How To Unclog an Ice Maker

It’s really convenient to have a ice maker built into your refrigerator. No more filling ice trays, spilling water on the floor and freezer bottom and you usually won’t run out of ice with an automatic ice maker. Ice makers are generally maintenance free, but now and then they might get clogged.

If you’re ice cubes are suddenly much smaller or hollow, then it’s a good sign that your water line has gotten clogged. But, it could also be a sign that the thermostat isn’t working properly or that you have a faulty, or clogged inlet valve.

You’ll probably never have a clog if your refrigerator has a water filter built in or even added to the water supply line. But, if you didn’t install a water filter, there are often lot’s of particles in tap water that will eventually cause a clog.

The first thing you should check is the water supply line. Both metal lines or rubber lines can get kinks or crimps in them. This especially could be the problem if you’ve recently moved your refrigerator to clean behind it or for some other reason.

Just follow the water supply line from where it starts all the way to where it connects into the refrigerator and make sure there’s not a problem. While you can easily move a rubber line to get kinks out of it, metal lines aren’t so easy to deal with.

Trying to bend a metal line back into place can easily cause them to break. Make sure that you turn the water off before trying to repair a metal line. Use some pliers and gently squeeze the line to try to remove as much of the crimp as possible. If it’s too bad, you’re better off just replacing it before it breaks and leaks all over your kitchen.

To check you inlet valve, turn the water off to the refrigerator and pull it away from the wall far enough to get behind it. There’s an access panel at the back of the refrigerator that you need to remove. It will either take a regular screwdriver, or a socket and nut driver.

The inlet valve is where your water supply line attaches to the water line inside your refrigerator. With an adjustable wrench, disconnect the lines and remove the fitting. There will be a clamp that you’ll need to compress and slide out of the way to remove the water hose line.

You will also see two wires connected to the inlet valve. Wrap a piece of masking tape or some other tape around the wires and mark them so you’ll know where to hook them back up. Use needle nose pliers to remover the wires from the valve body.

Most inlet valves are attached to the refrigerator with screws, if yours is fastened to the refrigerator, remove the screws and take it loose. There will be some bolts, usually four that hold the fitting to the inlet valve.

When you remove the fitting you should be able to see the filter screen underneath it. You can use the tip of a knife or a small screwdriver to pry the screen out, be careful not to damage it unless you intend to replace it with a new one.

You can flush most of the clog out of the screen with running water and use an old toothbrush to loosen any debris that might be stuck. If there are any holes or any damage at all to the screen you really should replace it. Holes will allow large particles to flow into the ice maker itself and can damage it.

Once you’ve gotten the screen cleaned or replaced, you’re ready to put the inlet valve back together. Just follow the same steps in reverse that you did to take it off. When you’ve got it back on the refrigerator you can turn the water back on and plug the refrigerator back in.

Just notice the ice make to see if it’s making solid ice and making the ice the right size again. If it’s not then you might have a problem with the thermostat or the inlet valve itself might be bad.