When you press your cup against your freezer’s ice maker dispenser, you expect ice cubes to fall out on cue. But what if your ice maker isn’t making enough ice to keep up demand? There are a few common culprits that might be to blame for this problem. Work through each one until you find the solution.
How an Ice Maker Works
- A switch inside the ice maker triggers water to flow in from the line attached to the back of the refrigerator.
- The water flows in through a tube at the back of the freezer and fills the ice cube tray.
- The cold environment in the freezer makes the water freeze into ice.
- A thermostat attached to the tray senses the temperature of the ice. When it reaches a low, preset temperature, an electric heater on the bottom of the tray warms the ice slightly so the cubes release.
- A motor rotates a sweep arm, which pushes the cubes up and out of the tray.
- The cycle repeats until the ice bin is full. As you dispense ice and the bin empties, the ice maker turns on automatically to top it off.
How to Troubleshoot a Slow Ice Maker
If you need ice more quickly, try these tips:
- Turn down the freezer temperature: Ideally, your freezer should be set to between 0 and 5 degrees F to keep food at a deep freeze. Check the settings on your appliance to see if the temperature is set higher than this. If it is, adjusting the thermostat should help the incoming water freeze quicker so your ice maker works faster.
- Stop opening the freezer door to check for ice: This dramatically slows ice production because it increases the temperature inside.
- Keep the freezer well-stocked: Having little or no food in the freezer makes it hard for the unit to maintain the consistently low temperature needed to create ice. Strive to keep the freezer at least half-filled at all times, stocking it with water bottles as necessary to add more bulk. Of course, you don’t want to overfill the appliance either, as this could restrict airflow and lead to warm and cool pockets inside the freezer.
- Ensure nothing is too close to the ice maker: This could block the sweep arm and cause the ice maker to stop working. Leave the sweep arm and ice bin free and clear of any food or other frozen items.
- Make sure the water line isn’t restricted and has enough pressure: A problem with the water line can result in small ice cubes. Pull the freezer away from the wall to check the water line leading to it from the wall. Make sure it’s not kinked or blocked in any way. Also, turn the valve on the water supply line to the fully open position to ensure full pressure.
- Replace the water filter: If your fridge has one, and it hasn’t been replaced lately, complete this task now. A clogged water filter could be blocking water flow to the ice maker, causing it to run slowly. Once a new filter is installed, allow it to go through several cycles before using the ice your freezer makes.