How to Repair an Ice Maker that is Not Making Ice

Fred's Appliance
January 15, 2021
Refrigerator Repair

It seems that no matter how hard you plan, no matter how hard you try to have enough free time to entertain family and friends, no matter how hard you work at living life effortlessly and efficiently, obstruction and opposition seem to be a way of life for all of us. Do you consider the problems life hands you on occasion to be an inconvenience or an opportunity?

You ran a Google search on “ice maker needs repair” and you are presented with a philosophical paragraph about turning your problems into opportunities.

You may have guests coming over in a few hours to relax and enjoy a few ice-cold beverages – but your ice maker is on the blink. No, in fact, it is not even blinking. It is doing nothing but sitting in your freezer, possibly thinking the ice bucket is full or wondering when the next supply of ice will drop.

Did you know that refrigerators combined with an ice maker either break down or need repair 50% more often than those that don’t? Does that mean that consumers should own a refrigerator and a portable ice making machine? It would all depend on whether owning another appliance would clutter up your kitchen. It may depend on simply if that is what you want.

Before you buy a new refrigerator and/or a portable ice maker let’s see if we can get the defective ice maker working again.


Before beginning this repair or any other repair on an electrical appliance, ensure that your refrigerator has been unplugged from its power source. Please turn off the water also. If the water was already shut down, you may have discovered your problem.

Quick and Easy Things to Consider

  • This may seem so obvious that it almost seems ridiculous to consider. Is the ice maker turned on? It’s possible that the machine was turned off to save water or reduce the noise of making ice cubes. However, you may discover that the machine is turned on and is still not making ice cubes. What about the water? Was the water on or off when you began this troubleshooter?
  • Sometimes a sheet of ice will form on the lower portion of the refrigerator cabin or at the bottom of the freezer and begin to melt causing a puddle to form that will eventually make its way to the kitchen floor. Perhaps someone in the household saw this leak and shut the water off not realizing the effect this would cause on the ice maker’s ability to make ice cubes.
  • Turning off the water won’t repair a leak, but how will you know where the water is leaking if it is shut off?
  • Check the ice level indicator and ensure it is not stuck in an open position.
  • If the switch for the level indicator is broken the ice maker will think there are enough cubes and won’t make any more even if the ice bucket is empty.
  • In most cases, when the level indicator is broken, the solution is to replace the ice maker.

Clogged Water Line

  • Most of the time when ice cubes are misshapen or missing it is symptomatic of a clogged water line. Sometimes, through a lack of use ice crystals will form in such a way as to block the water flow to the dispenser.
  • If you see a thin layer of ice covering the bottom of the freezer, the water line has a leak in it and should be replaced.
  • When the freezer defrosts heater turns on, the refrigerator drain pan will overflow and produce a puddle of water on the floor.
  • Eventually, this could cause the ice maker to become shrouded in ice and the electronics could short out.
  • Even if you take the time to thaw out the freezer and ice maker, it is probably too late and you will need to replace the ice maker.

You Need Water to Make Ice

Again, stating the obvious. However, if you determine that the ice maker is working but still not producing ice cubes, and you can hear the water inlet valve turning on, but, still yet, no water is making it to the ice tray, then you have a water problem. As mentioned in the previous section, either the water line is clogged with ice crystals beginning to form or there is a problem with the valve.

Depending on your model, the water inlet valve is located near the bottom of the rear of the refrigerator or it may be located behind access panels found to the rear of the inside of the refrigerator as discussed in this video.

Over time and use the water inlet valve will collect debris in the inner chambers slowing down the water flow. It is inadvisable and counterproductive to attempt to clean this part. It is an inexpensive part to replace and if you try to clean the inner chambers and continue to use the same valve, eventually you’re going to be faced with the same problem you’re now trying to repair. So spend a few bucks and replace the valve.

Rusty Colored Ice Cubes

If your ice maker is making red or orange ice cubes, this is a strong indication that something is rusting out and polluting your water. This is a relatively easy and inexpensive repair to fix. Simply replace the water filters.

If after you replace the water filters and you’re still seeing colored ice cubes, try defrosting the water line if you haven’t done so yet.

The Perfect Ice Cube

If your refrigerator does not come equipped with an ice maker, here’s how to make the perfect ice cube for every drink.

  • Boil the water before freezing it. This removes trapped gases which can cause cloudiness in the center of the ice cube
  • Start with distilled water but boil it first.
  • Boiling distilled water makes great looking ice cubes but more than that, it creates a denser and therefore a slower-melting ice cube.
  • Carefully pour your boiled distilled water into whatever shape or mold of your choice. After the water turns into a cube, remove the cubes and store them in freezer bags. This will ensure the ice retains its freshness and also keeps it from shrinking.

Reach out to us if you have trouble with this or any other appliance repair. 

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