Why Is Your Kenmore Ice Maker Not Working?

Fred's Appliance
July 8, 2024
Refrigerator Repair

If your Kenmore ice maker has suddenly stopped working, you’re probably wondering why and hoping there’s a way you can fix it. This article will help you get to the bottom of what’s gone wrong by explaining the most likely causes and providing actionable steps you can take to get it working again.

Don’t go through the summer without a refreshing supply of ice cubes. Instead, read on to learn why your Kenmore ice maker isn’t working and how you can fix it.

Why your Kenmore ice maker isn’t working

To answer as quickly as possible why your Kenmore ice maker isn’t working, it helps to check which of the following scenarios you’re in:

  1. Your ice maker is producing ice cubes but not dispensing them.
  2. Your ice maker isn’t producing any ice cubes.

You can check which problem you’re facing by locating your ice maker and looking in its ice bin. If there are lots of ice cubes inside the bin, you can be pretty confident that it’s still making ice but just not dispensing it. Alternatively, if there’s no or very little ice in the bin, then it’s likely having trouble with production rather than dispensing.   

First, we will look at the causes of a Kenmore ice maker producing ice cubes but not dispensing them. Feel free to skip ahead to the next section if your ice maker isn’t producing any ice.

Your Kenmore ice maker produces ice but doesn’t dispense it

Here are some things to check if your Kenmore ice maker is making ice but nothing is dispensing into your glass.

Clogged ice chute

Ice cubes pass through the ice chute when being dispensed into your glass. However, the shoot can sometimes get clogged, either by a few lodged ice cubes or a gradual buildup of ice fragments that freeze together. When this happens, no ice cubes can pass through.

You may be able to see whether the ice chute is blocked by kneeling and looking up into the chute or feeling inside it with your fingers. If you suspect it’s clogged, you can use a hair dryer on the lowest setting to gently defrost the blockage.

Ice cubes have fused together

If the ice cubes in the ice bin are all stuck together in a solid lump, this will make it impossible for your ice maker to dispense individual cubes. Sometimes this happens when there are temperature fluctuations in the freezer, causing the ice to partially melt and then refreeze in large clumps.

Fixing this is simple: discard the lumped-together ice and allow your ice maker to make a new batch.

Faulty component

If there’s an issue with the auger motor or ice dispenser switch, this could cause your ice maker to make ice but not dispense it.

The auger is the helical screw blade that sits in the ice bin. When its motor turns, it pushes ice toward the ice chute to be dispensed. When the motor is faulty, no ice will be dispensed. Here’s how to troubleshoot the auger motor:

  1. Attempt to dispense ice from your refrigerator and listen if you can hear the motor running. If you can’t, it may be faulty.
  2. Unplug the refrigerator for safety.
  3. Open the freezer door and remove the ice bin.
  4. Remove the ice maker assembly by removing the mounting screws and then disconnecting its wiring harness.
  5. Locate the auger motor on the ice maker assembly and remove it by unfastening its mounting screws and disconnecting its wiring harness.
  6. Test the auger motor with a multimeter for continuity to confirm it’s faulty.
  7. If faulty, order a replacement motor and install it following the product instruction or examples in the owner’s manual.
  8. Reinstall the ice maker assembly, plug the refrigerator back in, and test to see if the ice maker is now working.

Likewise, if the ice dispenser switch is faulty, nothing will happen when you press the lever to dispense ice or water. Here’s how to check and replace it:

  1. Unplug the refrigerator.
  2. Locate the ice dispenser switch. It’s usually behind the dispenser lever or inside the ice maker dispenser assembly. Its exact location will vary depending on your refrigerator model.
  3. Remove any screws holding the dispenser switch in place and disconnect its wires.
  4. Order a replacement dispenser switch and install it following the product instruction or examples in the owner’s manual.

Your Kenmore ice maker isn’t producing ice

Here are some things to check if your Kenmore ice maker isn’t making any or very little ice.

The freezer temperature is too high

The freezer must be about 0° F for the ice maker to function properly. Ice production will halt if the temperature is above 10° F. You can check the freezer’s temperature by placing a thermometer inside. If it’s not cold enough, here are the likely causes:

  • The temperature is set incorrectly.
  • The condenser coils are dirty and need cleaning.
  • The door gasket isn’t sealing properly, either because it’s dirty or damaged.
  • The air vents inside the freezer are being blocked by food items, preventing the circulation of cold air.
  • The freezer door isn’t shutting properly or is being opened too long or too often.

The ice maker is turned off

Ice makers on Kenmore refrigerators often have a switch or control arm that turns ice production on and off. Sometimes, they can be accidentally moved to the off position. Therefore, it’s worth checking if there’s a physical switch on the ice maker itself or if the ice maker’s control is stuck in the wrong position.

There’s a problem with the water supply

Without a steady supply of water, ice can’t be made. There are a few things that can go wrong and affect the water supply to your refrigerator. However, they’re all relatively easy to check.

First off, check that the water filter on your refrigerator isn’t due to be replaced. The water filter should be replaced every six months or so; otherwise, it can clog up and prevent water from passing through.

Next, you’ll want to pull your refrigerator away from the wall and inspect the water line behind it. Make sure the water line isn’t kinked, pinched, or clogged as this will restrict the water supply.

Next, check that the water supply valve, usually mounted on the wall behind the refrigerator or under the kitchen sink, is fully open rather than partially open or off.

Finally, check that the water pressure is 20 psi or above, as required for the ice maker to function properly. You can do this by turning off the water supply, disconnecting the water supply line from the refrigerator, attaching a pressure gauge to the end of the water supply line, and then turning the water supply back on to see the pressure reading.

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