How to Release a Stuck Water Filter from a Jenn-Air Refrigerator

Appliance Express
November 16, 2020
Refrigerator Repair

Water filters are a standard part of the modern refrigerator design. If your freezer has an ice-maker or if your fridge produces cold drinking water, then you have a water filter. Every fridge with a water filter needs that filter changed once to three times a year, depending on the model and steady use.

Most guides on how to change a water filter are simple. You find the assembly and the release mechanism. You push, twist, or unlatch, then pull the old water filter free and install the new one. However, it’s not always that simple. What do you do when your refrigerator water filter just won’t come out? Maybe it won’t twist free, or you press the button and the filter doesn’t eject.

Jenn-Air refrigerators are no exception, but we can offer some solutions that will work for Jenn-Air fridge water filters and many similar models besides. Jenn-Air has two types of water filter release, twist and push-button. We will take a close look into getting each of these water filter types un-stuck without damaging the fridge itself.  

Locating the Water Filter in the Base Grill or Ceiling

Start by locating your water filter. Jenn-Air tends to put the water filter into the base grill or the ceiling of the fridge compartment.. The base grill is the protective piece of vented plastic that guards the mechanical underside of the fridge. In there, you can access fan motors, drip pan, and sometimes the radiator coils. You will also often find a water filter assembly.

In the base grill, it will look like a cylindrical space that can hold a filter slotted in, and likely already holds one. The ceiling type looks like a rounded cylindrical part of the fridge molding. This will have a seam so that it splits open long-wise toward you, like a beak. 

Normal Jenn-Air Water Filter Removal Process

First, let’s cover how these water filter removal processes are supposed to work. 

Removing a Quarter-Turn Water Filter

The first filter type has a bar across the back that you can grip to turn. There will likely also be an engraved diagram of the correct direction to twist. For reference, twist the old filter a quarter-turn to the left. It should have rotated counter-clockwise from being horizontal to vertical from your perspective. You should feel the water filter release and it should pull away free.

  • Twist a quarter turn left – counter-clockwise
  • Bar points vertical
  • Feel the latch give
  • Pull the water filter away

Removing a Push Button Water Filter

The other common type of water filter assembly involves a button that ejects the filter for you. The mechanism is simple in theory. Press the button, then pull away the water filter. In reality, it’s a mechanical process like anything else. You will need to press the available button near the water filter housing very firmly, we advise using your thumb. Press until you feel the mechanical latch release, then pull the water filter free.

  • Firmly press the button near the water filter hatch
  • Press until the latch gives
  • Pull the water filter away

Extracting a Stuck Jenn-Air Water Filter

Now let’s talk about what happens when a water filter decides never to leave it’s outgrown housing. Water filters might build up with scale (mineral residue from the water), or the filter may have just sealed on its own. But you can get it free to replace your water filter.

Removing a Stuck Quarter-Turn Filter

So what if the quarter-turn water filter doesn’t twist free? What if it doesn’t turn at all, or if the filter seems to turn but never releases? We have a few tips on how to solve this problem while also protecting your dishwasher from toolmarks.

Unplug the Fridge

Some of these tactics relate to electrical components inside the fridge, so it’s best to cut the power. Before you touch one wire harness or relocate a feature, unplug your fridge for good measure. If you can, keep the fridge and freezer doors closed. If you can’t, use backup coolers.

Remove the Base Grill – Kickplate Vent

If you’re having trouble getting a grip on anything, try removing the unnecessary plastic in between. In this case, the base grill or kickplate in front of the filter housing. If you’re dealing with a water filter at the foot of the refrigerator, just set thhat grill aside.

Cover the Filter Cap with Cloth

Now put a sturdy yet not-too-fluffy piece of cloth over the cap of your stuck water filter. A handkerchief, a t-shirt or a tea-towel would all serve well. The goal is to prevent tooltips while resorting to metal tools.

Twist or Pull Free with Pliers

Now grab a pair of pliers of a comfortable size and grip that filter cap ridge. You can use one or both pliers at a time to force the filter to turn from horizontal to vertical in the counter-clockwise direction.

Remove the Water Filter

Now, pliers still gripped, should be able to pull your water filter out of the fridge. 

Removing a Stuck Push-Button Filter

If you have a push-button water filter ejector model and the button’s not working, there are a few tricks you can try to make it work for you.

Press and Hold

Instead of popping the button and pulling on the water heater, do both very firmly at the same time. Press the button firmly, as deep as it goes, then hold it while you grip and pull the water filter. It may be a matter of keeping the latches clear.

Wiggle Them Alternately

Press on the button, then press the filter inward, and press the button again. Alternate to see if you can wiggle a crusted-closed latch back open again. The most likely reasons for this issue are hard water residue, sticky spills, and long-term moist dust exposure. Shaking that mechanism loose might be all it takes.

Remove the Base Grill

Again, if that grill is in your way, you can pull it off and set it aside. This gives you more access and more room to work with.

Mash the Eject Button

Press the eject button several times rapidly and firmly. This essentially breaks the button free from whatever long-term stationary place it was. It may be easier to use the button once you mash it loose.

After wiggling, mashing, and pressing firmly, your water filter will have hopefully come free. —For more helpful appliance tips, contact us today!


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