How to Repair a Refrigerator Ice Maker

ice maker repairs©Don Vandervort, HomeTips

Ice maker not working? Try these easy fixes!

Does your ice maker need repair? If your ice maker doesn’t make ice or doesn’t work at all, check out these do-it-yourself ice maker repairs before calling a pro.

Troubleshooting and repairing an ice maker are jobs that do-it-yourselfers can handle with a little bit of guidance.

The most common problems that occur with an ice maker are a failure to make ice, a failure to stop making ice, and the unit freezing up altogether. We offer instructions on how to troubleshoot your ice maker and how to make ice maker repairs if one of these problems occurs, beginning with the most common problem—the ice maker failing to make ice.

But before diving into dealing with ice maker problems, let’s look at how an ice maker works so you’ll have a better understanding of what might be wrong.

How An Ice Maker Works

An ice maker receives water through a small, 1/4-inch water supply line that runs from the refrigerator to a water pipe (or a water filter), where it is connected. The water supply line leads to the water fill valve in the refrigerator, which is controlled by an icemaker thermostat. The fill valve sends water through a fill tube into a mechanized ice maker assembly that includes an ice mold. This is where the water freezes.

When the water freezes, the thermostat shuts off the water supply via a solenoid, and turns on a heater to slightly warm the cubes so they will release from the ice mold. Then it turns on a small icemaker motor that rotates the ice ejection arm, which pushes the ice cubes out of the mold and into the ice collection bin. Once this happens, the water fill valve turns on for a few seconds to fill up the ice mold again, and the cycle repeats.

When the ice collection bin is filled with ice, the ice raises a bail wire, shutting off the ice maker unit until the ice level in the bin drops.

Ice Maker Doesn’t Make Ice

If the water’s route is blocked or the solenoid doesn’t work—or if the bail wire is lifted—the ice maker won’t make ice. (Also note that your home’s water pressure may not be strong enough to serve an ice maker.)

ice maker repairs shut off ice©Don Vandervort, HomeTips

Make sure the bail wire above the ice collection drawer is not locked in its upper position. This shuts off the ice.

Here are a few steps you can take to get your ice maker working (first make sure the bail wire above the ice tray is in the down position):

1Check the water supply line. If the ice maker doesn’t make ice but you can see the arm swing into motion and you hear a buzz for about 10 seconds, the water valve is asking for water that isn’t arriving. This means the valve and the solenoid are probably okay, but the water supply is not. Be sure the water supply line isn’t kinked behind or beneath the refrigerator (1/4-inch copper tubing is much better than plastic fill line to prevent kinks).

2See if the fill tube is frozen. Check to see if something has caused ice to back up around the mechanism—this can cause the fill tube to freeze. When ice cubes are small and seem to be getting smaller, it generally indicates a frozen fill tube. See Ice Maker Is Frozen Up, below.

3Look inside the ice mold. If it’s filled with full-sized ice, the problem may be the water supply fill valve or the electrical connection that operates the system. To verify that the motor works, you can make a “jumper” and test it—if you’re comfortable and safe working with electricity. To do this, strip the ends from a small length of electrical wire. Insert the bare-wire ends into the “T” and “H” holes in the motor unit. This will manually start a cycle. 

4Check the water line that enters the back of the freezer for a blockage. Find the water shut-off valve behind the refrigerator or under the sink, turn it off, unscrew the copper line from the back of the refrigerator, put the copper line in a bucket, turn on the valve, and see if water pours out.

Ice maker tap valve and copper tubing used to connect to a water pipe. Photo: WattsWatts

Ice maker tap valve and copper tubing used to connect to a water pipe come as a kit.

5Check the tap valve. A bad tap valve—the little device that connects the ice maker’s water supply tube to the water pipe—may cause the problem where the ice maker’s supply tube connects to the water pipe. If necessary, replace the inlet valve and the tap valve. For the tap valve, use the type that requires you to drill a 1/4-inch hole (as opposed to the “self-piercing” type). You can buy an ice maker connection kit and do this yourself, or call a repair person or plumber to install an inline water filter when replacing the valve.

