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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 roll our sleeves up and solve this together.
Fixing A Frozen Ice Maker
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 the most complex. Following the tips one by one should give you the path of least resistance to figuring out (and fixing) the problem.
Before doing any repairs, 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!
If this keeps happening, it can be a symptom of a slowly dripping water valve / failed water inlet valve. Also, a failed heater on an icemaker can leave cracked pieces of cubes in the mold before filling with water. This causes the ice maker to overfill. Any of the above can cause cubes to become stuck and jam up the ice maker.
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.
Specifically, a frozen filter can stop or slow the water flow to an ice maker, and a filter that is dirty or clogged will slow down or negatively affect the amount and quality of ice that the ice maker will produce.
The slow water flow negatively affects the ice cube size because the valve will typically only stay on for about 7-8 seconds as it fills the ice cube mold. If the water is restricted – you’re not getting the appropriate amount of water during the 8-second fill cycle.
Handling A Troublesome Water Filter
To avoid any issues with your ice production, always change the water filter in your fridge twice a year.
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.
To fix this, take a hairdryer on a medium to low setting and blow warm air onto the Water Inlet tube until all the collected ice melts and drips out. Continue until no more water is dripping from the inlet tube.
If you can’t spot the inlet tube 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 tube 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 out of the ice maker mold – 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 freeze ups both to the fridge and the ice maker.
Unless a freezer/refrigerator is specifically designed as “garage ready”, often the manufacturer will specify that the appliance is designed to be used indoors at around 70-77F. Having the appliance in a colder ambient (i.e. outside) temperature can create issues with respect to freezing lines.
An appliance technician will be able to advise you on insulation if needed or placement options for your appliance to prevent these issues in future.
If freezing occurs with the incoming water supply to the appliance, you may need to call a plumber in to correct this. However, iIf your water supply lines are regularly freezing up at or after the water inlet correction point, the lines themselves may need to be insulated to prevent this from reoccurring.
Electric ‘Eye’ (Sensor) Fault
Some ice makers – mainly Whirlpool models – 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, power is cut to the ice maker. 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!
A common culprit is the board housing itself has a sliding door that, if closed, will block the sensors path. Sliding the door back to the ON position may be all that’s needed to fix this.
However, if there’s an issue with the electric ‘eye’ or the sensor system itself, this can be costly to repair. Thankfully, while OEM boards can cost hundreds of dollars, good aftermarket models work just as well for much cheaper.
If you’re not comfortable with repairing it yourself, 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.
Common symptoms or complaints with this particular failure is excessive noise from the ice maker. Often described as a loud bank or crack. This is due to the ice maker arms trying to force the frozen cube out of the mold. However, since the heater has failed, the cubes do not want to be ejected. The massive tension created from the ice maker ejection fingers eventually will crack the cube causing a loud pop – or worse, can break the ice maker itself.
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 coils gently to remove any dirt or debris entirely.
If you find any refrigerant oil on the coils, the refrigerator has a refrigerant leak and needs a professional to perform a sealed system repair. Often, this can cost more than a new residential refrigerator.
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 reoccurring.
If this content has helped you, please consider checking out the related articles below!
Thanks for reading. Now go enjoy a cold drink 😉