Is your ice maker so frozen it’s singing ‘Let It Go’?
You’re probably sick of looking at the growing barrier of ice around your ice maker, and struggling to get a steady supply of ice cubes for your drinks.
All of this isn’t good for your fridge, and repairs can cost you hassle and money.
Fear not. At Appliance Analysts we’re dedicated to fixing appliance problems, so let’s solve this.
8 Frozen Ice Maker Causes – With Fixes
Ice makers can freeze for a few reasons. It can be hard to tell which is affecting your ice maker – especially when everything’s covered in ice.
I’ve arranged these fixes from the easiest to most complex. Following them one by one should give you the path of least resistance to figuring out (and fixing) the problem.
Before doing any repair-style tips, make sure to unplug your refrigerator / ice maker entirely unless specified otherwise.
Ice Tray Freezing Up
Sometimes the ice tray itself can ‘overflow’ and freeze up, causing the unloading/ejecting of the ice to stop, and causing an ice blockage.
Fixing A Frozen Ice Tray
If you’re lucky, your ice maker tray can simply be lifted up and out.
Looking down on a mass of frozen ice cubers, rather than a collection of individual ones?
Simply grab that mass – admire the world’s largest ice cube – and place it in the sink to melt.
Placing the much emptier tray back in to the ice maker afterwards.
This “frozen mass” can form if the ice maker’s not giving out ice very regularly.
If you can’t pull the tray out, use a hair dryer to thaw out the ice tray. You’ll have to move quickly to avoid thawing everything in the freezer and fridge.
When the ice tray is completely thawed, mop up all the water and dry the area around the ice trays thoroughly to prevent that water from freezing again and causing you more icy headaches!
Your Refrigerator Temperature is Set Too Low
Too cold a temperature setting for your refrigerator will mean that the Water Inlet tube may be exposed to freezing temperatures. You don’t want this because the water in the Water Inlet pipe is meant to be in a liquid state to stop it freezing up.
Fixing An Ice-Cold Refrigerator
To address this problem, try raising the temperature of your fridge slightly and waiting 24 hours. Check your appliance care manual for the optimal temperature at which the ice maker will operate most efficiently. If possible, check the actual temperature with a thermostat and compare to the manual.
This is especially true for very cold climates or very cold times of the year – you should always raise the temperature of the fridge slightly to avoid over freezing in any of the component parts of the fridge.
Water Filter Problem
You may suspect that the ice maker is getting frozen up and because of that it’s not producing or ejecting the ice as it should.
Another problem you need to consider is that it may be the water filter that is causing the issue with your ice production.
A filter that is dirty or clogged will slow down or negatively affect the amount and quality of ice the ice maker will produce and it may have nothing to do with the ice maker itself freezing over.
Handling A Troublesome Water Filter
To avoid any issues with your ice production, always change the water filter in your fridge twice a year. You can also clean the filters carefully under flowing warm water to remove debris and rinse them out to avoid build – up and blockages. This will prolong their life (saving you money) and improve your water quality – which means better ice.
Your Water Inlet Tube Is Frozen
Even with a refrigerator at a good temperature, the Water Inlet tube for the ice maker can get frozen up, which stops the whole appliance before it can even get started.
To fix this, take a hairdryer on a medium to low setting blow warm air onto the Water Inlet pipe until all the collected ice melts and drips out. Continue until no more water is dripping from the inlet pipe.
If you can’t spot the inlet pipe on the rear of the fridge/ice maker – blowing hot air into the ice maker itself CAN work. Ideally after it’s been powered off for a good while.
Remember to have an old towel, old rags or newspaper laid down to catch the water that comes out and avoid a mess!
If you don’t have a hairdryer to hand you can run warm water over and along the inlet pipe with a turkey baster or similar instrument until the ice has melted.
Frozen Water Lines
If the line that supplies water to the ice maker is getting frozen, this is a sign that the whole system is too cold or that the fridge itself is being exposed to outside temperatures that are too cold, and these situations will lead to over – freezing.
A low water flow will lead to the ice maker not being able to get cubes off the evaporator plate – these will eventually build up and cause a freeze up.
Fixing Frozen Water Lines
If you live in very cold temperatures and have your fridge placed outside or in a very cold part of the house – consider moving it to a warmer area to prevent environmentally caused freeze ups both to the fridge and the ice maker.
