Like a sunroof in an automobile, a refrigerator ice maker is an option that some people consider indispensable while others consider it unnecessary. If you're in the latter group, you might prefer to use the space occupied by the ice maker for extra food storage. Even if you're attached to your ice maker, it's good to know how to remove it in case something goes wrong and you need to replace it. While the basic procedure for removing an ice maker is simple, it's a good idea to check the manual for your refrigerator model before you start.
Most ice makers are add-ons. Rather than being built into the body of the refrigerator, the ice maker is bolted to to a bracket, and if you want it gone, all you have to do is unbolt it. Before you do this, though, you have to do a couple of important things first:
Step 1: Disconnect the Power
Unplug the refrigerator or -- if it's easier -- turn off the breaker in the main panel that controls the outlet into which the refrigerator is plugged.
Step 2: Turn Off the Water
Locate the valve for the water line that feeds the ice maker, and turn it off. The valve is often right behind the refrigerator, and you can access it by pulling the refrigerator away from the wall. If you don't see the valve there, follow the water line until you find it. Use care when pulling the refrigerator away from the wall to avoid damaging the water line, especially if you plan to replace the ice maker with a new one. If you don't plan on replacing the ice maker, it's a great idea to disconnect the water line from the refrigerator, using a wrench.
Step 3: Remove the Ice Bucket
Pull out the ice bucket and discard the ice -- or use it to make a slushie. Removing the bucket exposes the front panel of the ice maker. You're now ready to start taking it out.
Removing the Ice Maker
The basic procedure for removing the ice maker is simple: Slide it off the bracket; disconnect the power harness and lift it out. If you don't plan on replacing it, you'll also want to remove the bracket. Details such as bolt type and location vary according to model. Consult your manual for these details. If you don't have a manual, you can find one on the manufacturer's website or by searching for the make and model of your refrigerator followed by the word "manual."
Step 1: Remove the Panel Cover
Try unsnapping the cover with your fingers. If this doesn't work, you may need to pry it open with a flat-head screwdriver. Remove the door and set it aside.
Step 2: Release the Ice Maker
The ice maker is usually secured by tension pins. Press these pins to disengage them, then slide the ice maker forward along the bracket to expose the wiring harness. On some models, you may have to remove a screw or bolt to release the ice maker.
Step 3: Disconnect the Wires
Separate the wire harness by grasping the cover, depressing the locking pin on the side with your finger or a screwdriver and pulling the harness apart. There may be more than one harness to disconnect, depending on the model. Pull the ice maker clear of the bracket after the harness is disconnected, and set it aside.
Step 4: Remove the Brackets
Unscrew the bolts or screws holding the bracket, using a socket wrench or screwdriver, and remove the bracket. If you don't plan to replace the brackets, it's a good idea to screw the fasteners back into the holes to avoid having open cavities inside the refrigerator or freezer that can collect moisture and mold.
Chris Deziel is a contractor, builder and general fix-it pro who has been active in the construction trades for 40 years. He has degrees in science and humanities and years of teaching experience. An avid craftsman and musician, Deziel began writing on home improvement topics in 2010. He worked as an expert consultant with eHow Now and Pro Referral -- a Home Depot site. A DIYer by nature, Deziel regularly shares tips and tricks for a better home and garden at Hunker.com.