Ice Maker Not Working? 5 Things You Should Do
One of the most inconvenient things to find at the last minute is your ice maker not working. You bought an ice maker intending to get around the inconvenience of driving to a store for ice and now you find the ice maker not working at all. On the other hand, perhaps you're looking into buying an ice maker and wondering what the common problems are that can result in an ice maker not working. Regardless of your current issue, there are a few common minor problems with ice makers that have easy fixes.
You're not alone in having some issues and, thankfully, there are easy fixes out there to these problems. We're going to take you through how to handle various issues and hopefully help get your ice maker working again. First, we'll take a look at different ice makers, the benefits of buying one, and how they work. Knowing more detailed information about your product will help you with repairs now and in the future.
What Is an Ice Maker?
An ice maker is self-explanatory. It makes ice! Instead of being part of your refrigerator or freezer, the ice maker is a separate product, usually a counter-top appliance, that works to make ice. An ice maker isn't used to store or freeze anything. The only job it has is to make ice for you. The different products vary, but most ice makers make a small amount of ice at a time so it may run for a while until you have enough ice for your plans. There are some large ice makers, though, that make pounds of ice all at once.
Going to a store every time you need ice can be a hassle. A small ice maker is perfect for camping trips, college dorm rooms, or your work or office. If you need extra ice for a party or reunion, they can come in handy then, too. Most notably, they can save you a lot of hassle if your main ice maker not working, such as in your refrigerator, and needs repairs.
An ice maker is priced similarly to any other household appliance. Expect to pay at least $100 and up when shopping for one. While this may seem like too big of a price tag for ice, keep in mind how often you go to the store to buy from them. If you find yourself buying ice often, then an ice maker can pay for itself pretty quickly. Regardless, if you have the extra money on hand, they can be a smart investment.
Your appliance ice maker works much the same as the one in your refrigerator and will probably have the same problems and fixes. The ice maker receives water through a 1/4-inch hose into a water supply line, or sometimes a water filter. The line goes to the water fill valve controlled by the thermostat. From there, the water is sent through another tube and into an ice mold where the freezing process occurs.
After the water freezes and creates ice the correct size of the mold, the thermostat turns off the water supply and turns on a heater. The heater may be unexpected but it works at a low temperature just enough to get the ice cubes to release from the molds. Then a small motor rotates the ice ejection arm which pushes the ice cubes out of the tray and into the collection bin where you take them from. The water fill valve will turn on and the process repeats. When the bin is full, a bail wire rises with the ice level and shuts off the maker until the bin drops again.
Ice Maker Not Working? Common Problems
Usually, the problems about an ice maker surround three basic topics: it's not making enough ice, it's stopped working completely, or it's frozen.
If the ice maker isn't making as much ice as you need, it's possible you need a different model. However, the ice maker isn't keeping up with the amount it used to make, it's possible it could be leaking water. If the ice maker not working at all, there could be several problems. The control arm which shows when the ice bin is full may be out of position. There could also be clogs in the water line, an inlet valve, or the filter. The water line could also be off or the inlet valve is broken.
If you find that your ice maker is frozen, the problem most likely lies with the thermostat. In the event your thermostat is set too low, water will freeze before it reaches the molds.
Troubleshooting - 5 Things You Can Do
Depending on the specific reason behind your ice maker not working, you may have to look into more detail and even read through the user guide you hopefully received with the appliance. In the most likely scenarios, here are a few ways to get your ice maker running again.
Check the Parts
If the ice maker isn't making ice, you'll want to check on all the parts. If the bail wire is lifted, the ice maker won't make more ice, so pull it back down. Check the water supply line for leaks to patch up and the tap valve for malfunctions. Also, check the solenoid in the back or bottom of the appliance. If the solenoid is broken or not receiving power, the ice maker won't work. You can turn the appliance off and clean the sediment screen inside with water and check the seals on the device. If any of these parts are broken, be prepared to buy a replacement part.
Thaw Out the Machine
Second, if the ice maker is frozen, you must thaw it out. You'll need the ice maker not working for safety reasons, so cut off power to the appliance by unplugging it or cutting off the breaker. Then find the fill tube that the one that delivers water to the tray. It'll look like a white rubber hose. You'll have to warm the hose. An easy way is to use a hair dryer but be careful to not get water or ice around the hair dryer or risk electrocution. If you want to stay away from that scenario, you could also soak the tube in hot water, possibly with a turkey baster. If you have to remove the tube, do so, but keep in mind how to put it back in.
Replace the Motor
If the ice maker is creating ice but not ejecting it into the bin, you have a problem with the arm motor. Unfortunately, there's no easy way to fix this part, so you must find a replacement. You can find ice maker motors for around $20 but be sure to get the specific one you need for your brand and model of the ice maker.
Check and Possibly Replace the Machine
In the event the ice maker won't turn off even when the bin is full, the problem could be in several spots. Be sure to check on the bail wire and make sure it's lifting properly. You may have to unplug the ice maker, remove the bin, and give the appliance a thorough clean before trying again. The problem could also be with a broken valve. This part costs around $15 but the ice maker itself could also be damaged beyond repair at this point. You may want to consider buying a new ice maker.
Check the Hose for Leaks
Finally, if the ice maker is leaking into the freezer or on the floor, you must unplug it quick to prevent further damage to other parts of the ice maker or your home. The ice maker not working is critical in this situation. Check the ice maker and the unit inside to make sure it's level and fix appropriately. As mentioned before, this might be a leak in the water supply line, so check the hose for pinching or damage. Also, make sure the water funnel is aligned with the fill cup so that nothing is spilling over. If none of these things are causing the leak, you'll need professional intervention. Catching this problem fast can prevent water damage to your floor and walls.
Whether you're having problems with the ice maker in the refrigerator or the separate appliance, hopefully, these tips helped you out. If the ice maker not working is still a problem for you, you may want to consider getting a new one. If the issue is so bad you need to enlist professional help, a new ice maker might be cheaper anyway.
Don't let this dissuade you from ice maker appliances completely. They can be extremely useful around the home, for recreational activities, or in times of disaster. Like any appliance, they eventually wear down to disrepair. If you're buying a new one or getting an ice maker for the first time, do a bit of research to find one that's durable, makes the amount of ice you need, and fits your budget. Don't be afraid to spend a little extra to get one that'll last. If you need to keep a budget, try to find sales in your local stores to get a good one at a great price. Just remember, they'll pay for themselves, eventually.