A replacement solenoid is available on Amazon for about $25.GE

A replacement solenoid is available on Amazon for about $25.

6Check the solenoid. The water line attaches to a solenoid at the back or bottom of the refrigerator and then travels to the ice maker. The solenoid may be defective or may not be receiving power. Unplug the refrigerator first. Then you can try removing the sediment screen inside the solenoid and flushing it with water to clean it, and at the same time you can inspect any seals or diaphragms to ensure that they are sound. You can buy a replacement solenoid on Amazon for about $25—it’s held in place by 4 screws.

Here is a video that’s quite helpful for troubleshooting why an ice maker isn’t working:

 

Ice Maker Doesn’t Turn Off

If your ice maker keeps making ice, even when it is full:

1Lift the bail wire to shut off the ice maker, and remove the ice bin. Then, using a screwdriver if necessary, remove the ice maker, clean it thoroughly, and then reinstall it.

2If the problem persists, consider replacing the ice maker and valve. You can do this yourself, as discussed below, or have an appliance repair person do it. With this type of problem, you can have it repaired, but it’s often wiser, easier, and less expensive to replace the unit entirely.

Ice Maker Is Frozen Up

This ice maker repair is even easier. If your ice maker has frozen up, take the following steps to thaw it out:

1Unplug the refrigerator or turn off the circuit breaker that supplies power to it. Remove the ice bin from the refrigerator and remove any loose ice from the ice maker.

2Find the fill tube. This is a white rubber-like hose that delivers water to the ice maker. Pull down the small metal clip off the housing that holds the fill tube (though not all ice makers have this clip).

3Warm the hose and surrounding mechanism. To do this, you can train a hair dryer on the ice maker to melt any ice blocking the mechanism. But be very careful (sop up any dripping water with a rag) as electricity and water can present a serious risk of electrical shock. Also, be careful not to melt the plastic parts.

4If you don’t want to use a hair dryer, you can soak the supply tubing with hot water, using a turkey baster and catching the overflow in a bowl. In some cases, it may be easier to remove the ice maker than to thaw out the fill tube with the ice maker in place.

Ice Maker Doesn’t Eject Ice

If your ice maker is producing ice but does not properly eject it, the problem is with the motor assembly inside it. You can buy an ice maker motor module on Amazon. Here is an easy-to-follow video on how to replace an ice maker motor:

Ice Maker Must Be Replaced

If the problem isn’t solvable or the coating inside the ice maker mold is coming off on your ice cubes, you’ll need to replace the entire unit. You can buy complete ice maker repair kits online at Amazon.

Though the ice makers vary from one brand to another, most are similar in design—notably the ice makers used in Kitchenaid, Maytag, Kenmore, and Whirlpool refrigerators are almost identical. For a this type of ice maker, see this video:

This also shows how to switch the bail arm wire from the old ice maker to the new one and how to change the wiring harness if necessary.

Note: When you install a new ice maker, it may take as long as 24 hours for it to begin working properly.

Universal ice maker replacement kit is designed to replace most types of ice makers.Supco

Universal ice maker replacement unit is designed to replace 150 types of ice makers. Buy on Amazon.

 

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Join the Conversation

  • frank rezek

    Kenmore refrigerator icemaker (GSI-26) provides crushed ice but not cubes.

  • Don

    Take out the ice bin. Look for the metal bar along the bottom of the bin. When lifted, this switches from crushed ice to cubes. The bar goes through a hole in the back of the fridge. It seats in a plastic stirrup that pulls up on the bar. When you put the bin back in, make sure that the bar goes into the stirrup, not under it. If that doesn’t work, the chances are good that the solenoid which operates the stirrup needs to be replaced.

  • Dennis M Dvoracek

    On our GE icemaker where the ice falls int the door it looks like a pliable plastic cover is damaged because it is frosting up something awful. Can I purchase this part and where?

