What Causes Ice Makers To Stop Working and How To Fix Them

Margaret Wack
Written by Margaret Wack
Updated September 13, 2021
Boy getting ice from refrigerator
ferrantraite / E+ via Getty Images

Ice makers can stop working due to age, broken parts, or poor water pressure

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Ice makers are great to have, especially on hot summer days when you need a cool drink. But just like summer, ice makers don’t last forever. They’re prone to breaking down periodically and, oftentimes, need to be replaced before your refrigerator. Here are some common issues to look out for in regards to your ice maker and a few maintenance tips to get the most out of it.

Ice Maker Troubleshooting

Not sure why your ice maker isn’t working? Consider these common issues.

1. Leaking

If your ice maker is leaking, you should shut off the water to the ice maker until the issue is resolved. You should check the water valve for leaks, as water can seep from the fill tube extension. Make sure the water line fittings are secure by checking each connection along the water line and inspecting them for leaks.

2. Broken Water Valve

Another reason ice makers stop working is a broken water inlet valve, which supplies water to the ice maker. The valve needs 20 pounds of pressure per square inch to function. If the water inlet valve is getting power and has the correct pressure, the inlet valve is likely broken and you'll need to replace it. 

3. Control Arm Malfunction

Most ice makers have a control arm that switches the ice maker on and off. If you accidentally hit the control arm, you could turn your ice machine off without realizing it. Carefully check the control arm or level to make sure that it’s positioned correctly.

4. Frozen Ice Maker

While you want your ice maker to keep your frozen ice cold, you don’t want it to be so cold that it freezes the water before it even makes it to the ice mold. Check your manufacturer’s directions to make sure that the ice maker is set at the correct temperature and isn’t too cold.

5. Old Water Filter

When’s the last time you changed the filter on your ice maker? It’s a routine maintenance task that can easily slip your mind, but it can cause your ice maker to malfunction if it’s been too long. Check on the status of your water filter and change it out if necessary to see if that impacts your ice maker’s functioning.

6. Internal Issues

Sometimes, a part or component of the ice maker itself will break down. In these cases, you’ll most likely have to replace your ice maker. Because few manufacturers make separate parts for ice makers, most repairs involve replacing the entire ice maker assembly.

Before you give up and purchase a new machine, though, it’s still a good idea to ask for a second opinion from a professional. An ice machine repair technician near you can inspect your ice maker, diagnose any issues, and recommend next steps.

How To Maintain Your Ice Maker

If you don’t use your ice maker very often, you can turn it off simply by positioning the arm into the upright position. Higher-end models may require you to push buttons on the control panel to shut it off. This can help to prolong the lifespan of your ice maker and make sure that it lasts as long as possible.

Water quality is also important when it comes to how well an ice maker works, so it’s a good idea to make sure the water is filtered. If you have a water filtration system, you should replace the water filter every six months. You should also make sure the freezer is cold enough. If it's not cold enough, the ice maker will not function properly because it's temperature sensitive.

Finally, you should make sure that your freezer and fridge are in good shape, since they can often affect the performance of your ice maker. Make sure to regularly clean your freezer and fridge and check the temperature settings to make sure everything is working like it’s supposed to.

Ice Maker FAQs

Automatic ice maker in refrigerator
JazzIRT / iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

How much does an ice maker cost to replace?

A typical ice maker costs between $200 and $250 to replace. Some of the factors that affect price include accessibility of the components and the brand.

How long do ice makers last?

Ice makers generally last about 3 to 10 years, with their durability depending greatly on water quality and how often it's used.

How much does it cost to install a water line for an ice maker?

If you want to install an ice maker in a new location, you’ll need to hook it up to a water line. Installing a water line for an ice maker typically costs $200 or more.

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