HELP - My Ice Maker is Broken!

9:55 AM


There are (apparently) a lot of little things I take for granted.  Ice and water from the refrigerator door is just one small example.

A couple of weeks ago our ice maker leaked a bunch of water on the floor and stopped working.  This didn't seem like such a big deal and then we ran out of ice!  The weeping and wailing from the kids (and let's face it - my loving husband) was crazy.  To them, on demand ice is a constitutional right! And so I set out to discover what was wrong with the ice maker.

To be honest, I made mistakes along the way.  Mistake #1 was assuming that if the ice maker wasn't working it was because the maker was broken.  Turns out - that's wrong.  I now know that my ice maker quit working because the water inlet valve had gone out.  I learned this important lesson AFTER I ordered and replaced the ice maker twice.  (Good times - NOT)

Looking on the bright side I now have lots of experience in replacing ice makers AND water inlet valves!

So first - HOW TO REPLACE AN ICE MAKER

Step #1 - Find the model # of your fridge.  I do this by taking a picture of the sticker inside of the refrigerator.  That way I don't have to squint too hard or take too many perishables out.


 PRO TIP: 
Create a contact in your phone called "Model Numbers".  Use that contact to store all of the model numbers for appliances in your house.  This will save you MANY headaches when calling service people or ordering replacement parts.


model # saved in my phone
Step #2 - Read/research online and troubleshoot the ice maker.  There are many online repair forums that can help with this step.  If all else fails, google the symptoms.  For example, google "ice maker leaks" and read the results.

Step #3 - If you determine that the ice maker is the problem, purchase the new ice maker.  I order online from AppliancePartsPros.com but you can order from PartSelect.com or even Amazon.com.  You might even be lucky enough to have a parts house in your area.

Step #4 - Some repair forums have videos that can teach you how to replace the part.  I used the one from Appliance Parts.  Here is the link to how to replace the Whirlpool ice maker.




You can also see the video by clicking HERE.

Remove the old ice maker:
  • Unplug the refrigerator
  • Remove the ice bin, shelves and any doors that are in the way of the ice maker
  • The ice maker (on the Whirlpool model) is held in place by 3 screws.  You only need to remove the bottom screw.
  • Loosen the top 2 screws.
  • Lift the ice maker off the 2 top mounting screws.
  • Gently remove the ice maker
  • Using a flat head screw driver release the locking clips for the ice maker plug.
Install the new ice maker:
  • Remove the wire bail arm from the old maker and install it on the new maker
  • Plug the ice maker into the refrigerator
  • Mount the ice maker on the top 2 screws and tighten.  
  • Re install the bottom screw.
  • Re install the ice bin, shelves and any trays you removed.
Now for the hard part - WAIT!  The ice maker has to get cold before it will make ice.  Usually this takes about 24 hours.

I did all of that and my ice maker still didn't work.  I actually uninstalled it and reinstalled it again!  Still - no ice.

That's when I did a little more reading and discovered that my problem was probably not my ice maker at all.  The problem was the water inlet valve.


Replacing the inlet valve is easy!
REPLACING THE WATER INLET VALVE:

Here are some of the symptoms of a defective water inlet valve:
  • ice tray does not fill with water
  • ice tray overflows and drips water into the freezer
  • water from door dispenser comes out slowly
  • no ice is being made

Old Valve on the Left, New Valve on the Right
Step #1 - If you haven't already, locate the model number of your refrigerator.

Step #2 - Read everything you can find online about water inlet valves and the model number of your fridge just to make sure that that's the problem.  There are MANY online repair forums to help to identify what the problem might be.

Step #3 - If you're sure its the inlet valve, buy one one line, or at a local parts house.  As I stated before AppliancePartsPros.com is my favorite parts house, but I've also gotten parts on Amazon.com.  The choice is yours.

Step #4 - Now, here's the video for the repair.



THIS IS A WET JOB!  GET LOTS OF TOWELS!

Here's the link to the Video

Remove the old valve:
  • Unplug the refrigerator
  • Turn off the water to the refrigerator.
  • Remove all of the screws that hold the cardboard panel on the lower bottom of the refrigerator in place.
  • Disconnect (unscrew) the water line from the inlet valve
  • Using a screwdriver, remove the inlet valve from the refrigerator. 
  • Unplug the 2 connectors on the valve
  • Have towels ready, then carefully disconnect all 3 water lines  (some lines screw in.  Others are held in place with pressure connectors.  Consult the instruction page or the video listed above for your model).  Expect the water line to leak a gallon or 2 of water.
Install the new valve:
  • Insert all 3 water lines into the new valve.  The lines are all different sizes so each line will only fit into the proper hole
  • Re insert plugs into valve
  • Dry everything off and check for leaks on the water lines
  • Re mount the valve to the refrigerator
  • Re install the cardboard cover
  • Plug in the refrigerator
  • Turn the water back on.
Now wait for ice!

I thought it would take another few hours.  After I made this repair we had ice in about an hour!


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