Ice Maker

About a year ago, my brother-in-law’s ice maker stopped making ice. Now, his refrigerator is a very expensive oversized model, which means very expensive oversized repair bills when something goes wrong. So, I thought I’d try to help.

Once I took a look at how the ice maker worked, I was astonished at how simple and fragile these things are. There is a plastic tray with a row of 8 pits the size and shape of ice cubes, a water line into one side, and a row of rotating fingers that corresponded to the ice cube tray. Basically, the row fills up with water, it freezes, and then the row of fingers rotates around and kicks out the finished ice cubes into the door bin where it’s then dispensed. The tray then refills with water and the process repeats. It makes 8 ice cubes at a time and is made of very flimsy plastic with little else. What had happened was the water channel through the bottom of the tray had frozen shut, limiting water flow from the end with the water line to the far end. This resulted in only 1 or 2 ice cubes being made at a time. Over time, the supply in the door ran out which resulted in us thinking the ice maker had broken. In reality, it was working fine; the water just wasn’t filling the whole tray.

My plan was simple – I turned off the ice maker, unplugged the electric and water lines, unbolted the unit from the freezer, and then ran it under hot water until all the ice blockages melted away. Then I dried everything completely and let the unit sit out for 15 minutes just to be sure. Once everything was dry for sure, I simply hooked all the lines back up and bolted the unit back into the freezer. Then we waited. Sure enough, now that the water flowed freely, the unit began making full batches of ice again, and we were back in business! Of course, it took a few days for production to catch up, but everything was working again.

The lesson here is that it’s not always necessary to call a repair guy right away. Sometimes simple laws of physics can help you determine the root cause of the problem, and some time and a couple simple hand tools are all you need to fix something. Of course, if you feel a repair is way over your head in terms of skill or experience, or you do not feel safe performing any repair, DO NOT HESITATE  TO CALL A QUALIFIED PROFESSIONAL! That’s what they’re there for – to keep us from breaking something we don’t know anything about or worse, hurting ourselves in the process.


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