In the days before modern refrigerators and freezers, making and storing ice was an entire industry, and for a long time, having a few ice cubes to cool your drink was only something available to the wealthy. Of course, that’s no longer the case for most people—with many refrigerator/freezers now making ice automatically.
But as great as ice makers are, sometimes they don’t work the way they’re supposed to. If you find yourself in that situation, here are a few ways to troubleshoot and fix your broken ice maker.
How to fix a broken ice maker
Before calling a professional to repair your broken ice maker, check to see if the issue is one of these common—and easily fixable—problems:
There’s a big chunk blocking everything
Sometimes ice will partially melt and then refreeze inside the ice maker, leaving you with a large chunk of ice clogging the chute, and blocking ice from getting into your glass.
Solution: Use a wooden spoon to locate the chunk if it’s not already visible, and attempt to dislodge it. If that doesn’t work, pour some warm water over the chunk to melt it (just be sure to have towels handy to clean up).
Your water filter is old
Some refrigerators automatically stop making ice when the water filter needs to be replaced.
Solution: Install a new water filter if your fridge indicates that it’s time to change yours.
The freezer is set at the wrong temperature
The thermostat for your refrigerator/freezer may be set to the wrong temperature, and, as a result, isn’t making ice.
Solution: Check your ice maker. If the water in the molds never fully hardens into ice, make your freezer a bit cooler. If there is ice, but it’s frosty or won’t budge, try setting your freezer to a slightly warmer temperature.
Ice is stuck in the mold
Check to see whether the ice maker’s molds are partially filled with ice. If so, your ice maker may think the molds are full and that it doesn’t need to make any new ice.
Solution: Pour warm water into the molds to melt and then refreeze any ice that’s in there. When that water has frozen, retrieve the ice as you normally would until the molds are empty. After that, it should make a fresh batch of ice.
You’ve tried everything else and it’s still not making ice
Solution: When all else fails, turn the ice maker (or, if necessary, the entire fridge) on and off again and see if that helps. (It’s worth a shot.)