What To Do When Your Icemaker Is Not Making Ice

You can fix your icemaker without calling a repairman. Read on to learn how.

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Time

Less than 30 minutes

Complexity

Beginner

Cost

Free

Introduction

It's frustrating when you push your glass against the ice dispenser in your refrigerator door and nothing happens.

In more than 30 years of appliance repair experience, I've seen just about everything that can go wrong with icemakers and dispensers. Here, I'll explain how to troubleshoot and fix the most common things that go wrong.

Project step-by-step (7)

Step 1

Listen First

  • When you push your glass against the ice dispenser, do you hear anything?
  • There should be a rumbling sound from the auger inside the ice bin as it turns. If there’s a rumble and no ice, it means there’s ice stuck in the chute in the door that needs to be cleared out. (I’ll show you how to do this below.)
  • If you hear a hum and no rumble, that means the auger is stuck and can’t spin. Emptying the bin and reloading the ice should fix it.
  • If there’s no noise at all, it means the dispenser switch is broken and you should call in a pro to replace it.
  • If you can hear the auger turning, nothing’s clogging the chute but there’s still no ice, it’s time to check the water supply.

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Step 2

Check Water Supply

  • Pushing your glass against the water dispenser should produce a nice stream of water. If not, the water supply might have been turned off. No water at the dispenser likely means no water to the icemaker.
  • Pull your refrigerator out from the wall so you can check behind it. Against the wall you should find a valve for the water line to your refrigerator.
  • Turn the valve counterclockwise as far as it will go to open the water supply. Note: Some valves turn only 90 degrees. On this type, turn it so the knob is in line with the water tube to your refrigerator.
  • If there’s still no water, you probably have a frozen line that needs to be thawed.

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Step 3

Check Temperature

  • Use a thermometer to check the temperature in the freezer. It should be 0 degrees.
  • If it’s minus-3 degrees or colder, the lines to your water dispenser and icemaker might be frozen. You’ll need to thaw them out.
  • Move the contents of your freezer to the refrigerator and unplug your refrigerator for eight hours, with the freezer door wide open. This will thaw all the ice buildup.
  • Put any ice you have in the refrigerator section and close the door to allow the food to stay cold while the freezer defrosts.
  • After that, plug the fridge back in, return the frozen food to the freezer and reset the freezer temperature to 0 degrees. 

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Step 4

Check for a Clogged Ice Chute

  • Open the refrigerator door with the ice dispenser and check the hole/chute where the ice travels. Often, pieces of ice warm inside the chute and fuse together, causing a clog.
  • Reach in from the top of the chute, pull out any ice and throw it in the sink.
  • Make sure the chute is completely clear.

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Step 5

Check for a Clogged Ice Bin

  • Open the freezer door and pull out the ice bin. You may need to press a plastic button to release it. Pull the bin toward you and set it on the counter.
  • You should see a round metal device that runs the length of bin. That’s the auger, and it needs to turn to advance the ice to the chute. Make sure there’s no ice caught in the auger preventing it from spinning.
  • Reach to the back of the compartment where the ice bin sits. Below the icemaker you’ll find a two-pronged metal fork that’s used to spin the auger.
  • Grab it with your hand and turn it clockwise or counterclockwise. There should be a fair amount of resistance, but it should turn. You should hear a mechanical whirling sound as you turn it.
  • If it won’t turn at all or turns easily, call a pro to fix the auger motor and gear box.
  • Make sure to push the ice bin all the way back in until it clicks. If it’s not all the way back, it can’t dispense ice.

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Step 6

Check the Control Arm of the Ice Maker

  • With the ice bin removed, inspect the metal wire control arm. As ice is made, this arm is pushed up to horizontal. As ice is used, the arm drops back down, telling the icemaker to make more ice.
  • Make sure your icemaker control arm isn’t caught in the up/horizontal position.
  • If it’s horizontal, gently bring it back to vertical.

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Step 7

Finishing Up

  • Reinstall the ice bin, making sure it’s locked in place.
  • Close the freezer door, then check later to see if the icemaker is functioning normally.
  • It may take up to 10 hours to create new ice. If there’s still no ice after that, call in a pro to check the dispenser switch, water solenoid and the icemaker itself. They may need replacement.

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