How to Repair a Clogged Ice Maker


When your ice maker produces small or hollow cubes, it's a sign the unit isn't getting enough water. The cause could be a faulty thermostat or a bad water-inlet valve--problems you may want a professional to fix. Or if you're lucky, you may just have a clog in the water-supply system. You can handle that yourself following these steps.

Things You'll Need

  • Bucket
  • Adjustable Wrench
  • Replacement Parts
  • Screwdriver, or nut driver and socket

Dealing with a damaged water line

  • Pull the refrigerator out from the wall and unplug it.

  • Turn off the water-supply valve. The valve may be under the kitchen sink or connected to a cold-water pipe in your basement.

  • Inspect the water-supply line that runs to the refrigerator, looking for crimps or kinks.

  • Carefully straighten any problem areas you find, using just hand pressure. If you can't remove the crimps and kinks, replace the water line.

  • Disconnect the line from the refrigerator and from the water-supply valve, using an adjustable wrench.

  • Buy a replacement line at your appliance store and install it, tightening the connections firmly to prevent leaks.

Checking and replacing a water filter

  • Turn off the water, unplug the refrigerator and pull it away from the wall.

  • Locate the water filter, if your ice maker has one. It will look like a canister or cylinder and will be attached to the water-supply line.

  • Using the adjustable wrench, disconnect the end of the filter that runs to the refrigerator while leaving the other end of the filter attached to the water-supply line.

  • Hold the filter over a bucket and ask a helper to turn on the water-supply valve. If water flows freely, the filter is good. If water dribbles or doesn't flow at all, the filter needs to be replaced.

  • Turn off the water-supply valve and disconnect the filter from the water-supply line, using your adjustable wrench.

  • Buy a replacement filter at your appliance store and install it. Tighten the connections firmly to prevent leaks.

Cleaning a clogged inlet valve

  • Turn off the water, unplug the refrigerator and pull it away from the wall.

  • Remove the bottom access panel on the back of the refrigerator, using a screwdriver or a nut driver and socket.

  • Remove the water inlet valve using the nut driver and socket.

  • Disassemble the valve and clean the screen, using the tools and steps outlined in How to Fix a Dishwasher That Fills Slowly.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your ice maker itself is faulty, think twice before having it rebuilt. Often replacement parts are so expensive, you're better off buying a new unit.
  • Still have problems with your ice? Check the freezer temperature. It must be 5°F (-15°C) or colder for the ice maker to work properly.
  • To prevent possible electrical shock, always unplug your refrigerator before working on it.
  • Put carpet scraps or another soft material under the front legs before pulling your refrigerator away from the wall. Otherwise, the legs could damage the flooring.

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