How to stop your ice maker from leaking water

Written by David Lewis
7 Min read
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Table of contents

Can you imagine a world where ice was only available via a delivery service and cost a small fortune to purchase?  Well, if you’d been alive a century ago this would have been your reality.

Nowadays ice is as readily available as clean water, either to purchase for just a few cents from the grocery store or to make a home using an ice cube tray – simply fill with water, pop into your freezer, and voila! After just a couple of hours, you’ve got a refreshing addition to your favorite drink.

But there is another, newer, and infinitely more convenient way to make your own ice at home and that’s to invest in an ice maker. These handy appliances make sure you never run out of those frozen cubes of deliciousness without ever having to lift a finger!

However, they can (and do) experience problems from time to time, with the most common issue being minor water leaks. We’re going to talk you through what to do if you discover a leak from your ice maker and how to quickly and easily resolve it.

Why invest in an ice machine?

If your family likes to use ice in pretty much every drink they make at home, or you entertain a lot, then an ice machine will be a great investment for you.

The main difference between ice machine ice and ice that has been made in a regular freezer is the way the water is frozen. Freezer ice is often cloudy in appearance, whereas ice from an ice machine is much clearer due to the fact it has frozen from the inside out. Some ice machines feature technology that removes bubbles and impurities to make the most crystal clear ice you will have ever seen.

Different types of ice makers

We’ve come an awfully long way since the invention of the very first ice maker to produce edible ice in 1929. Nowadays, if you’re researching the best kind of ice maker for your home, you will have several different makes, models, and types to consider.  These include:

  • Undercounter ice makers – these operate completely independently from your freezer and are installed under your countertops just like a dishwasher. It will produce a steady flow of ice whenever it is switched on
  • Freestanding ice makers – portable units that can be moved around as you need. They are generally quiet, efficient, and give you all the benefits of a larger installed system but without being a permanent installation in your kitchen
  • Modular ice machines – generally used by commercial businesses, a modular ice machine will produce between 45 pounds to over 3,000 pounds of ice each day - more ice than you will know what to do with!
  • Ice maker kits – these are add-on units for freezers that didn’t originally come with a built-in ice maker. Perfect for houses that are short on kitchen space, or smaller families.

Different types of ice

  • Half cube ice – the smallest type of shaped ice cube, it blends quickly and easily and is ideal for smoothies or frozen cocktails
  • Full ice cubes – a classic choice and the standard ice type made by most machines. They have a slow melt rate, so they won’t water down drinks as quickly as some of the smaller ice shapes
  • Large ice cubes – these are generally used within bars that serve cocktails because of their ability to keep drinks super cold without watering them down
  • Nugget ice cubes – uniformly shaped ice chewable ice that is softer than other ice types and porous, which allows it to absorb the drink’s flavor
  • Flaked ice – flaked ice is composed of shards of ice and is used within the food processing industry for cooling fresh seafood and poultry

Do I need a water filter for my ice maker?

The short answer to this is no; you don’t need to have a filter. The longer answer is that yes, you probably should have a water filter if you want your ice maker to produce the best quality ice possible.

There are several benefits to using a water filter for your ice maker, including:

  • Improves the quality, taste, and appearance of the ice by removing contaminants
  • Prolongs the lifespan of your appliance as it will prevent minerals from building up inside
  • It helps the ice maker perform at its best and means less ongoing maintenance and repairs

What to do first if your ice maker is leaking water

Leaking ice makers are no fun! They make a watery mess in the ice bucket and make any ice that has already been made stick together in clumps. Leaks can also cause the water fill line to freeze, which could cause water to puddle on the floor creating slip hazards and problems elsewhere in your kitchen.

The first thing you need to do if you notice a leak from your ice maker is to disable the machine – this means disabling the power rather than disconnecting the water supply. Once the power has been switched off, you can carry out some investigations to establish the cause of the leak.

Quick tips – place newspaper or some old towels on the floor to soak up any water, and never use boiling water to melt ice that might be stuck in your machine. You could cause cracks and breakages due to the extreme change in temperature.

6 possible reasons your ice maker is leaking

1. Ice is jammed in the system

If your ice maker isn’t used enough or if the ice inside the bucket has melted slightly for any reason and then melted again, this can cause ice jams that will clog the system and potentially cause leaks.

