Ice makers are becoming more and more common in modern fridges. They connect to your fridge’s electrical circuit and plumbing line. This allows them to make ice on command. There are four main components used in this process: the compressor, the condenser, the expansion valve, and the evaporator. Refrigerant, the solution which works to keep your fridge cool, circulates through these components, changing the temperatures.
The first component, the compressor, is where your fridge heats the pressured refrigerant. From there, it moves into the condenser. Here the refrigerant is cooled from a vapor to a liquid. This happens by passing the vapor through metal coils, which migrate the heat away from the refrigerant.
The third phase is when the liquid refrigerant passes through the expression valve. During this process, the pressure is released, turning the high-pressure liquid into low-pressure, low-temperature liquid. The final stage is where the water freezes in the evaporator. As water passes over the evaporator, it is cooled to the point of freezing. Over time, the water freezes to form an ice cube. If any of these components are faulty or fail, your machine will not produce ice as it should.
This is a simple step-by-step guide on how to fix your ice maker if it stops working.
Check the easy fixes first
Check your ice maker is turned on
While it may seem too easy to be true, a surprising number of broken ice makers are fixed simply by turning the power back on.
If your ice maker has a digital display, access the controls via this panel. Check if your ice maker is turned on by pressing and holding the power button. You should also check to see it has not been paused accidentally.
Check the fridge thermostat
Another easy fix is to reset the fridge thermostat if it has been set incorrectly. If your fridge is not operating at the correct temperature, the ice maker will not work.
Use your owner’s manual to locate the thermostat. It is generally located inside the fridge compartment. There may be one or two dials allowing you to control your unit.
The FDA recommends having your fridge at 39.2 degrees Fahrenheit. However, you may need to experiment to find the ideal temperature for your ice maker’s make and model.
Check if there is ice stuck in the mold
One of the most common problems with an ice maker is misshapen ice. This is a result of bits of ice getting stuck in the ice mold. If there is too much ice stuck, it will result in no new ice being made.
Follow these simple steps to defrost your ice mold.
- Turn off your ice maker.
- Pour warm water into the ice maker tray, covering it.
- Leave the warm water in the tray for 10 minutes.
- Clean all liquid water and ice chunks from your ice tray.
Retest your ice maker. If you are still having issues, move on to the next step.
Ice maker is not level
One generally overlooked issue that can cause problems is your ice maker not hanging level inside the fridge. This will cause the ice in the mold not to be level, potentially resulting in issues with the ejector assembly.
Follow these simple steps to ensure your ice maker is level.
- Using a bubble level, check the mounting of the ice maker is level.
- If not, check the screws are straight and the mounting brackets are flat and not bent out of shape.
- Next, using your bubble level, check to see if the fridge is level.
- Then test the bottom of your fridge to ensure it is level.
- Adjust the feet on the bottom of your fridge as needed to ensure it is level.
Check the more complex fixes next
Check your ice maker’s water lines
The water line to your ice maker is an essential part needed to make ice. If this line is clogged, then your ice may smell funky—if it is made at all! A leaking water line is just as bad, if not worse. If the water line is damaged, cracked, or not connected correctly, leaks may occur that then freeze.
Locate your ice maker’s water line and inspect it for damage. You should also check the surrounding area for frozen water, which may indicate a leak. Consult your owner’s manual if you are having trouble locating the water line.
Check your water filter
Your water filter acts by filtering your tap water before it becomes ice. Ideally, it should be cleaned or changed every six months, but this is often forgotten. A clogged water filter will restrict water flow and will result in dirty ice with a bad smell.
Follow these simple steps to change your water filter:
- Ensure your ice maker is turned off and your fridge is disconnected from the power source.
- Locate your water filter. They are located in different spots depending on the make and model, so it is best to consult your owner’s manual if you are having trouble.
- Remove your filter by turning it left until you hear a click.
- Mop up any spills.
- Clean your water filter or remove any seals from the new water filter.
- Fill it with water to avoid air bubbles.
- Face the filter toward you so the upward arrow is visible.
- Then push the filter head to the right and turn until you hear a click.
- If your fridge has a water filter alert button, you should reset it now. Hold it down for three to five seconds to reset it.
If you have gone through all of the checks above and are still having issues with your ice maker, then it may be time to call a professional repair technician. You should also check to see if your ice maker is still under warranty.