How to Replace Your Whirlpool Refrigerator’s Water Tank and Filter Head Assembly

Fred's Appliance
February 13, 2019
Refrigerator Repair

If you have a leak in the inside of your Whirlpool refrigerator, the water tank and filter head assembly could be at fault. This is the part that connects the water supply line behind your refrigerator to the filter and then to the inlet valve. If you live in an area with hard water, buildup can clog or crack through the tubing. Replace the assembly by ordering part #WP12956202. Then follow these steps to do the job yourself.

1. Unplug the refrigerator and turn off the water supply.

Any time you repair an appliance, unplug the machine first. Because you’re replacing part of the water system, turn off the water supply at the local shut-off valve behind the fridge, too. You’re even going to be replacing the part that 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 the refrigerator interior.

The assembly is mostly inside of the refrigerator, so you have to dismantle some of the inner paneling.

To get started, open the doors and remove the right side’s shelving.  Just pull up to remove the hooks from the rear brackets and then pull 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 and then pull the whole cover panel out of the refrigerator. Set it aside.

Next, you will be removing 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 towards 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. Set the panel aside.

After that, remove the upper access panel. All you have to do is insert your screwdriver into the central hole along the bottom and disengage the locking tab by pushing it up. Then just pull the panel out and set it aside.

Now you have access to the water tank at the back of the refrigerator’s interior, as well as the filter head running up the back and into the ceiling.

3. Remove the old water tank and filter head.

The water tank may still have water in it. Before you start removing it, set a towel at the bottom of the refrigerator to catch any leaks. Then start to remove the old parts.

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. Then separate the housing bracket completely from around the filter head and set the housing aside.

Move to the rear of the refrigerator and locate the water inlet tube that you 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 the new water tank and filter head.

Push the 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 you hear them click and engage. You may have to do one column at a time to make sure everything fits properly. Return to the rear of the refrigerator. Remove the protective cover at the end of the new inlet tube. Then put 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.

After that, attach the water inlet’s retaining clip to the middle of the panel and attach the inlet tube itself to the water supply line.

Go back to the front of the refrigerator.

Now you can 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.

After that, reattach the water tube to the inlet valve. Pry the blue valve slightly forward so you have more room. Then push the tube firmly into the valve. It should go all the way in until you reach the wider portion of the tube. Then push the 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. You should be able to hear all of the locking tabs engage.

4. 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 its flush with the pack of the refrigerator. Press it 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.

After that, 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. Be careful that you don’t crack the plastic. Before you reattach 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 the refrigerator in.

Also, turn the water supply back on. If you have more appliances you want to repair, browse our repair guides or contact our team at Fred’s Appliance Service.

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