There are a couple of ways to resolve this problem, firstly if you can see the ice jam and have easy access to it, try to unblock it using a wooden spoon. If this doesn’t work, place a large bowl under the dispenser and pour warm water down the dispenser chute, repeating several times to try to thaw the blocked ice.

2. The fridge/freezer/ice maker isn’t standing level

If your ice-making appliance isn’t standing level, then this could be the reason it is leaking. Use a spirit level to see whether it’s leaning to one side and level out if you notice any inconsistencies.

3. Problems with the water filter

If your ice maker or freezer is fitted with a water filter, this could be the cause of the leak – there could be a loose connection, or the filter may not be compatible with the specific make and model of your appliance, or maybe it’s just old and needs replacing.

Replacing a water filter is easy and there are plenty of helpful YouTube tutorials showing you how to do this, even if you’re not the world’s greatest handyperson!

4. The condensation drain is clogged

The condensation drains on your ice maker is designed to drain away any excess water or melted ice from the freezer compartment, keeping it clean and hygienic. If this drain gets blocked up with ice it cannot drain the water and as a result, will leak out of the machine.

In order to resolve this, you should locate the condensation drain and inspect it for ice, if you find any then you can be fairly confident that you have located the source of the problem – well done you! To fix it, you must pour warm (not too hot and definitely not boiling) water over the ice layer, taking care to soak up or remove the extra water caused by the melted ice.

5. The fill level is too high

Ice makers receive a steady stream of water which it uses to freeze into ice cubes, it will do this continuously until something tells them to stop.

Most ice makers allow you to control the amount of water that’s released by setting a fill level, so you can make the exact sized ice cubes that you need. However, if you can find no other faults and your ice maker is working perfectly (other than the leak) then it’s possible the fill line has been set too high.

You can quickly and easily rectify this by manually adjusting the fill level to the point where it is no longer overflowing but still produces the right-sized ice cubes. You should refer to your product manual to locate the fill adjustment set screw, and once you’ve found it use a flat head screwdriver to turn the level down very slightly before testing.

6. Leaking fill tube

A common reason for water inside the ice maker is a leaking fill tube or fill valve. The most common reason for this happening is that the fill valve is faulty causing the tube to fill with ice, if this is the case then the valve can be replaced which should resolve the issue.

If your problem is ice obstructing the fill tube, then you can use a hair dryer on a very low setting to slowly melt the ice within the tube – always make sure the appliance has been completely unplugged before attempting this.

Conclusion

If you and your family are ice aficionados and you simply can’t get enough of the frozen stuff, then an icemaker is a sound investment that will save you hours of time and hundreds of dollars in the long term.

However, these handy little appliances can sometimes malfunction leaving a watery mess for you to clean up. Knowing what to do when this happens and how to resolve any simple issues that might be causing the problem means you’ll be staying cool again very quickly.

FAQs

What is the adjustment screw on an ice maker?

The adjustment screw on an ice maker enables you to adjust the size of the ice cubes it makes by setting a fill level. Turning this screw very slightly to the left or right will allow more or less water into the system and therefore make bigger or smaller ice cubes.  A fill level that has been set to high could cause your ice maker to leak and therefore the adjustment screw will need to be turned.

What causes an ice maker to leak water?

There are several reasons your ice maker is leaking water, including:
·       There is ice jammed in the system
·       The appliance isn’t standing level
·       The water filter isn’t working correctly
·       There is a problem with the pipes or drainage system
·       The fill level has been set to high
·       The fill valve needs to be replaced
Before investigating any leaks your ice machine should be completely unplugged to disconnect it from the electricity.

How do I turn off the water valve on my ice maker?

You will need to locate the shut-off valve to the water line that has been connected to your ice maker. This is usually located underneath the kitchen sink or in the basement. Once you find the valve you will be able to turn off the water supply to the ice maker.

How do you align the ice cube fill cup and valve?

The water inlet valve is located at the back of the ice maker and released water into a large fill tube. This tube hangs above a fill cup which funnels the water into an ice mold, if this tube and cup are out of alignment water may spill out instead of going into the mold.
In order to align the ice cup and valve, you should remove the ice bin and adjust as necessary.

Appliances made simple. 

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