Does Your Ice Maker Keep Saying Add Water? Here’s Why


Having a full ice maker that keeps telling you to add water would drive anyone crazy. I did some deep research on what causes the problem and I want to save anyone from losing their minds over this.

Below you’ll find all the common causes and solutions for an add water light that wants to party all night.

If that sounds good, then let’s dive right in!

Fixing an Ice Maker That Keeps Saying “Add Water”

Most automatic ice makers have a sensor in them that can read the water levels inside your machine. When the water isn’t filling up the reservoir correctly, the sensor triggers the light on the front door.

Even if your reservoir is actually full, your sensor may not be able to function correctly. There could be some debris or calcium/mineral buildup of some kind on the sensor itself, causing a misreading.

To fix this, use the following steps:

  1. Open your ice maker reservoir
  2. Dampen a towel
  3. Clean the water sensor
  4. Check back in two hours
Open ice maker
Step One: Open your ice maker reservoir

Once you clean the water sensor, check the front door of the freezer to see if the add water light turns off.

If it does, check back on your freezer in a couple of hours to make sure everything is working perfectly.

If it doesn’t work, then you’ll have to check one of the other reasons your ice maker add water light is on even though there is plenty of water.

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Other Reasons Your Add Water Light Is On

If your machine has plenty of water and you’ve cleaned out your sensors, your water may actually be too pure for the machine or the appliance could have an electrical issue.

Your Water Is Too Pure

Some machines, but not all, have a sensor that reads the minerality in the water. All water has minerality but our filters can remove some if not all of the minerality in the water.

When your water is too pure and it feeds into the ice maker reservoir, the sensor won’t be able to tell there is water inside.

Your easiest option to fix the problem is trying to add a pinch of salt to the water. You don’t want to affect the taste, just add enough so that it is dispersed in the water and the sensor can read it.

Of course, this wouldn’t be the best long-term solution to have to add salt to your ice maker reservoir every time you want it to make ice. You may have to add a pH balancing filter to your water system to be able to automatically add the minerals back in.

This would be a much larger financial investment but it would also be a better long-term solution.

Be careful not to add too many minerals back into your water system because they could cause a blockage in your pipes and water pump system.

Water and salt
Adding a pinch of salt to your water reservoir allows the sensor to detect the water

The Circuit Is Bad

Another reason your ice maker could be telling you to add more water even though it’s full is that the circuitry inside the machine needs to be fixed.

This is not the best news when you have a problem with the motherboard. If something gets fried inside your freezer it may not be fixable at all.

You’ll have to consult a professional to find the exact problem and see if your issue can be remedied. If not, you may be looking to replace the entire ice maker in your freezer.

If you want to get any replacement part – or see how much one would cost – click to enter your model number in the search bar below. Our partners at AppliancePartsPros stock almost every part with free guides on how to install them.

Why Does My Ice Maker Not Fill With Water?

Your ice maker could be telling you to constantly add water because there’s no water getting to the reservoir. There are three main reasons why an ice maker won’t fill up with water.

  1. Clogged water line or water pump
  2. The filter needs replacing or a cleaning
  3. There’s a leak in your hose

The most common issue when an ice maker won’t fill with water is a clogged pump or pipe in your system.

Check the water line that leads to your ice machine and make sure there is no debris or other materials inside that is clogging the line.

If you have very hard water in your home the minerals could be collecting in specific places and causing the issue.

Once you’ve checked for clogs, take a look at your water filter inside the machine.

A clogged filter or no filter at all will cause your machine not to fill up with water. The filter should be replaced every six months or so.

Replace, or clean, the filter and put it back in the machine to see if that solves the issue.

Another issue could be with leaks around your water hoses. The leaks could be keeping the water from reaching the actual reservoir.

Move your refrigerator from the wall so you can get to the back of the unit. Move your hands along the waterline and see if you feel any condensation or water forming in specific areas.

If you do find a leak, you should replace the hose completely instead of using tape to fix the issue. Over time, the tape will come undone and the constant wear and tear could cause the leak to become a big hole.

How Do I Unclog My Ice Maker Water Line?

If you notice a clog in your water line that’s causing your ice maker to keep telling you to add water to your machine, you can clean it pretty easily.

First, turn off the water that is heading into the refrigerator hose. You wouldn’t want to remove the hose and have an endless amount of water leaking into the floor of your kitchen.

You should be able to remove the hose from the refrigerator and the wall of your home pretty easily.

You can use a clothes hanger or something similar to unclog the line, except it might make a tear in the hose itself.

Push out the clog the best you can and then run some water through your hose to make sure it’s completely unclogged before reattaching.

How Do I Reset My Ice Maker?

If you’ve tried everything above but still can’t get your add water light to go away, you may need to reset the machine. The light may have just gotten stuck and you need to reset the whole machine.

Every refrigerator is slightly different, so how you reset your ice maker will change depending on the brand you have. Consult the manual to make sure you are using the right method.

Some refrigerators have a reset button that makes the process easy. Others need a complicated procedure where you move different pieces in a specific amount of time to reset the machine.

Once you reset the machine, all your lights should be off and the ice maker should function like normal. If the light stays on despite all your hard effort, it’s time to call a professional.

Reach out to your local repair person and have them take a look, you’ve done all you can.

Ice Maker Still Saying Add Water?

If the tips above haven’t helped – don’t worry. There are other quick fixes you can try.

We’re fortunate enough to have a lot of readers on our website, but unfortunately, I can’t answer everyone’s questions personally. To help, we’ve teamed up with JustAnswer to connect you to a qualified Appliance expert.

You can connect with an appliance expert below, who will help you solve your specific issue. They do charge a small trial fee, so just remember to cancel the trial once you get your ice maker working again.

I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more