Ice Maker Not Working? Here’s How to Fix It

By Terry Mehilos | Feb. 19, 2024 1:55 am PST

ice maker troubleshooting and tips

Revised February 19, 2024

When your ice maker isn’t working, a simple fix might get it going again. Always unplug your refrigerator and turn the water supply line off before troubleshooting.

An ice maker can stop working for a variety of reasons. Ice makers receive water through a small water supply line that runs from the refrigerator to a water pipe, funnel, or a water filter.

Common Ice Maker Problems

Several problems can interfere with making ice properly or dispensing ice. The ice maker or dispenser could be jammed or broken, a dirty water filter or kinked water line could be blocking water flow or the water inlet valve could be clogged or faulty.

Here are the most common ice maker problems.

Blocked Dispenser

You won’t get any ice through the dispenser in your fridge door when ice cubes are jammed up in the chute. When you press the ice dispenser lever and no ice drops, check the dispenser chute for a clog.

Clearing the clog could fix the ice supply problem.

Clogged Water Filter

Sediment can eventually build up in water filter when you don’t change it every 6 months to a year. Eventually, the sediment in an unchanged water filter can restrict water flow going to the ice maker.

Replace the fridge water filter every 6 months or yearly according to the guidelines for your refrigerator. This will prevent a clogged water filter from preventing the ice maker from getting water.

Thermostat Set Too Low

When the thermostat for the freezer is set too low, the ice maker module may not detect that ice cubes are frozen. The ice maker won’t cycle and produce ice if temperature isn’t low enough in the freezer.

If the thermostat is set to keep the freezer at too low of a temperature, then the water supply line going to the ice maker can freeze and the ice maker mold won’t fill with water.

In either case, an improper freezer temperature setting can prevent ice production. Set freezer temperature at 0 degrees F to prevent ice maker problems.

Water Line Problems

As noted above, the ice maker mold won’t fill with water when its water line freezes. When you hear the ice maker cycling but it doesn’t produce any ice, check for a frozen fill tube in the freezer or ice maker compartment. Defrost the frozen water line and the ice maker will likely start working.

Water Valve Issues

A broken water valve won’t open to fill the ice maker mold with water to produce ice. Also, a leaky water valve will cause the ice maker to overfill and the ice maker will likely jam when attempting to eject ice cubes. A leaky water valve can also cause the water fill line to freeze. Replace the water valve when it doesn’t open or shut properly.

Ice Tastes Funny

Bad tasting ice can be caused by caused by the ice cubes absorbing odors and taste from food. Dump the ice in the ice storage bin and let the ice maker fill the bin with fresh ice. This may fix the problem with funny-tasting ice.

An old water filter can also allow contaminants in your home’s water supply to cause the ice to taste bad. Replace the fridge water filter regularly to supply the ice maker with purified water.

Eventually, the non-stick coating inside the ice mold can deteriorate and wind up invading the ice cubes. Check the ice mold and replace the ice maker module if the non-stick coating has deteriorated.

How to Fix a Refrigerator Ice Maker

Sometimes, you can fix ice maker problems by resetting the ice maker module.

How do I Reset my Ice Maker?

You can reset the ice maker in many refrigerators by simply turning it off for a minute and then turning it back on. Refer to your fridge owner’s manual for instructions on turning off the ice maker in your model.

To reset the ice maker in some models, you’ll need to run a test cycle. You can often do that by pressing and holding the ice cube size adjustment button for 10 seconds. Some ice makers have a separate test button that you press and hold to run a test cycle and reset the ice maker.

Sometimes, you’ll need to unplug the entire refrigerator for 1 minute and then plug it back in to reset all the controls including the ice maker control board.

Check for DIY information on the web if none of these tips help you reset the ice maker in your fridge.

How to fix my fridge ice maker that won’t fill with water?

Check refrigerator control settings to make sure the ice maker is turned on. Sometimes a DIY fix is as simple as fixing a control setting.

If the ice maker is turned on, check these issues that may be preventing the ice maker from filling.

Water supply problems

Most refrigerators with ice makers also have a water dispenser. So, you can make sure the refrigerator water supply is okay by dispensing some water.

