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Refrigerator Ice Maker Tips and Tricks to Keep it Running Longer

You Are Here:   Home > Automatic Appliance Parts Blog > Refrigerator Ice Maker Tips and Tricks to Keep it Running Longer

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Ice-cubes. by rawdonfox is licensed with CC BY 2.0

Homeowners often don't think about the appliances they use every day unless there’s an issue with performance or an appliance stops working. Your automatic ice maker will perform better and last longer with regular maintenance. Our Automatic Appliance Parts Corporation team shares how you can keep your ice maker in top condition and maximize its efficiency.

Clean Your Ice Maker Regularly

Dirt and other contaminants, such as bacteria, can make the ice taste or smell harmful and unsafe. Ice cubes may also vary in size if contaminants build up in the ice maker. Ice makers may work slower, and parts could wear out faster without regular cleaning. You should clean your ice maker twice a year or more frequently if you have hard water.

Some ice cube maker manufacturers make their own sanitizers, while others recommend using a dilute bleach solution and flushing with water. Warm water and dish soap or vinegar may work fine as well. If you use vinegar, you should avoid spilling it on stainless steel. Specialty cleaners may help tackle hard water and mineral buildup issues. Follow a few basic steps to keep your ice cube maker clean:

  • Clean out the fridge, freezer compartments, and surrounding areas since air circulates from the refrigerator to the freezer.
  • Unplug the fridge when you're ready to focus on the ice maker. This process doesn't take long, so food shouldn't need to be moved to a cooler.
  • Clean removable parts such as the ice bin, following the owner's manual for specific details. You should also clean the dispenser chute by following the manual.
  • Using warm water and your choice of cleaning product, use a clean washcloth to clean the interior of the ice maker. Rinse with plain water and wipe the surfaces dry.
  • If needed, descale and remove any mineral buildup. Calcium deposits, known as scale, can be an issue if your ice maker doesn’t have a reverse osmosis system.
  • Reassemble the components and run a few batches of fresh ice, discarding the first two or three batches to eliminate old ice.

Add or Replace an Ice Maker Filter

Adding a new filter or replacing an old inline water filter enhances the taste and reduces contaminants. Refrigerators may have their own filters as well as an indicator light when you need to replace the filter. You should usually replace filters at six-month intervals, but some may last three months or up to a year.

Most filters contain activated charcoal that removes impurities. You could also add specialized inline filters to handle issues such as bad-tasting or smelling water.

Fix Jams in the Ice Maker

Ice dispenser chutes may jam or slow down due to a buildup of ice particles and melting ice that re-freezes. Check the ice bin for stuck cubes and clean the ice chute, drying everything thoroughly. Cubes may fuse together in ice cube makers that you don’t use often. Emptying the bin weekly will help keep a fresh supply of ice on hand.

Read Up on Your Fridge

If you're in the market for a new refrigerator, you should research the market and choose the one with the best ice maker. If you already have a refrigerator with an ice maker, check the owner's manual for its specific needs to ensure top performance. Manuals should also have instructions on removing ice chutes, ice bins, and other parts that need cleaning. The owner's manual will have a troubleshooting guide to help you spot issues in a way that's specific to your model.

How to Shut Down the Ice Maker

Turning the ice maker off will extend its life if you're not using it or are away from home. Most ice makers have a power switch. Turning the ice cube maker off can also help defrost and clear blockages. Thorough defrosting may require leaving the refrigerator unplugged for an extended time.

Troubleshoot Issues With Your Ice Maker on Your Refrigerator

Check the owner's manual for specific troubleshooting tips if your ice maker has a performance issue or you suspect something isn't right. Check out potential problems before they become safety issues or damaged components. Before investigating the ice maker, you should unplug the refrigerator and turn off the water supply. While checking the troubleshooting guide specific to your ice maker model is essential, below are some general guidelines:

  • Water supply issues such as a blocked or kinked line, a bad water inlet valve, or a bulging line will likely require professional repair. Look for visible signs of damage or leaks.
  • Clogged filters may cause poor performance or stop the water supply to the ice maker.
  • Water lines may become blocked or partially blocked, requiring careful thawing with a hair dryer.
  • Check the thermostat to ensure it's not set too low, which will shorten its life. Temperatures that are too high will slow down the ice cube maker. If you suspect the thermostat isn't accurate, you may need to replace it.
  • Check that the control arm is in place and that the ice maker's power is on.
  • Watch for leaks, ensuring the ice maker is level and the water line isn't leaking. Slow leaks can cause damage and can be hard to spot.
  • Ensure the refrigerator and freezer door seals aren't cracked or damaged since bad seals will lead to bad performance and poor energy efficiency.

How Does an Ice Cube Maker Work?

Ice cube makers have a few common components that make them function. Knowing the parts and what they do will help you troubleshoot issues. The water reaches the ice maker through a tube from the back of the freezer to the ice maker, which has a valve to control the water flow. A small thermostat on the ice cube trays detects when ice cubes are frozen. A small heater on the bottom of the tray loosens cubes for dispensing. Then the sweeper's arms dispense ice to the chute or tray.

Contact an Appliance Pro

Automatic Appliance Parts Corporation specializes in quality appliance parts and supplies for all major brands. If you have ice cube maker issues, our professional team can help you or your service technician find the perfect parts. We also have parts for water heaters, washing machines, air conditioners, and other appliances. Contact us for the parts you need and experience our fast and friendly service.