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5 Things to Try When Your Refrigerator’s Ice Maker Isn’t Working

In a state such as California, where the summer months can conjure obnoxious heat waves from within the atmosphere, placing strain on plants, animals, and humans alike, momentary jolts of refreshments become ever more important for both the body and the psyche. One of the simplest ways to obtain such rejuvenating refreshment is through the simple addition of ice to normal drinking water.

This fact presents an occasional problem, however, as it becomes rather difficult to take advantage of the unique branch of human ingenuity known as ice production when one’s ice maker is not working properly. Without a functional ice maker, how is one to harness part of the freezing powers of mother nature to make ice?

Well, the answer is simply that you can’t. But fear not! There are steps and processes one can follow in order to help return their refrigerator’s ice maker to proper working order.

An ice maker tray properly filled by a functional ice maker.
An example of a working ice maker

1: Check if the Water Filter is Properly Installed

The first thing you should check is the part of the fridge thar processes water to be dispensed into the ice maker. If your refrigerator’s water filter is improperly installed, water will be unable to flow through the unit into the ice maker, and therefore no ice cubes will be made for you to enjoy.

Where Is My Filter?

Refrigerator filters can most often be found hiding in one of two places: within the grille at the base of the fridge, or in the upper-right or left-hand corner of the fridge section’ interior. Refrigerator filters are almost always cylindrical in shape, so keep that in mind when looking for any parts jutting out that could possibly house your water filter.

To check if your fridge’s water filter needs to be replaced:

1.   Check the rate of water dispensing with the filter connected.

     A measuring cup could prove useful in this instance, as it would allow easy measurements of volume to go along with the measurements of time.

     Utilizing a stopwatch and a measuring cup, time how long it takes to fill up four cups of water from the dispenser.

2.   Remove the filter.

     See above information for where your filter may be located.

3.   Check the rate of water dispensing with the filter removed.

     If the time it takes to fill up a four-cup measurement dramatically lowers, then the filter is not working
properly, and should be replaced.

     If the rate of flow remains relatively consistent, then you may want to check elsewhere.

4.   Change the filter if needed.

     Make sure the filter is inserted correctly!.

2: Replace the Filter Regularly

Regular checking and routine maintenance are keys to ensuring that your refrigerator’s water supply will remain in prime working order, and via association, the ice your refrigerator makes will be helped immensely as well. Now that you know how to check a water filter, it’s time for you to learn how to replace one.

To replace a refrigerator’s water filter:

1.   Purchase a new filter.

     This is perhaps the single most important step of the entire process.

2.   Turn off the water supply to your fridge.

     If you do not, this job is likely going to become a rather soggy ordeal.

3.   Remove the old filter.

     For information on where your filter may be located, read the previous section titled “Where Is My Filter?”.

     Dispose of the old filter however you wish, as its services will no longer be required.

4.   Insert the new filter.

     Similarly to a battery, a water filter has two distinctive ends that must be oriented correctly in order for the filter to be inserted.

     Water filters also tend to need to be twisted clockwise a bit within their housing in order to fully lock into place. You’ll know your water filter is properly connected when you hear a brief rush of water flowing into the filter itself.

     We recommend running a few pitchers of water through the new filter before consuming any water dispensed, so as to rid the filter of any manufacturing impurities that remain within.

3: Clean the Ice Maker

If your filter proves to be as loyal as ever, then the problem may lie elsewhere. After the source is thoroughly assessed, it is often the case that the route to the location of the action is checked. Unfortunately, as the machinery that leads water into the ice maker are buried far too deeply within a refrigerator to do that, the next best action would be to check the ice maker itself. As for this process, cleaning the ice maker would be a good place to start.

What Part of the Ice Maker Do You Clean?

Try not to clean the chute through which newly-created ice flows into the actual bin. The actual collection bin is the part that should actually be cleaned.

To clean your ice maker, simply:

1.  Turn off your ice maker.

    Your refrigerator should have some sort of functionality that allows you to shut off its production of ice at your leisure.

2.  Set aside all the ice from the tray.

     It would be quite difficult to clean a full ice tray, wouldn’t it?

     If possible, try to set aside the collected ice in another part of the freezer.

3.  Clean the ice tray.

     Try to avoid using any cleaning solutions that you wouldn’t normally feel comfortable getting near anything you’d eat or drink.

      Don’t forget to place the previously-removed ice cubes back into the tray afterward!

Be sure to turn off your ice maker before cleaning it!

4: Check the Ice Maker for Jams

And we don’t mean the kind you put on toast. The ones we’re referring to are more akin to traffic jams, but for frozen water. Fortunately, checking for them is fairly simple. 

To check for ice cube jams, simply:

1.    Open the freezer.

2.    Look up the chute.

      This is where new ice travels through to end up in the collection tub.

      It’s likely a good idea to turn the ice maker off before doing this, so as to avoid having ice fall out mid-inspection.

3.    Resolve any jams.

      If there is a clustered bunch of ice cubes stuck inside the chute, try to jostle them free.

      It is likely a wise decision to remove your head from the freezer before doing this and functioning via feel.

If your ice maker still refuses to yield any refreshing ice cubes, then there is still yet one more area to check before acquiescing and summoning a repair person.

5: Make Sure the Freezer is Cooling Properly

If at any point a freezer fails to cool properly, not only will the simple action of producing ice be made infinitely more difficult, but so too will the function of keeping your precious food within the unit at the proper temperature. As such, your freezer’s cooling capabilities should, along with the refrigerator’s water filter, be checked often.

To check if your freezer is cooling properly:

1.  Start by checking your freezer’s contents.

    If they are coated in an unusual amount of unfrozen condensation, then your freezer is likely not cooling properly.

2.  See if the issue is a blocked freezer.

     If any container or bag of food is stacked too high up within the freezer, then that may prevent your freezer from cooling properly.

     If the freezer door is not sealing because of such a situation, rectify it and see if that remedies the issue.

3.  Check your freezer’s temperature.

    Many more modern refrigerators come equipped with an internal thermostat, but you can always buy a separate thermostat and place it inside the freezer section to check as well.

    The ideal temperature or a freezer is around 0 to -20 degrees Fahrenheit.

    You can also check your refrigerator’s temperature settings and see if the freezer is set to the proper temperature range.


If none of the previous assessment procedures work, there yet exists one last course of action that can bring your preparedness for the summer months to their fullest potential: calling in a professional repair technician. With the full might of their expertise behind them, any technician you end up with is certain to be able to delve deeper into your ice maker then you could, and suitably rectify whatever the true-issue is. We at Target Appliance Repair specialize in fixing these sorts of dilemmas, so contact us whenever you need your refrigerator’s ice maker diagnosed and repaired!

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