removing the columns of the water tank from the retainer clips. Once they’re all down, carefully pull the water inlet tube into the body of the refrigerator.

4. Install new water tank and filter head
Push inlet tube into the hole at the bottom of the refrigerator. Feed as much of the length through the hole as possible. Next, align the new water tank in the back of the refrigerator so the inlet tube is to the right.

Press the columns of the water tank into the retaining clips until they click and engage. This may have to be done one column at a time to make sure everything fits properly. Return to the rear of the refrigerator. Remove  protective cover at the end of the new inlet tube. Place the old plastic retainer clip on the new tube.

Reattach the rear access panel. Slip the water inlet tube through the bottom cutout and the power cord through the top cutout so nothing gets pinched. Then secure the panel with the screws around the perimeter. Next, attach the water inlet’s retaining clip to the middle of the panel and connect the inlet tube to the water supply line.

Return to the front of the refrigerator. Now install the new filter head attached to the water tank. Take the transport tube support from the old assembly and attach it to the filter head’s inlet tube. Also, attach the filter
housing to the filter head. It should snap into place around the arms at the top of the filter head.

Next, reattach the water tube to the inlet valve. Pry the blue valve slightly forward to make more room. Then, push the tube firmly into the valve. It should go all the way in until reaching the wider portion of the tube. Push  valve back into place.

Fit the longer water line into the groove along the left side of the cavity. Once the tubes are in place, attach the new filter head to the top of the refrigerator. Line up the back of the filter head assembly into the rear of the cavity and then press the cylindrical housing into place. All of the locking tabs should be heard to engage.

5. Reassemble the refrigerator interior.
Start by reattaching the upper inner access panel. Hook the top of the panel over the arms near the filter head assembly. Then, swing the panel until it is flush with the back of the refrigerator. Press firmly into place.

Next, install the lower cover. Slip the bottom of the panel into the groove, and then press the rest of the panel flush with the back of the refrigerator until the locking tabs engage.

Then, install the water filter housing cover: there is a hinge pin on either side of the filter head housing. Slide the matching hole of the hinge at the back of the water filter cover over one arm. Then slightly stretch the other side of the cover to reach around and grab the hinge arm on the other side. Take care not to crack the plastic. Before reattaching the water filter, twist and remove the bypass cap inside the filter head. Twist the water filter into the new filter head clockwise. Then, snap the water filter cover shut. Reinstall the shelves, shut the doors, and
plug in the refrigerator. Be sure to also turn back on the water supply.

Special thanks to Fred’s Appliance Academy for this helpful tip!



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