Refrigerator Ice Maker Freezes Up
Refrigerator ice makers are convenient, but they also require maintenance to keep them functioning properly. If the ice maker stops dropping ice through the dispenser, it likely has frozen up. A frozen ice maker needs immediate repair to prevent further damage to the mechanism. Identifying the cause of the freezing and preventing that cause from reoccurring will help your ice maker last for years to come.
Causes of Freezing
Ice makers freeze up over time if the temperature is so cold in the freezer that the water freezes too quickly and cannot flow through the system. As ice builds up in the ice maker without being removed, the moisture also runs out of space and starts to freeze into blocks. Leaks and kinks in the system lead to freezing as well. If a hose is kinked, water freezes inside of it because the flow is slowed; then ice starts building throughout the system. Likewise, leaks often freeze as the moisture seeps out, and that ice builds until it causes an obstruction. The water inlet valve may also be malfunctioning and result in freezing.
Unplug the fridge if the ice has frozen solid in the ice maker and leave the door open to let it thaw naturally. Use a hairdryer to speed up the process of melting the ice to get everything flowing in the system again. Break up large pieces of ice that are frozen together with an icepick to help get the system working again. Use caution to avoid damaging the ice maker since an icepick will puncture the hoses and bins if it connects with them forcefully. Always unplug the fridge before working on the ice maker to prevent electrical problems.
Regular use helps prevent your ice maker from freezing because it keeps the ice moving through the system and therefore prevents ice cubes from freezing together. Regular thawing of the ice maker also prevents frozen water from building to a level where it damages the system. Check the ice maker weekly for leaks or kinked hoses to further ensure that everything is functioning properly. If you notice ice building up, lower the setting on the freezer or the ice maker to warm it up slightly to reduce the amount of freezing.
Pouring hot water into an ice maker melts ice buildup, but it also must be soaked up, or else it ends up freezing and adding to your ice problem. If the ice maker freezes regularly, turn it off, if you can do so, while still leaving the freezer on and make ice cubes in trays in the freezer. This prevents the need for added repair and maintenance to the fridge. Keep a close eye on the ice maker if it will not be used for a long time because that increases the odds of freezing. Likewise, black specks or debris in the ice indicate other problems that need to be addressed, primarily with the filtration system.