Fixing a Drippy Ice Maker

A few weekends back I spent the morning fixing a drippy ice maker in our Whirlpool Gold Side-by-Side refrigerator, so I figured I’d do another “fix-it” post. 

One morning when I opened the freezer there was a bit of a winter wonderland scene, with frost and icicles covering the upper-right corner of the freezer.  The in-door ice bucket was full of huge chunks of refrozen ice, and frozen up to the point where it couldn’t move the agitator to dispense ice.  Pretty much just an icy mess.

I originally thought that maybe someone had left the freezer a bit open, but there was still a bit of water dripping around and I know the door had been closed before I opened it.

Still not knowing what was wrong, I removed the ice bucket, emptied it out and melted all of the ice that was frozen around the agitator.  I put it back in the freezer and then went about my morning.  A bit later, I went to get some ice and remembered that I hadn’t turned the  ice maker back on, so I hit the switch.  I closed the door and waited for the ice to drop (It’s an in-door bucket so it doesn’t drop until the door closes).  Right when the ice dropped I opened the door and was then able to see first-hand the real problem with the dispenser.

Evidently in this model fridge, the water is dispensed into a small collector that then lets it flow into the ice tray.  The collector is circled in orange in the picture below.  Somehow this collector had filed with a solid chunk of ice, and was blocking the flow of water directly into the ice tray.  Since the float switch to stop the flow of water is in the tray, this means that the water stays on until enough water dribbles around the collector to fill up the ice tray (as well as coating a good portion of the freezer with water.

At first I thought I could attack this with a hair-dryer, but after removing all of the food from the top two shelves and then sitting with a hair dryer on the collector for about 5 minutes, I realized this was not getting me anywhere.  My next idea worked much better.  I used a turkey baster to squirt near-boiling water into the top of the collector (with towels positioned below to catch the overflow) and this unfroze the collector in about 2 minutes.

icemaker

We haven’t had any further problems with the ice maker.  I’m not sure if this was just a fluke, or if there’s some sort of accumulation of ice in the collector that will come back again, but for now it’s working great and I know how to fix it quickly it it freezes up again.

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