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Why do Ice Makers stop working? Top Reasons and Solutions

Ice makers are incredible inventions but why do they stop working? There are various reasons for them to come to a halt. Some of them include issues with the water supply line for ice maker.

While this is usually the direct reason, there are some more detailed reasons behind a failed ice maker. Ice makers are blessing on a hot day for a frosty drink, so knowing the reasons they stop operating is crucial. Having a better grasp of these reasons are beneficial to ensure they return back to their peak performance!

1. Something is out of place

All appliances have working parts that can come loose, fall off, or be moved which can cause a malfunction. In the case of ice makers, this usually means something is out of place specifically the control arm. 

If the control arm on an ice maker is out of place, it will cause the machine to stop working. Not all ice makers have this piece but it is the first place to check before going into more detailed reasons. It is the simplest thing to fix.

Even if someone is not sure what this piece looks like, they can inspect the ice maker to notice anything that looks out of place. The control arm's primary function is to temporarily stop the ice maker from producing ice when its ice bin is full.

When this control arm slips out of place (usually due to accidental bumping or even overfilled ice bins), it will cause the machine to stop producing ice. However, this is a pretty simple fix.


Simply resetting the arm to the position the intended position will fix this issue. There is generally only one way the arm will go making it easy to see where it needs to be placed. It only needs to be moved into that direction.

2. Something is Clogged

The parts of an ice maker can be clogged which exclusively includes the filter or water inlet valve.

For an ice maker to function properly it needs to be maintained like any other household appliance. All ice makers feature a water supply line and a filter. The filter ensures that the water flowing through the line is filtered to make the best ice possible.

These filters can become clogged which reduces the function (or stops) of the ice maker.

Solution for Clogged Filter:

Regular cleaning and maintenance are required for the filter to remain working properly. It may also indicate the filter needs to be replaced altogether.

While filters can be strange places on an ice maker, they are fairly easy to clean with a dry rag or small vacuum hose. Always consult a user's manual to determine the exact location. In terms of replacing the filter, it is generally suggested that an ice maker filter should be replaced about every 6 months.

Water inlet valves for ice makers can also become clogged. The clog can be within the filter or screen of the valve or even in the line itself that connects to the valve.

The water inlet valve allows water into the ice maker device. If this is not operating properly to allow the water into the machine, it will cease the device from working.

Solution for Clogged Water Inlet Valve:

Locate the valve to check for the clog. Sometimes it is on the backside of the refrigerator. However, every model is different so inspecting the exterior of the refrigerator is critical. After locating it, it is important to check the filter screen.

Usually, there are large brass nuts that are on the valve. Removing this nut allows access to the screen which can be removed using a simple screwdriver. These screens become clogged due to water deposits, hard water, etc that come from the water passing through. They are best cleaned with an old toothbrush, rinse clean and replace.

3. The Water Supply Line is Frozen

Just like any other pipe or water line, a water supply line to an ice maker can become frozen.

A common reason for a water supply line to become frozen is the ice backing up inside the bin. This can freeze up the water supply line because the water is trying to pass through to the ice assembly portion of the ice maker. If it is built up too much with ice, the water line can't deposit water efficiently anymore.


Removing the internal ice bin will provide access to the water supply line to the unit that dispenses ice into the bin.

To unfreeze the line it is common to use a heat source like a hairdryer or even boiling water to cover the lines.

The first step to this process is to unplug the refrigerator. Considering that the heat source method of unfreezing the line is generally quick, it will not spoil any foods as it won't be unplugged for a long period of time. The unplugging of the fridge ensures safety.

If a hairdryer is used, it is critical to hold it just the right amount of distance (on the lowest heat) so that the water dripping from the line does not enter the hairdryer.

This could result in shock. Consistent heat from the hairdryer over the frozen line will aid in thawing out the frozen water in the line. To get the best results it is recommended that the hairdryer be moved around constantly to apply the heat evenly.

Using boiling water is a less preferred method, but it is still applicable. It is best to use the ice bin to put the boiling water into. A baster can be used to apply the boiling water directly to the water lines. While this may seem tedious, it can be done effectively to get the lines to unthaw.

4. The Freezer is Not at the Proper Temperature

When the thermostat for the fridge is set too high or not quite low enough the drastic change in temperature will result in ice makers not operating properly.

This can also affect the condenser coils within the freezer becoming frosty. This stops the circulation of airflow in the freezer which can cause issues with the water supply line to become frozen as well and overall cause ice makers to stop working.

For an ice maker to operate at its peak performance, the freezer temperature should be set to around 0 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit. If the freezer temperature is above 10 degrees it can also cause the ice maker to cease working.


First and foremost, ensure that the back of the freezer where the coils live is not blocked too much. If these coils cannot create the proper circulation the freezer all together along with the ice maker will not operate correctly.

Secondly, adjusting the temperature is crucial. Ensuring the temperature is around the 0-5 degrees Fahrenheit will keep everything running as smoothly as it possibly can!

5. Something Needs To Be Replaced

Every appliance wears out and in the case of ice makers, the two main parts that may need to be replaced are the water inlet valve and the ice maker assembly piece.

If either of these fails to work, the ice maker will stop working. Water inlet valves can be defective. Even when the coils seem alright, water may not make it to the ice maker assembly.

Speaking of ice maker assemblers, these parts of the ice maker usually do not last very long. This is the last resort issue if all other issues have been questioned. If this has failed, calling a repairman to aid in assessing if the unit is repairing or worth replacing.


For the water valve inlet, it can be replaced. Usually, this is found around the bottom of the back of the refrigerator. It is a valve that runs the water to the ice maker assembly inside the refrigerator.

If the valve is not operating right, it will need to be replaced. Any repairman can conduct this repair and usually not for too much of an expense. However, for those who are a bit more self-sustaining, there are references online to help assist in the replacement. This is usually not an overly common thing to need to be replaced.

For the ice assembly maker, once again calling a repairman to assess the situation is the best approach. They can determine if it is worth repairing or just replacing.

They are not built to be outlasting but they are built to get the job done for as long as possible. This directly applies to ice maker assemblers that are in standard top freezers on a refrigerator.

The best-case scenario in this particular problem is to replace the ice assembly maker. They generally run on average for around $80 depending on the model. Certain brands will cost less or more. But overall, they aren't too pricey and make cost less than the repairman fixing up the old one.

No matter what the cause of a stopped ice maker, the issue can be fixed quite simply! Most importantly, as it is usually stressed with home appliances, maintenance, maintenance, and more maintenance. It only takes a few minutes to inspect a home appliance to ensure all its working parts are in order!

Mime Petit

A home appliance enthusiast and creative writer.

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