Ice Maker Repair: What Causes Ice Makers to Stop Working and How to Fix Them

Margaret Wack
Written by Margaret Wack
Updated October 12, 2022
Boy getting ice from refrigerator
Photo: 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 a great kitchen feature, especially on hot summer days when you need a cool drink. But like summer, ice makers don’t last forever. They’re prone to breaking down periodically and you may need to replace them sooner than the refrigerator. Here are some common issues that may need ice maker repairs and how to resolve them.

How to Troubleshoot Your Ice Maker

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

1. Leaking

If your ice maker is leaking, you should shut off the water to the ice maker until you resolve the issue. You should check the water valve for leaks, as water can seep from the fill tube extension. Ensure 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, it’s 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 ensure that it’s positioned correctly.

4. Frozen Ice Maker

While you want your ice maker to keep your 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. Broken Ejector Assembly 

If your ice maker is having trouble making and dropping ice cubes, there may be a problem with its ejector assembly. The first step to troubleshoot this issue is empty, clean, dry, and replace the ice bucket. Then, reset the ice maker by unplugging it or pressing a “reset” button. Check to ensure that the ejector paddle, the flap that allows ice out of the chute, isn’t blocked or clogged with ice. 

If the ice maker still doesn't work, the gears in the ejector assembly are likely broken, and you’ll need to replace it.

7. Clogged Ice Chute

A tricky problem that happens with ice makers is that ice freezes in the chute, causing a blockage. Use a non-scratching tool like a wooden spoon to manually clear out any ice or frost clogging the ice chute. Another option is to run warm water through the chute to melt any stuck bits. Put a folded hand towel in the ice ejector and slowly pour warm, not boiling, water into the chute with the door open.

8. 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

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

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

A typical ice maker costs between $300 and $450 to replace. Some of the factors that affect price include accessibility of the components and the brand.

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