Fixing the Ice Maker

I go though a couple of small Gatorade bottles filled water and ice every day.  Since the bottle mouth is too small to catch ice from the refrigerator door dispenser, I open the freezer door to grab cubes out of the tray.  Needless to say I’m always aware of how much ice we have.  I noticed the other day the ice was a little low.  There was a big frozen conglomeration of ice that might have been blocking the sensor, which happens every once in a while, so I broke it up and didn’t think much more of it.

Then yesterday I noticed no new ice formed since I grabbed some last time.  Hmmm, the fridge is only six years old, and I know that ice makers can go bad pretty early in their lifetime, so I immediately thought the worst.  Of course the trouble shooting section of the manual is useless so I end up skimming the entire thing. What a waste of time.  In fact it’s worse than that because they reference several different type of ice makers throughout the manual, not doing much to differentiate between them.

Taking matters into my own hands I opened the little ice maker service door and took a look inside.  There were no ice cubes chilling in the freezing tray, which meant that the ice-maker successfully ejected the last batch — a good sign that mechanism was still working.  I did find a one inch icicle hanging from a black tube I assumed to be the fill tube though.  I couldn’t break it off and I didn’t want to try to yank the tube out of the ice maker because I was afraid water would spray all over the place, so I went online to see if it’s safe to use a heat gun to thaw the fill line.

Googling KitchenAid ice-maker I found a thread in the Appliance Guru forums about ice-maker issues.  One helpful tip in the post was that there is a better trouble shooting guide folded away in the grill on the bottom of the freezer.  After reading that sheet I determined there wasn’t anything fatally wrong like a broken sensor.  Also in the thread was a guy that said he used a hair dryer to thaw his fill tube all the time.  Great news, unless I have to do this on a regular basis from now on.

I grabbed my heat gun and applied some hot air to the fill tube.  After the icicle had shrunk to about half it’s size, water started dripping.  I stopped and flexed the fill tube; the icicle shot out and water began flowing.

About an hour after closing the freezer door I heard the un-mistakable  sound of ice dropping into the bin.

References:
Appliance Guru —  Kitchen Appliance Repair Forum

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