An H.V.A.C technician will be able to advise you on insulation if needed or placement options for your appliance to prevent these issues in future.
You may need to call a plumber in to fix supply problems with the water lines. If your water supply lines are regularly freezing up, they may need to be insulated to prevent this problem from reoccurring.
Electric ‘Eye’ (Sensor) Fault
Some ice makers have an electric ‘eye’ sensor that tells the ice maker when the ice cube holder on the door is full. On some models this looks like a red light source on one side and a sensor on the other side of the freezer.
When this light is interrupted or blocked the ice maker gets the message not to dump any more ice into the ice bin/container. Problems with this sensor system can cause a back – up or a lessening in the ice production.
Fixing Sensor Faults
If you’re lucky, there may just be something blocking the sensor. Potentially even some ice!
However, if there’s an issue with the electric ‘eye’ or the sensor system itself, this can be very costly to repair.
Our best advice is to contact the retailer or manufacturer of your appliance, and get several quotes from reputable technicians to have it repaired if it’s no longer under warranty.
If your appliance is an older model to begin with and you may be up to considering a complete replacement, compare prices and specials available on fridges in your area – you may spend less on a whole new fridge than you would repairing a sensor fault.
You Have a Dead Heating Element
This sounds contrary to natural law, but your ice maker actually has a heating element inside it. This heating element or heating coil is used to melt the surface of the ice cubes in the tray enough that they can be easily separated and ejected from the tray.
If the heating element is dead, then the ice maker will be blocked up with a build-up of ice (frozen up) and the ice maker won’t be able to push the frozen ice out of the trays.
Fixing A Dead Heating Element
If your heating element is completely dead, it’s often wise to do some research and work out the cost of parts for your model of refrigerator’s ice maker. Often replacing parts like a heating element can cost more to replace than having a new ice maker installed.
Discuss the issue with your appliance retailer or manufacturer, check your warranty status for the appliance, and then decide whether a repair is worthwhile.
Problems with the Freezer Cooling/Evaporator Coils
If cold air from the freezer cooling coils is circulating around parts that it shouldn’t be, ice maker water can freeze in the wrong place. You need that cold air to stay firmly within the freezer cooling coils and not escape!
Fixing Frozen Coils
Check the coils on the back of the fridge (particularly the bends) for splits, cracks, holes or bypasses. Feel for cold air circulating from the cold side of the coils into the water supply area of the ice maker.
If you find any damage, holes or rusted areas, clean the problem area gently with sand paper, and remove any dirt or debris entirely; particularly refrigerant oil.
Being careful not to push any debris into any existing holes.
If there’s no obvious patches you can cover, this is the time to call a professional. I’ve outlined the steps to checking and fixing this yourself, but you’ll need a vacuum pump and epoxy putty.
Remember, using a qualified and licensed H.V.A.C professional is essential to maintaining the warranty conditions on most appliances.
Connect a vacuum pump to the fridge’s refrigerant service valve, which is near the compressor. It looks like a really big valve that you would find on a car tire.
A hand held automotive vacuum pump will work great here.
Pull a vacuum with the vacuum pump, trying to create a vacuum of at least 10 inches of mercury. If there’s a big leak in the cooling coil, you may not be able to get this sort of vacuum reading at all. If you’ve patched an obvious leak in the coil, the vacuum will pull the patch into the leak, sealing it off more effectively.
Take a 1 inch piece of epoxy putty in your hands and knead it until it’s the same color and texture throughout. Once the putty looks uniform, press the putty over the leaking area, making sure to wrap the putty around the coil. The patch of putty should cover about ½ of an inch over the edges of the leak/hole. Remember the drying time for epoxy putty, you need to get it fully applied within 3 minutes of mixing it or it may harden up.
Go back to your vacuum gauge and pull 10 inches of mercury vacuum on the refrigerant system. Afterwards disconnect the vacuum pump.
After a day, check the vacuum reading again. There is still a leak somewhere if the vacuum reading has dropped. If this is the case check again for any obvious signs of damage or wear and repair these.
There you have it – 8 freezing causes with very different levels of complexity to fix.
I hope at least one of these fixes has given your ice maker a new lease on life. If it’s happened once it may happen again, so keep an eye out for that specific issue reoccuring.
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Thanks for reading. Now go enjoy a cold drink 😉