How to Repair an Ice Maker

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An ice maker is a great feature to have on a refrigerator, but like most things, it can have problems from time to time. Water is delivered to an ice maker through a length of 1/4-inch water line tube that connects to a cold water pipe on one end and a fitting on the back of the refrigerator at the other end. Before beginning an ice maker repair, you'll need to do some troubleshooting to find the cause of the problem. Often, a simple repair is all that's needed to get your ice maker back in order.

Common Ice Maker Problems

There are several reasons an ice maker can stop working properly. Some of these reasons are a faulty water inlet valve, a leaking or frozen ice maker, a problem with the control arm and low water pressure. Whatever your problem might be, always unplug your fridge and make sure the water supply valve to the refrigerator's ice maker is shut off before troubleshooting and beginning your ice maker repair.

A Control Arm Issue

Many ice makers have a control arm that stops it from producing any more ice when the ice bin is full. If there is more ice on one side of the bin than on the other side, the arm can tilt and stop it from producing.

  1. Smooth out the ice cubes in the bin so that it is equal on all sides.

  2. If the ice maker is still not producing ice cubes, empty the bin and make sure the arm lowers to the down position.
Image Credit: Stephen Paul for Hunker

Low Water Pressure

Low water pressure to the ice maker will usually be caused by a few things: a dirty or clogged filter, a defective water inlet valve or an issue with the line from the water pipe to the refrigerator. The water pressure to your refrigerator should be at least 40 pounds per square inch.

  1. Using a large measuring cup, run the refrigerator water dispenser for 20 seconds.

  2. Check the fullness of the cup. If there is less than 13 ounces, there is a problem.

  3. Bypass the water filter and remove it. Run the dispenser again for 20 seconds.

  4. If you are still getting less than 13 ounces of water, the problem is low water pressure in the feed line. Check your home's water pressure and check the shut-off valve on the refrigerator supply line to make sure it is working correctly.

  5. Check the water filter screen on the water inlet valve, located at the back of the refrigerator, and clear it if it's plugged. If the water inlet valve is defective, it can be removed and replaced with just a few screws. Be sure to turn off the water supply before removing the valve.

  6. If you are getting 13 ounces of water with the water filter out, you most likely have a clogged filter. Replace your current filter with a new one and run the water in the dispenser for a few minutes to remove air. According to PlumbingSupply.com, it is normal for water to appear cloudy or white after installing a new filter, and running the water will clear it up.

Frozen Supply Tube

The supply tube that connects the water supply line to the ice maker can sometimes freeze if the freezer temperature is set too low, preventing the ice maker from working. One option to mitigate this is to try the traditional method of defrosting the freezer by turning off the refrigerator and waiting until it thaws, but this can get messy and affect everything in the freezer and refrigerator. You could also try this ice maker repair, which involves a hair dryer and a turkey baster:

  1. Carefully heat the inlet tube at the back of the refrigerator with a hair dryer.

  2. If heating the tube doesn't work, unplug the refrigerator and turn off the water supply.

  3. Remove the ice maker by loosening the screws or bolts holding it to the freezer wall.

  4. Use a turkey baster to pour hot water on the tube until it is thawed and clear of ice.

  5. Replace the ice maker and turn on the water and electricity. Adjust the freezer temperature so the tube doesn't freeze again.

  6. An alternative way to thaw the tube is to remove it from the back of the refrigerator by loosening a few screws.
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Gary Sprague

Gary Sprague

Gary Sprague is a retired master plumber who now works as a writer. He lives with his family in Maine.