  • Don

    Hi Dennis, see if you can identify the part you need here at Repair Clinic: http://www.repairclinic.com/Shop-For-Parts/b3c47/GE-Ice-Maker-Parts
    Or try PartSelect: http://www.partselect.com/GE-Ice-Maker-Parts.htm

  • Pat McBride

    Ice cubes freeze to back of bin preventing it from making enough ice

  • Don Vandervort, HomeTips

    Pull out the ice bin and make sure there isn’t some source of water, such as a plastic water supply hose for the ice maker, that has become disconnected. If necessary, thaw-out the ice maker and make sure there isn’t a plug of ice that has formed.

  • Paul Martin

    ice maker makes partial cubes??

  • Fred MCKinney

    when my ice bin is half full it will dispense ice but when it is completely full it wont. Do I need to replace the auger?

  • tom

    too much water comes in the tray and overflows how do you adjust that?

  • Sandi Abdow

    Our Samsung French door ice maker is not working & is making noise. How do we disconnect it?

  • Daniel Henry

    We’ve had our Range Master ice maker turned of for a while as it was not making ice for us but now it’s working for us BUT now as its working it’s well kinda noisy. Any ideas as to what might cause this and how to correct it?
    Many thanks
    Dan Henry

  • Joe Hirt

    I’m having the same problem right now. Water keeps dripping in fill tube and causes everything to freeze In a big glob. I’m about to change the fill valve. I’m thinking it’s 10 years old and letting water pass by.

  • Don Vandervort, HomeTips

    Jim, try to figure out what has let it “migrate”…? That said, your solution sounds pretty good, but be ready to order a new tube if it doesn’t work.

  • Christy

    I have a daewoo american style fridge freezer, I am having constant problems with the cable that goes from the water filter into the back on the freezer that supplies water and fills the ice cube tray. My problem is that the cable/pipe that goes into the back of the freezer keeps coming loose and water sprays everywhere, have you any recommendations on how to fix this and what exactly is this called as I am having trouble finding any solutions on the internet, thanks in advance for any help

  • don

    My FRS26 Frig ice maker keeps dripping water in the front of the ice maker (over filling) and freezing up causing everything freeze together . Any adjustments for this?

  • Ty Schweiger

    I have an ice maker that doesn’t fill. It started making rattling noises
    from the supply line like the water was being turned on and off
    rapidly. Figured bad solenoid, replaced solenoid, didn’t fix the
    problem. Is there any other relay to activate the solenoid other than
    what is in the ice maker internally.

    • Wanoneya

      I have this exact problem. Can’t figure out what it is… replaced ice maker… no joy. Replaced water inlet valve with solenoid…. no joy. Checked water pressure…. pressure is fine.

      Did you ever find a solution?

  • Sbru57

    I have a GE refrigerator/freezer with ice maker on my boat. The ice dispenser is making ice but for some reason, water is getting in the bin and freezing everything into a big blob. What can be the problem. It’s about 16 years old but still works great and I hate to replace the whole thing.

  • Deb creech

    I have a free standing ice maker. It made ice great last year and this year during the cold months. It didn’t work all last summer and just recently stopped again with the warmer temps. What could cause this!?

  • Stephanie Pallis Gravenkemper

    Please help! I’ve looked all over for this information and can’t find it anywhere. The dial on our ice maker makes a loud vibrating sound when it turns. Does anyone know what that is and how to fix?
    Thank you
    Stephanie

    • Virginia

      Mine knocks real loud and scares the dickens out of us. The whole fridge seems to be shaking as it’s knocking. It wont dispense ice anymore, but it has still been producing ice into the ice bucket. So I hope it keeps that up, because I cannot live without ice!!

