If your ice machine is suddenly silent with none of its usual rumblings or you notice that the levels of ice in your tray is getting lower and lower, something in your ice machine isn’t working right. One of the most common problems is a broken connection point that stops ice from breaking free of the machine and landing in your tray, which signals the machine to keep making new ice.
How to Troubleshoot Your Whirlpool Ice Maker for Common Problems and Repairs:
- Is the connection to the heating element broken? Ice machines work by pouring chilled water through the inlet valve into the machine, and the water starts to freeze in the pan. Depending on the precise model of ice machine you have, it will either sense when the ice is frozen or operate on a timer; when the ice is considered complete by either mechanism, the floor of the ice machine will start to warm up through a heating element just enough of the tines of your machine to push the cubes free into the waiting tray. The two most common ways the heating element can start to break down and not function as well is if mechanisms within it freeze over or if water gets inside to the electrical components of the motor and heating element. Check over the heating element and any moving parts for bits of ice you can carefully chip away to free those parts of the machine; you can also remove the ice machine from the freezer for a more thorough investigation, and some of the icy obstructions will start to melt away. If it doesn’t look like unwanted ice is preventing the heating element from turning on, dismantle and inspect the heating element. Be sure to unplug the refrigerator prior to working on it. If the metal is corroded and starting to break down, water is probably getting in through one of the connection points. If you see rust carefully sand it away and solder on a copper contact point to ensure a new, strong connection.
- Is the inlet valve hose frozen over? Look for a tub above your ice machine that pours water into the machine; you can find it in the corner of your freezer. If the hose is full of frozen water, this forms an obstruction that prevents water from falling into your ice machine. Because it’s typically made of pliable material, all you have to do is squeeze the hose to break off or loosen any ice without detaching it from the valve.
If you think your Whirlpool ice machine might be suffering from a couple of different maladies, try the easiest solutions first that require the least amount of dismantling. This makes troubleshooting less of a potential headache but also lets you pick up on trends in how your ice machine malfunctions if it frequently stops working. Once you can isolate the core problem, you can decide if a part needs to be replaced, if you would rather replace the whole machine, or if it’s simple enough to regularly maintain. At the point at which you have to dismantle the entire machine and inspect it outside of the freezer, make a list of any damage you see so you can systemically diagnose the problem. With ice machines, you often have to wait between each adjustment so the machine can try to complete a test cycle and testing for some of the most common defects can take all day or even a couple of dedicated sessions.
If your ice machine needs more than a soldered connection point to kickstart the heating element and it’s not just a frozen inlet hose blocking up your machine, be sure to contact Fred’s Appliance for more advice about how to fix your specific appliance.