How to Troubleshoot a U-Line Ice Maker

When you have a U-Line ice maker inside of your fridge, or even a stand-alone unit, it adds great convenience to your meal preparation. However, you might find that the ice sometimes runs out and needs to be replaced or the ice maker needs to be fixed. Fortunately, keeping an ice machine running smoothly is fairly straightforward, especially if it is properly maintained and you understand the basic mechanisms at work behind the machine's inner workings.

Automatic ice maker malfunction
credit: Sarah Palmer/Moment/GettyImages
When you have a U-Line ice maker inside of your fridge, or even a stand-alone unit, it adds great convenience to your meal preparation.

Using a U-Line Ice Maker

One of the most complex aspects of your ice maker is not the actual process of making ice — after all, that's a relatively simple process of freezing water — but the fact that it provides a seemingly endless amount of ice cubes that are the same size and shape. Many ice makers contain a motor, a water valve and an electrical heating unit that help the unit to make ice.

In addition to being hooked up to your electrical line, you'll also need to connect your ice maker to a water line so that you have a fresh source of water to freeze at all times. Through a hole in the back of the freezer, both lines will run through and connect and keep it powered properly.

A common issue that ice makers encounter is broken or detached water supply lines. This can be incredibly problematic, especially if not caught quickly, as water will continue to be supplied to the ice maker and will flood your home, rather than be safely turned into ice.

U-Line Ice Maker Cycle

When your ice maker is properly hooked up, it will run through the ice cube creation cycle in a standard fashion. First, a timed switch will send a current to the water valve, which is typically located right behind the refrigerator or stand-alone unit and connected with some central lines. The timer switch current will travel down the those lines straight into the motor, which will power the valve to open so that water can travel into the mold.

The valve opens up for approximately seven seconds so that enough water can fill up the ice mold. The mold has several circular, round or square compartments (just like the ice cubes that'll soon be cooling down your drink), all of which are connected to each other by a small notch on the side of each of the cavity wells.

When the mold is filled up with water, the machine will then wait until the water is completely frozen into ice. This is actually not done by the ice maker; the cooling unit within the refrigerator is what turns the water into ice (unless you have a stand-alone unit). Inside of the ice maker, you'll find a thermometer that will monitor the temperature of the ice within the mold.

Ice Machine Thermostats and Currents

Once the ice maker reaches a certain temperature and goes beyond that set temperature, the thermostat closes a switch in the electrical circuit. When this switch closes, the electrical current will flow into a heating coil, which is located underneath the ice maker. Once that heating coil heats up with the electrical current, the ice mold grows warmer and the ice cubes begin to heat up.

From there, the current will continue on its flow and activate the ice maker's electric motor. That will kick-start a gear spinning, which will then rotate another gear that is attached to a long shaft with ejector blades attached to it. As these blades rotate, they'll scoop all of the ice cubes out of the mold, pushing them to the front of the ice maker where they'll move in a single unit since they are still connected.

Process of Ice Cube Ejection

In the front of your U-line ice maker there are notches that match up with the ejector blades, and as the ice passes through this area, the cubes are pushed through where they finally separate into the collection bin. The revolving shaft has a notched plastic cam at the bottom, and right before the ice cubes are pushed out into the bin, the cam catches and lifts up the plastic arm. Once the cubes come out, the arm will fall back down again.

When the arm goes back down into its resting position and hits its lowest point, it'll activate the water switch to start another cycle. However, if there are too many ice cubes in the way for the arm to return to its lowest point, then the cycle will be interrupted.

U-Line Ice Maker Troubleshooting

If you've replaced pieces for your U-Line ice maker and are now seeing that there are problems, then you'll want to turn the ice maker off first before diving in to fix it. Remove the lower front panel, the garden hose connection and the connector from the garden hose. Then you can remove the four screws around the outside of the ice maker so that the unit can be slid out of the ice maker for removal and repair.

A common issue you might observe with your U-Line ice maker could be that the freezer's temperature is too high (typically above 10 degrees Fahrenheit), which will cause your ice maker to fail to properly make ice cubes. If it is the temperature that's off, you'll want to make sure the condenser and coils are running properly.

Another issue with this sort of appliance could be that the water inlet, which opens to supply water to the dispenser and ice maker, is malfunctioning. Additionally, the ice maker assembly might be malfunctioning and could require replacement or repairs.

U-Line Ice Maker Manual Fixes

A quick fix for many malfunctioning U-Line ice makers is to unplug the unit and remove the loose ice from the bin. From there, you'll manually fill the fill tube (the hose that delivers water into the unit). Then, you should warm the house around the refrigerator area by using either a hair dryer or warm water in order to melt any ice blockages that are preventing the ice maker from working properly.

Safety Considerations for Ice Makers

Keep in mind that any time you need to clean or service your unit, you'll need to turn off the electrical and water hookups to protect against injury from electric shock. Additionally, never use a glass cup to scoop ice. If your glass chips in the ice bin, you are unlikely to be able to fully recover all of the pieces. If this occurs, do not put your hand into the bin, and dispose of all the ice immediately.

U-Line Ice Maker Cleaning

To keep things running properly — and safely — you'll want to make sure you keep your machine clean and tidy. This includes every exterior part, as well as the interior motors and mechanisms.

You will need to clean your U-Line ice maker frequently to prevent problems with its production. The company sells a cleaner that will help remove lime and calcium buildup, both of which can interfere with ice making. You can use this cleaner and the machine's self-cleaning cycle to ensure it is properly maintained. Before running a self-cleaning cycle, be sure that the machine is off, unplugged and that all ice has melted away from the unit by running a U-Line ice maker defrost cycle.

After removing all ice from the bin and removing the evaporator, take the standpipe off the ice maker. To clean the interior bin, dilute one packet of CLR cleaner into 2 quarts of water. Clean the bin with this mixture and a sponge or cloth. Then use a bottlebrush to clean the machine's tubing.


Danielle Smyth

Danielle Smyth

Danielle Smyth is a writer and content marketer from upstate New York. She holds a Master of Science in Publishing from Pace University. She owns her own content marketing agency, Wordsmyth Creative Content Marketing (www.wordsmythcontent.com), and she enjoys writing home and DIY articles and blogs for clients in a variety of related industries. She also runs her own lifestyle blog, Sweet Frivolity (www.sweetfrivolity.com).