  • MT

    I have a Frigidaire side by side . Four years old . Hasn’t been right from day one . Problem with upper ice maker . After a few months ice starts to build up on the evap. coil pushing into the evap. fan . I have this unit apart several times . Check the drainage line first . The heater and defrost thermostat are ok. What I discovered was when the ice unit is removed , leaving the heating strip in place it defrosts every 4 hrs or so leaving the coil clear or ice . I have left it like this for a month so far . I think what is happening here is once the ice unit is in place and it’s time to defrost , the defrost cycle isn’t long enought to completly clear the ice either by the heating element being too small or the defrost thermo. opening too soon. Doesn’t seem worth all the trouble just to put ice in a glass. Even the service guys don’t know . My next step is to pinch off the cap tube feeding the evap coil and remove all the wiring and be done with it . Of course , when you call the company they say they haven’t had any problems with that . One service guy said I left the door open . He pulled that off the first time he was here . MT

    • Dano Xp

      MT
      Having the same exact problem with 2011 Frigidare side by side.
      Evaporator coils are a solid block of ice.
      What did you eventually decide for your solution ?

  • Wilson Patry

    Hello, I have an LG side by side with ice maker in door, I was getting the error code for freezer fan, I have replaced the fan and it is now working, it has not been 24 hours yet, the ice maker is making ice but seems to be slowly, overnight maybe a couple dozen cubes, does it still need some time to ramp up production or is there something else that may need looked at? Thank You

  • katie miller

    My kennmore ice maker side by side makes ice but wont go down the shut and out the door

    • Rod Pinnelli

      Check the opening where the ice comes out from the tray into the chute and see if there is an ice blockage in the chute.

  • john

    my kenmore ice maker top freezer makes ice but only 1/2 the normal size cubes are very thin everything seems to operate properly. the ice maker was replaced about 10 yrs ago. any ideas

    • searcherseeker

      See #2 in “Ice Maker doesn’t make ice.”

  • John

    I have a Kenmore side-by-side with ice and water dispenser. I cleared the ice bin dispenser chute as it was clogged with ice, and used a hair dryer to melt what was blocking it. But now that it’s cleared the motor won’t run to dispense any ice (water dispenser works fine). any ideas?

    • Rod Pinnelli

      My Ice maker does the same thing about twice a year. I figured out that the motor at the back of the auger gets frosted over and stops turning. When I attempt to dispense ice I can hear the motor buzzing but it doesn’t turn the auger. I remove the ice tray, unscrew the three screws that holds the motor cover in place and the motor is attached to this cover from the back side. So once the cover is removed the motor comes out with it. Unplug the power cord and then let it thaw out over night. Replace it the next day and it works fine. Another thing I noticed is if the freezer is opened quite often or left open for long periods of time the frosting over takes place more frequently. I hope this helps

  • Wanda Brown

    I have an Amana side by side ice maker and water dispenser. My ice maker makes ice but not much what would be the problem?The ice it makes is normal size

  • Turk Phillips

    I have a frigidaire gallery side by side,there’s water at the dispenser on the door and the ice maker goes through the motions but does not make ice? I tried the hair dryer trick and leaving freezer door open for an hour cause thought was froze up,still no ice and need it for the whiskey!

    • disqus_grAsbRT3Zm

      Having same problem with my icemaker. Did you figure out what exactly was problem? ?

  • William Branner

    W. Branner Side by side GE fridge, stopped dispensing ice both cubed and crushed.
    Water okay. Found everything gummed up with ice, trying to clear can’t get the darned bucket to come out. Something’s holding it other than ice. Help!

    • Josh

      You ever get an answer to this? I’m having the same problem

  • William Branner

    To clarify, I have removed all ice, but the bucket won’t come out and I’m wondering if whatever’s holding it has something to do with the motor not turning.

    • Kathryn McMath

      My bucket freezes up. Need to defrost a bit (and hold in the release button) before I can finally wiggle it loose

  • Danil

    My Kenmore side by side with water/ice dispenser in door has a broken faucet lever. I have the new lever part but can’t figure out how to get the back of the freezer door off. Does the black gasket need removal? if so how? Thanks

  • Jim

    my ice cube maker very frequently makes loud noise, what should I do to stop this?

  • John Jones

    Same problem Need help

  • Joe Massey

    Ice maker makes ice once.always have to push the wire bare down to make ice.

