What Are The Most Common Causes of Ice Maker Failure?

It is hot out and you want a cold drink. Something pulled right out of your refrigerator is okay, but you want that crisp refreshing bite of an ice-cold drink that can only come from the addition of fresh ice cubes from your ice maker. Unfortunately, when you open your ice maker looking to find it flush with ready to use ice, it is empty without even a speck of ice anywhere to be found. Providing your ice maker was actually turned on (definitely the first thing to check), this shouldn’t happen. When you find your ice maker empty, then you have a malfunction somewhere in your system that is preventing function. When it comes to troubleshooting a malfunctioning ice maker, if there are no other identifying symptoms, it is best to just work your way down the list of common problems until you find something that needs to be fixed.

So what should you look out for in your ice maker when it comes to common problems? We can help you figure it out, starting with the easiest to check and troubleshoot.

Your Freezer is Too Warm

As this issue is one of the easiest to check outside of checking to see if your ice maker is indeed turned on, it is best to start with it. If your freezer is too warm, you might think you would notice all your food defrosting, but that is not quite true. If your freezer is above 10 degrees F, your food will still be technically frozen, but your ice maker will struggle to make ice. It may even stop making ice all together above this temperature.

If you believe a warm freezer might be the cause, the temperature you want to shoot for is 0 degrees F. This is the optimal temperature for both your food and your ice maker. Turn down your freezer and either check with your thermometer or just wait and see if your ice maker starts producing ice again.

Ice Mold Failure

If there is no ice in the tray, check your mold. If there is ice in the mold, then it may just not be dropping. This could mean there are problems with the ejector arm or that it is simply blocked by something. It could also mean a problem with the defrost that helps it eject. If the mold is overflowing with ice, the cubes could be stuck and you may need to melt them out before trying a new batch.

The Water Inlet Valve is Faulty

The next issue to check is to make sure the ice maker is actually getting water in order to make the ice. If you check your ice mold and find nothing in there at all, you will want to check to make sure it can get water. This can be done at the back of your refrigerator. You will notice the water line running from the wall to your appliance. The inlet it connects to on your appliance is the water inlet valve. This part can actually fail in a number of ways, including:

  • Water pressure that is too low and does not activate the valve properly
  • Mineral build up in the valve or hose that restricts proper water flow
  • Mechanical failure of the valve

What you want to do is shut off the water to your appliance. When you are ready to disconnect the hose from the inlet valve, it is advised to have a bucket or towel underneath in order to catch excess water that may come from the line.

Once the hose is off, you will want to inspect it. Typically, if you have low water pressure, you would notice that in other areas of your home. As for mineral build up, this should be visible in the valve and hose if it is responsible. In some cases, you may be able to remove the build up, but usually you will just have to replace the valve to get it working again.

If the actual valve has failed, you can remove the metal bracket that secures it to the appliance and test it with a multimeter to be sure.

Ice Maker Module Malfunction

The module in the ice maker serves multiple purposes in the process. The module is responsible for powering the ice ejector arm as well as sending the appropriate signals to the water inlet valve. It also provides power to the defrost in the ice maker that allows the ice cubes to be smoothly ejected.

This part is located under the cover of the ice maker and can be easily tested with a multimeter.

Interestingly enough, if this part is going faulty, it can also result in the overproduction of ice as well as no production.

Ice Make Assembly Failure

Unfortunately, if you have worked your way through the list of problems, it is possible that the entire ice maker assembly has failed. The assembly is the collection of working parts in an ice maker. While individual parts like the module or water inlet can be replaced, if there is a problem with a part inside the assembly, it cannot be individually replaced. You will instead need to replace the entire assembly.

While you can test parts in the assembly with a multimeter, if one does prove faulty, you will need to replace the entire thing. This can be difficult to do, but it is possible. If you get to the point where you need to start testing, troubleshooting, or even suspecting the assembly, you may be better off to choose professional help. While the other potential causes can be easily tested and replaced without too much disassembly, the assembly and other potential problems can be more difficult.

Furthermore, you likely don’t want to waste too much time trying to fix your ice maker. Doing so often means your freezer is out of commission too and your frozen food can be starting to thaw. Sometimes it is just faster to call for a professional repair technician.


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