How Does Ice Maker Work?

Most of us have an ice maker at the comfort of our home, which is commonly found in our refrigerator. Although unusual for home use, some people also have a separate ice maker that works the same. These ice makers are the luxurious technology that enables us to enjoy cold drinks during hot days or to store foods for a longer period of time. However, many of us are too comfortable with it, thus we are just too used to it as a part of daily life. For that reason, we can be sure that not everyone must have ever wondered how this magical machine produces ice.

Ice maker diagram

Ice maker diagram. Source: applianceassistant.com

The Basics

We can also make ice cubes by pouring water in an ice tray and leaving it in our freezer. Ice makers do the same, though, since the process of pouring the water to taking out the ice cubes is fully automated, some major components are required. These components are an automatic water valve, a motor, and a heating unit. In order to enable the water to get inside the machine, you obviously need to connect the water valve to your house’s plumbing.

Taking the Water in

Previously it is already mentioned that one of the main components of an ice maker is an automatic water valve. This is how the automatic process goes. Solenoid (an electromagnetic agent) is incorporated with the valve; while the valve is connected to the main circuit. The electricity is the one that operates the valve automatically.

Processing the Ice

After water fills the mold inside the machine, the cooling unit of the refrigerator freezes the water. A thermostat is connected to the mold and monitors the temperature of the water. When it hits certain degrees below zero, it will trigger the heating unit below the mold to heat up and detaches the ice from the bottom of the mold.

Taking out the Ice

After the previous process, the main circuit revolves the ejector blade to move the ice out of the mold. In this state, the ice is still intact as one big unit. The ejector blade pushes the ice to the housing in front of the mold where it is cut into cubes by the blade and the notches in the housing. The cubes, then immediately fall to the bin that collects them under the ice maker. This is where we get the ice cubes we use every day.

Automatic Turn-off

After all steps of the process are done and the ice cubes are dropped into the bin, the notch at the bottom of the revolving blade catches the shut-off switch and pulls it up. During the ejection of the ice cubes, this switch falls down again. If there are no ice cubes left in the bin, this switch reaches its lowest state and automatically starts the entire process again. However, we usually do not take all of the ice altogether, therefore the remaining ice prevents the switch from reaching its lowest state; allowing the ice maker to turn off.

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Patricia Anderson - March 30, 2016

I had no idea that a thermostat was connected to the mold and monitors the temperature of the water. That is nice because then it won’t over freeze or under freeze. We are thinking about getting a commercial ice maker for our office. I just wanted to see how it worked before buying the ice maker for the office, thanks!

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Jorge McMillan - April 25, 2016

I have never thought about how ice is made through ice makers on fridges and machines in restaurants. Like the article said at the start, I became to familiar with it and have taken the fact that I have one of these things to use everyday. It’s cool how they are practically an automated ice tray machine that can produce mass amounts of ice cubes. I’ll make sure I take better care of my ice maker and be appreciative of the things it does.

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Kody Loveless - August 23, 2016

I never really thought about how an ice maker works. I really think it is neat that there is a temperature sensor that can tell when the water has turned to ice. It must be like the temperature sensors in my car that controls my automatic climate control. There is a lot more tech in an ice maker than I would have thought.

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Helen - September 14, 2018

Reading your post reminded me of the epic battle I had with my fiance when we first moved in together. I like keeping my dairy products all together like you, whereas he likes them all spaced out. For months I just let it go, but your post is making me want to organize our fridge sensibly once and for all!

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