    • Don Vandervort, HomeTips

      Just leave the wire down. When the ice drawer fills with ice, it will raise the wire, shutting off the icemaker.

  • Aggie Houk

    I have a GE,bought used and was making ice normally. Brought to my place and made ice fine,but started to slow down to once a day,now maybe once a week, Also water spicot inside refrig. has gotten real slow. Could something have happened like water in line freezing when plugged back in? Maybe causing a plug which grew?

    • Kathryn McMath

      Have you changed the water filter?

  • martygav

    Mine was not working. Found smaller cubes in the ice catcher/bin. Saw that the unit was trying to work, the arm was moving a little bit, and stopping.

    I felt the tube coming out of the back wall, the tube where the water flows from and fills the tray, and it felt like it was frozen solid, like a block of ice was inside it.

    Took a hair dryer set on high heat and blasted it on the frozen tube for a few minutes. A moment or two later, I heard water flowing into the tray. and the arm went down to the ON position again.

    So I think it worked.

    Will know in a little while.

    Thanks for the info here, whoever posted it. Really helped. You’re good people to make these videos and provide this info. Very grateful.

    • Don Vandervort, HomeTips

      Great to hear that the hairdryer probably worked! Thanks for the encouragement!

  • Kevin Swainson

    I have a Samsung model RSH5UBBP. it fills up the ice tray, freezes the ice cubes but does not eject them. If you press the reset button the tray twists and ejects, the arm drops about 1.5″-2″ and then re-fills the ice tray with fresh water but once frozen will still not eject.

    • like it is

      I have the same problem, I replace the ice maker myself still does not eject ice. Im guessing its the motor that turns the shaft to eject the ice! it makes it freezes it makes ice cubes they drop they just dont eject!

  • Geo

    I have the same issue as martygav. I did thaw it the pipe , water chute, but it froze again. What next?

  • Tim

    No problems for the first three years. One day last week, what appeared to be a computer chip the size of the tip of my thumb came out of the ice shoot with ice chips. Ice maker worked for another few days and stopped making ice. Can I purchase a replace part and install? Thank you.

  • Alyssa Terry

    I just bought a fridgedaire side by side fridge with ice maker and the ice maker will fill with water then about 10 min later it will release it without being frozen so then it just slips out and down through the ice dispenser and into the floor any idea why?

  • Ash Monica

    Have 2 Maytag fridges. On one, the ice maker doesn’t call water/make ice. I replaced it with a known good one from our other fridge. Everything works great. I now know we have a defective ice maker unit. What could be the problem with the defective one and can it be fixed easily?

  • Masha Sanders

    My bail wire no longer stays up. It does’nt seem to have any tension on it. The ice maker is not making ice now. Any ideas?

  • Megan Herman

    Have a Kenmore french door fridge with bottom freezer – ice in bin (in top Left fridge) seems to be melting and refreezing into a solid block of ice. I’ve cleaned out the ice tray and turned off the ice maker until we can figure out a solution. Any tips?

  • OriginalTom

    My LG is dropping not fully frozen ice cups, so they all then break apart and freeze together in a sort of frozen artic sea.

  • captainjack

    My ice maker stopped producing ice a few days ago on my Kenmore Elite Model # 10650443903. It may be coincidence, but after having to repair a damaged hot water heater I noticed that the maker was not filling or making ice anymore. I thought maybe during the draining and flushing of my water heater that the maker inlet valve got air locked. Meanwhile the water dispenser works fine. I pulled the ice maker out and used a test jumper between T & H on the control board and the maker would cycle through it’s fill & dispense operation and each time, water flowed from the hose, so no air or frozen lines. After reinstalling the unit still no ice. When I open the freezer door, the emitter light flashes 2 times then a pause and repeats. Upon holding the flap down the light stays on solid, which from what I’ve read is the correct state of the light. Would this indicate that my ice maker is defective? If not, any further troubleshooting advice would be awesome!

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