The 6 Most Common Ice Maker Problems and Their Causes

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The ice maker is probably the single coolest part of most modern refrigerators. Even fridges with tablets built into the doors can hardly rival the convenience and awesomeness of clean, perfectly shaped ice on-demand. Cold drinks are easier, smoothies are easier, treating injuries is easier. Even pranking family members is only a button-press away. So when something’s wrong with your ice maker, the repair isn’t a question. It’s a necessity.

Most of the problems an ice maker can experience don’t actually need professional attention. You can fix them at home with a bit of informed fidgeting when you know why problems occur and approximately what might fix them. So today, we’re highlighting the six most common problems with ice makers along with a quick guide on possible causes and how to troubleshoot.Once you find out what’s wrong with your ice maker, you can look up how to fix it in a snap. 

1) Ice Maker Won’t Make Ice

So your ice maker isn’t producing ice. Maybe your ice tray is empty or maybe it’s just stopped. You might be hearing strange noises or your ice maker might be eerily silent. There are a couple of things that can cause an ice maker not making ice. 

– Shutoff Arm or Shutoff Switch

The shutoff arm in most ice makers is a metal bar that lifts when the ice bucket is full of ice. This triggers the shutoff switch. If the bar or switch are stuck on the upward “off” position, then your ice maker will stop making ice.

– Water Supply Line Not Supplying

The water supply line runs from the water connection to your fridge to the ice maker. Ideally, through the fridge’s water filter. If water is cut off from your fridge, if the supply line clogs, or if the water supply valve gets stuck shut then your fridge can’t fill the tray to make ice.

– Freezer is Too Warm

The ice maker doesn’t make the cold for the ice, it relies on the freezer temperature. So if your freezer is too warm and the ice isn’t hardening in the tray, then you’re not going be getting any ice. Check with a metal thermometer if your freezer doesn’t have its own thermometer.

– Ice Mold is Stuck or Not Releasing

Check on the ice mold. Ice can and does get stuck in there, especially if the ice mold heater has stopped working. 

2) Ice Maker Makes Too Much Ice

If your ice maker is overflowing with ice, you have the opposite problem. And it’s probably the shutoff switch that’s failing to tell your ice maker to quit.

– Shutoff Arm or Shutoff Switch

The shutoff arm might be stuck in the ‘on’ position by being stuck down instead of up. Or the shutoff switch might be broken and not receiving the signal. 

3) Ice Won’t Come Out

You know there’s ice in there because you can hear it dropping and can see it in the bucket. But it won’t drop into your cup when you push the button.

– Frozen Chute

It’s possible that a few cubes of ice have re-frozen in the ice chute, causing a blockage. The long end of a wooden spoon is a quick and common solution.

– Ejector Gear or Motor Malfunction

It’s also possible that the apparatus that opens the valves and ejects the ice is broken. These parts are sometimes replaceable individually and sometimes replaced as an apparatus unit depending on your fridge. 

4) Ice Cubes are Too Large / Ice Cubes are Too Small

For fridges that have ice cube size adjustment and the cubes are coming out the wrong size, there are a few things that could be wrong.

– Cube Size Controller Broken or Nudged

Check the cube size controller. It might have been nudged the last time someone stocked or accessed the freezer. Or it could be broken. Try adjusting the size and see what happens.

– Water Supply Valve Issues

If the water supply line or valve are not functioning, you might be dealing with too little water per cube, even if the tray is set correctly.

– Inlet Valve and Switch

The inlet valve and switch are what feeds water from the fridge’s source to the supply line. Likewise, problems here can result in ice being too small. 

5) Ice Tastes Bad / Ice Looks Dirty

If your ice seems contaminated in some way with a bad taste, smell, or appearance then you can hunt down the cause and eliminate possibilities along the way.

– Ice Bin or Mold Tray is Dirty

Check both the ice bin which holds finished ice, and the ice tray which makes the ice to see if either are dirty and depositing that onto the ice cubes. Getting to the bottom of your ice bin is a common cause of impure ice if your ice bin is dirty.

– Water Filter is Expired

It could be that unfiltered or even filter-contaminated water is making the ice if your fridge’s water filter is out of date. Little specks of black can be carbon from an old water filter, and any problems with the water could be stuff not being filtered out.

– Food Odors in the Ice

Odors and even flavors can permeate through the fridge and into the ice from open containers of food or spoiled food in the fridge or freezer. Clean out your fridge and make sure all containers are closed.

– Water Supply Line Needs Flushing

It’s also possible that the plastic tubes of your water supply line might need cleaning. Flush them with clean water from a new filter. 

6) Ice Maker is Leaking

Your ice maker may or may not be making ice but it’s definitely leaking. This can be caused by tilt or loose valves.

– Refrigerator is Not Level

If the fridge isn’t level, then the mold or fill cup can tip and cause a leak.Grab a bubble level and find out if your fridge is level on the ground. If not, adjust the feet by twisting or propping until the fridge is level.

– Fill Cup or Ice Mold are Not Level

The fill cup is the funnel above the ice mold that fills with water to supply the ice mold. The ice mold, of course, also fills with water. If either of these two elements are not level inside the fridge, then water can spill and cause a leak.

– Watery Supply or Inlet has Come Loose

Finally, check every tube and valve connection. If any have been damaged or come loose, this is very likely the source of your leak. 

—Having a malfunctioning ice maker is no fun for anyone. Hopefully, you found your ice maker problems within the top six and can start hunting down a solution. If not, contact us and we’ll be glad to help you diagnose a more elusive ice machine situation. You can find additional ice machine repair and part replacement guides in our blog archives.

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