What to Do When Your Ice Maker Freezes Up – Ironic Right?

Written by Jason Hutchinson
5 Min read
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Table of contents

It’s a crazy question, right? What do you do when your ice maker freezes over? Essentially, your ice maker is that good at making ice, it’s frozen itself.

Unfortunately, there are several reasons why the big freeze might have happened. But, luckily for you, we’re going to go through all the common reasons in this blog and tell you the quick fixes to get your machine humming again.

So what causes an ice maker to freeze over?

Common causes for your ice maker getting jammed

It’s difficult to know exactly why your ice maker isn’t working. However, the main reason why it gets frozen is when the cubes of ice stop being released by the evaporation plate. Basically inside your freezer or ice maker running water flows over a freezing evaporator plate, this plate then freezes the water and forms it into cubes. The cubes are then harvested by a small temperature change in the plate.

However, if this plate becomes encrusted with scale or there is a blockage below which means the ice can’t drop into the box, the ice on the plate can start to join and form into one large block.

If this does happen then there’s a reasonably simple solution. Take a look at your ice maker and see if you can dislodge the blockage. Once removed, the freeze cycle should be able to carry on as normal and start creating ice again.

But, as we said at the start, that’s not the only problem facing ice machines and there can be a multitude of reasons why they freeze over. So, let’s take a look at a few more common reasons and fixes now.

Bin or ice box malfunctions

As we said above, once the evaporator plate has done its thing the ice will drop into the receptacle below. This icebox should have a function in it that stops ice from being created once the container is full.

However, if that sensor malfunctions then your freezer will continue to create ice around the clock. Unfortunately, the only clear way to prevent or remedy this once it’s occurred is to call out a professional. But a couple of simple maintenance checks a year should keep this from happening and curtail those repair costs.

Your freezer is too cold

Now, you might be thinking: “How can a freezer be too cold? Ice is ice, right?”. Well, yes and no. You do need your freezer to be cold enough to create ice, however, if you dip too low then the internal workings can start to freeze as well as your produce.

The FDA recommends 0°F as a safe freezer temperature. Anything lower than that can start to enable foodborne illnesses like Salmonella, Botulism, and E.coli.

However, temperatures lower than 0°F can also cause your freezer to start malfunctioning.

Dirty water filter

As with many appliance issues, especially when it comes to refrigerators not keeping their temperature, the main culprit is usually dirt and grime. You can easily remove and clean your freezer’s water filter.

When this becomes backed up or clogged it can cause water pressure issues that also cause your ice maker to freeze over. Which brings us to our next point…

Poor water pressure

The water pressure in your machine should sit between 40 and 120 psi. anything more or less than those reading can cause big freezes. Luckily, though, the fix for a water pressure issue is still pretty simple.

Clogged or frozen water lines

If you have hard water or you’re experiencing cold weather, the water lines which feed your refrigerator and ice maker may become clogged.

Remove your ice maker and inspect the water tube behind it. It can also be a common issue that the pipe between the valve and ice maker becomes frozen, so you may need to thaw that out. To do this you will need to completely defrost your refrigerator. Or you could attempt to thaw the frozen line with a hairdryer - although this is delicate work.

On the other hand, if you believe this could be a recurring problem with your freezer, it may be worth turning up the temperature. Although, this could also be a sign that scale or minerals from the hard water are clogging your water pipes, in which case this will definitely be a job for the professionals.

Is your water line in the right place?

It may seem strange but it could be your water line and something as simple as splash back causing your icy issues.

If the water line is pushed too far down into the valve it can cause water to splash into areas of the machine where you really don’t want it. We know the world has come a long way, but electricity and water still don’t like each other very much.

When this splashing occurs, that excess water can then get frozen in place causing other important areas of your machine to freeze up.

Do you have a defective ice maker?

You don’t have to be tremendously DIY savvy to understand when you just have a faulty machine. All you need to do is take a look in your ice maker and use your intuition. Does anything in there look or sound off? If so, you may have found your issue.

Motors, switches, and circuits, your ice maker has them all and they can all malfunction. For example, in some machines, a float switch is used to regulate the amount of water applied in a freeze cycle. When this component is faulty or breaks it causes the machine to make bigger ice than usual. Again, in more technical cases like this, it may be worth a call to the professionals.

Alternatively, if you think you’ve bought a faulty machine, then give the seller a call. Usually, a manufacturer or electronics store will be able to help or diagnose the issue.

Water inlet valve issues

As you may have guessed from the name, the water inlet valve is in control of the volume and flow of water into your machine. If some tragedy befalls this component it can mean your icebox fills up and freezes, causing a blockage.

If you can check your machine with a multimeter, you may find that the solenoid is not working. This may mean you need to replace your inlet valve.

Are you ever going to ice again?

It can be frustrating when your ice maker freezes, and ice is such a forbidding substance it can feel as though an expensive repair bill is on the way.

But it’s always worth checking these simple fixes to see if that gets you going again. As we’ve shown above, most ice maker issues come as a result of poor or irregular maintenance. The best, overarching, way to prevent your ice maker from freezing up is to stay completely up to date with your services.

If you don’t have a service plan in place, it pays to speak with a maintenance company that will be happy to come and periodically check your machine for any imminent or potential issues. So you can stop worrying about whether your appliance is working fine and carry on enjoying your drinks ice cold.

Appliances made simple. 

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