Many refrigerators have ice makers. Most drop the ice into a handy bin where you can grab them one at a time or by the handful. A few of the high-end models of refrigerators also include a dispensing water system for cold, filtered water and ice cubes. You can get cubed ice or crushed ice, sometimes even dispensed at different rates. But what do you do when your ice maker stops ejecting ice?
You can still hear the ice ejector motor trying to run and there is still ice in the bin, but no ice is coming out into your waiting glass. This can stem from a number of causes. The key is to troubleshoot your icemaker until you find the solution that works. If your ice maker is not ejecting ice, we can help. Try the following steps and solutions to resolve your ice maker problem.
Empty the Ice Bucket
The first place to start is your ice bucket. Ice buckets can sometimes build up with ice that can’t eject or has otherwise re-frozen together. Sometimes old ice goes unused at the bottom or ice has jammed on the way out of the bin. Lift the fill bar and pull out the ice bin. Dump the bucket and rinse it thoroughly with warm water, soap, and a splash of vinegar. Rinse again, dry the bucket (this is important), and place the ice bucket back into the assembly. Lower the fill bar and wait a few hours for new ice to form and be ready to dispense.
Reset the Ice Maker Software
The next easiest thing to try is a quick reset. If your ice dispenser has a touch panel or buttons, you can reset the control software by pressing the right button. Some refrigerators have a reset button on the ice dispenser controls. Press and hold for the requisite number of seconds. Your reset process may alternately be triggered by pressing two of the buttons together for a set number of seconds.
There may be a beep or flashing light to tell you that the ice maker is reset, or if you have a digital display it may read RESET when you are successful.
Reset Ice Maker Hardware
Not all ice makers have a reset button, so you might want to reset the unit manually instead. There are two ways to do this. The first, if you can, is to disconnect the ice maker from its power supply for a few minutes, then plug it back in. If your ice maker has an ‘off’ switch or you can reach the wire harness, reset the unit this way. Otherwise, you can cut power indirectly by pulling the fridge power for a few minutes, then plugging it back in. This will cut power to the ice maker and will reset the device.
Break Up Ice Jam in Chute
The next most common cause of ice not ejecting after it’s been formed is re-freezing in the chute. When ice meets warm air in the chute, the surface layer of the ice melts back into the water, which is why ice feels wet most of the time. When that surface water re-freezes, it can form a multi-cube jam. Frost can also build up in the chute and the ejection system, stopping moving parts and preventing new ice from rolling down the chute.
The best way to break up an ice jam, many have found, is with a wooden spoon or plastic utensil. This non-scratching tool will let you break the frost between the ice cubes so that individual cubes can fall through as well. The other method is to use warm water to melt the chute. Place a folded towel in the ice ejector space in the fridge door, then pour a pitcher of warm water slowly down the inside of the chute with the door open. This should melt all built-up ice inside the chute and clean it as well.
Release the Ice Ejector Paddle
Sometimes, the only problem is with the final paddle. The ice ejector paddle is the flap that opens to let the ice out at the bottom of the chute. If the paddle doesn’t open, ice can’t fall out. Check to make sure that there are no frozen ice chunks blocking the paddle or jamming it shut. Open and close the ejector panel manually with a wooden spoon and check how well the hinges and springs are working correctly. If there is a problem with the paddle that is not frozen, you may need to uninstall the paddle and replace it with a new part.
Replace the Ice Ejector Motor or Gears
The rest of the ejector system involves a motor and moving gears. This assembly works together to pull ice from the ice bin and move it down the chute where it can be dropped by the paddle. If the motor stops turning or if the gears get jammed, you will need to replace the ejector assembly. In most cases, you can replace the motor and gears in one assembly piece, but your repair technician may be able to repair on a smaller level if they have the experience and expertise.
Melt the Ice Mold Tray
Another trick you can try is to clear the ice mold. The ice mold is the core of your ice ejecting system and sometimes pieces of un-dropped ice build up in the mold itself. You can use the warm water trick to clear your ice mold as well. Remove the bin, place a towel under the ice maker, and pour warm water through the mold until all built-up ice shards have melted.
—If you have tried all the previous troubleshooting steps, then there’s a good chance your ice maker will begin ejecting ice again. If it doesn’t start right away, let your refrigerator reset and regenerate ice again for an hour or two before trying again. Ice makers are not complicated, but they have many moving parts. By finding the source of the problem, you can get your ice maker filling glasses with crystalline cubes once again.