If you get no water from the water dispenser or your fridge doesn’t have a water dispenser, check the water supply going to your fridge.

Make sure that the refrigerator water supply cut-off valve is open. If it’s shut, open the cut-off valve to restore the water supply to the fridge and ice maker.

If you found the water supply cut-off valve open, check for water flow coming from the water supply line going to your refrigerator. Shut off the water valve and disconnect the water line from the back of the fridge. Place the end of water line in a bucket and briefly open the cut-off valve. If water flows from the end of the water supply line, then you know that your fridge is getting water through the water line.

If you see no water coming the refrigerator water supply line, have a plumber fix the water supply going to your fridge.

When you know that your fridge is getting water through the supply line because the water dispenser works, one of the following problems could be preventing the ice maker from filling.

Frozen fill tube

The #1 cause of ice maker fill problems involves the freezing of water in the fill tube for the ice maker. Defrosting that fill tube typically fixes an ice maker fill problem. To do that, you can use one of these tactics:

  • Squeeze the fill tube to break up the ice clog. If you can easily reach the ice maker fill tube and it’s made of flexible plastic, squeeze the fill tube with your fingers to break up the ice plug. You may feel the ice crunching as you squeeze the tube. If you’re able to break up the ice, then the ice maker may work properly.

  • Use a hair dryer to defrost the ice maker fill tube. When you can easily access the fill tube, blow a hair dryer on the fill tube. Use the low heat setting on the hair dryer to avoid melting or damaging any ice maker or refrigerator components. The ice maker may fill properly after you defrost the fill tube in this manner.

  • Turn the ice maker off for a day. For some French door fridges, turning the ice maker off for 24 hours may allow the fill tube to defrost without even touching it. If the ice maker resumes production after you turn it back on, then you’ve fixed the problem.

As a last resort, you could defrost a frozen ice maker fill tube by safely storing food and unplugging the refrigerator for 8 hours. After restoring power, the ice maker should fill with water because the freeze plug in the ice maker fill tube will be gone.

When the fill tube continues to freezer in your refrigerator, there’s a possibility that you’ll need to schedule a repair appointment to get the problem permanently fixed.

How to fix a refrigerator ice maker that won’t cycle

When your ice maker seems to be completely dead, you may be able to fix the problem by rebooting the electronic control boards that govern the ice maker. Unplug the refrigerator or shut off the house circuit breaker for the fridge. Wait 5 minutes then restore power and see if ice production resumes. Although this trick doesn’t always work, it’s a simple fix that easy to try.

You may also be able to reset the ice maker by turning it off for 5 minutes using the control described in your owner’s manual then turning the ice maker back on.

If that doesn’t fix the problem, then you can try to reset the ice maker as described above.

Why won’t my ice maker produce enough ice?

Low ice production can be caused by an intermittent freezing of the fill tube. If you check the fill tube and it’s frozen up, follow the steps in the above section for troubleshooting a frozen fill tube.

A problem with the freezer temperature or the freezer temperature setting can also cause low ice production. Check the freezer temperature and adjust it to 0-degrees if it isn’t already at that setting.

If the freezer is set to 0-degrees, you can try adjusting the temperature to -1-degrees to increase ice production.

If that doesn’t help, then check door gaskets and other causes that may be preventing the freezer (and the ice compartment in French door models) from cooling properly.

Our Troubleshooting “Not Cooling” Problems YouTube video describes how to resolve low temperature issues in common types of refrigerators. Find and fix the problems causing high freezer temperatures with the help of this video and you’ll likely restore ice production to normal levels in your fridge.

Let the Experts at Sears Home Services Fix Your Ice Maker

When you’re unable to troubleshoot and fix your ice maker on your own, schedule service and let a Sears Technician fix your ice maker.

Sears Home Services is a nationwide leader in refrigerator repair with over 2,500+ local appliance service technicians available across the US that are highly skilled and trained to fix your ice maker.

Our technicians have completed over a million refrigerator repairs in the past year. We’re your best, most-trusted choice for ice maker repairs, no matter what brand of fridge you have.

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