Automatic ice makers are a feature on many contemporary refrigerator models, and for the most part, they do their job efficiently and reliably. When one stops – or won't stop – making ice, you may be able to correct the problem by resetting it. The procedure is usually straightforward, but it depends on the refrigerator model. When in doubt, it's always a good idea to check the manual for your model, which is usually available on the manufacturer's website or through a general search on the internet.

Testing temperature in a refrigerator.
credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Most ice makers stop working when the temperature in the freezer gets too high.

Adjust the Feeler Arm

The feeler arm, which functions like the float in a toilet, shuts off the ice maker when the ice tray is full. It's spring loaded and should fall when you empty the ice tray, but it could be stuck by ice or lack of lubrication. Push this arm down if it's stuck, and you should hear the sound of water flowing into the ice maker's reservoir.

Look for the Reset Button

Certain manufacturers, such as Samsung, equip the ice maker with an easy-to-identify reset button. To access it, you must first remove the ice tray. Once you do that, you should see the bright red reset button on the bottom of the ice maker itself.

To reset the ice maker, push this button in and hold it for 10 seconds. You can release it sooner if:

  • The ice maker starts making noise and operating.
  • A chime sounds inside the refrigerator.

Once the ice maker starts working, it will eject the contents of its reservoir, so replace the tray and close the refrigerator door to avoid spilling partially frozen water onto the floor.

Use the On/Off Switch

Instead of a reset button, some manufacturers, such as Kenmore, equip the ice maker with an on/off switch. To reset the ice maker using this switch, remove the ice tray and the cover plate from the front of the ice maker, which you should be able to do by simply pulling it. Turn the switch off; then unplug the refrigerator and leave it unplugged for 5 minutes. Turn the switch back on when you plug the refrigerator back in, and the ice maker should begin working. The ice makers in some Frigidaire refrigerators also have an on/off switch, but it's easily accessible after you remove the ice tray. There's no need to remove the front cover.

Some Frigidaire refrigerators feature an electronic control panel with an on/off button for the ice maker. If yours is one of these, locate the "Ice Off" button and push it in for 3 seconds, or until the LED turns red. Release the button, wait for about 5 minutes; then push it in again. When the LED turns green, the ice maker should be operational.

Unplug the Refrigerator

If your ice maker doesn't have a reset button, you can try this simple procedure to reset it. It's recommended for GE refrigerators, but if it doesn't work on your model, it won't hurt anything. Unplug the refrigerator for 30 seconds; then plug it back in. Within 15 seconds of restoring power, press the feeler arm three times in succession. This should force the ice maker to run water into the reservoir and begin the cycle of ice production.

Ice Maker Won't Reset

If your ice maker won't work after you reset it, the problem could be a lack of water, an electronic problem or a mechanical malfunction. You can repair some of these problems yourself with the help of your owner's manual, but some require replacement of a part, such as the solenoid or water valve. If you trace the problem to the ice maker itself, you usually have to replace it. Ice makers aren't designed for disassembly and service.