Ice Maker Troubleshooting

So you have a big party coming up tomorrow, but the ice maker is on the fritz again, and now you're kicking yourself for passing on that ice maker troubleshooting class at the adult learning center. Or, maybe you just don't want to pay the repair man for what should be a simple job. Luckily for you, ice makers usually need just an easy fix with the right tools.

To troubleshoot an ice maker, you may need some or all of these tools:

  • Needlenose pliers
  • Screwdrivers
  • Metallic Putty
  • Multimeter
  • Replacement parts from an appliance store
  1. Is it on at all? If your problem is that the ice maker doesn't seem to be functioning at all, the simplest test is to unplug the unit from the freezer. Attach one probe each onto the plug's prongs. Set the multimeter to RX10 and test. A reading of 1,000 ohms or less is good, while infinite means its shot and the power supply needs replacing.  
  2. Does it make too much ice? Check the shutoff arm and shutoff switch. If the arm is in the up and locked position and continues to make ice, you'll need to replace the control module. But first, test the shutoff switch. Unplug the refridgerator/freezer, remove any knobs, then pry the outer faceplate off with a screwdriver. If you see exposed gears and no holes, you have a component unit. If there are small holes marked with letters, its a modular unit. Modular units need to replace the control module. For component units, remove it from your freezer, starting with the mounting screws on the bottom. Once out, move the shutoff arm to the "on" position. Unscrew and remove the mounting plate. The shutoff switch will be the lever close to the side that the shutoff arm is mounted on. Unscrew the switch, and label the three wire's placement attached before detaching them. Remove the wires with needlenose pliers. Any corroded wires should be replaced. Test the switch with a multimeter set to X1, by touching one probe to a side terminal and the other any other terminal. The reading should be infinity or zero. Depress the switch and you should get the opposite reading. If it fails this test, it needs to be replaced.  
  3. Is the ice too small, not enough, or none at all? Check the shutoff arm and test switch. Next, check the freezer temprature, which should be around 5º F. Do this by placing a cup of alchohol or oil inside for two hours and using an oral thermometer to check the temprature. Check the water supply line, which runs into the back of the freezer, for pinches, leaks or blockages. Check the water supply valve behind the freezer or under the sink, and make sure it is completely open. Still busted? Pull out the ice maker and inspect the ejector gear, ejector motor, ice mold heater, thermostat, and inlet switch. 
  4. Discolored or funky tasting ice? Clean the tray and freezer. If the problem continues, remove and flush the water supply tube and inspect the filter screen where the tube connects. Clean or replace the screen if it is rusty or otherwise gross. 
  5. Is the unit leaking water? Check that the refrigerator and ice maker are level. If it's still leaking, remove the unit, open, and follow the water tube, which ends at the fill cup. Check this for proper alignment, and the tube for any leaks. Ice crystals indicate a leak.

 

 

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