Portable Ice Maker Won’t Make Ice: Troubleshooting Your Problem

Ice makers demand a real workout during the summer months when they are required to perform at their peak capacity. The ice maker breaking down can be no less than a disaster, and with no backup ice at hand, the days in summer could be devastating. But luckily, there are tremendous troubleshooting options available when it comes to portable ice makers, and the next time you find that your portable ice maker is not making ice, then you can troubleshoot its problems easily yourself.

The Culprit Could be the Power Cord of the Appliance

Power Cord of the Ice Maker

This might sound very silly, but still, this is the number one reason for failure in portable ice makers. The next time you see that your portable ice maker is not making ice, check its power cord and make sure that the cord is securely plugged into the wall outlet. At times, there are chances that the vibrations from the ice maker and other appliances that are near could shake the power cord loose. If you find that the power cord is attached loose, fix it first and try to operate the appliance again.

Also, inspect the power cord for fraying or a loose connection, and if you find that that cord is not attached properly with the machine, it means that the appliance is not getting a steady flow of power. If you think that the power cord is damaged, do not hesitate to replace it with a new one.

In case you had problem setting up your ice maker, you can check this guide to do it step by step: Portable Ice Maker Instructions For Setup and Maintenance

Some Good Reasons Why the Ice Maker Won’t Make Ice

Ice Maker Not Working

Your ice maker is yet another ordinary electrical appliance that could cease to function, owing to a variety of reasons. The ice makers are far different from refrigerator-freezers and they are capable of making ice in less than 15 minutes, and in a portable ice maker, the entire ice-making process is completely automated and fast. In most of the ice makers, the water that is fed into the reservoir passes through a series of molds, where a refrigeration system freezes this water into ice cubes.

Though this sounds quite simple, the ice maker works through a complex mechanism of heating and cooling. The ice maker stopping to make ice is one of the commonest of problems that people encounter and before calling in for professional help, you can troubleshoot and solve most of these issues. Let us discuss the common issues with ice makers and ways to troubleshoot the problem. 

1. Outlet is not emitting power

After checking the power cord, check the outlet for power reception and make sure that the power is running in the outlet under question. The best way to check the outlet is to try a different receptacle and check if the problem is with the receptacle.

If you find that the breaker has tripped over, flip the switch and try again and if the ice maker constantly trips the circuit breaker, the best way is to consult an electrician and figure out the cause of the trouble. If the breaker box is fine, it is time to explore further and troubleshoot the ice maker.

2. Check the temperature of the water if the ice maker is not making ice

Yet another common problem with the portable ice maker machine that is preventing it from making ice cubes is that the water that is fed in the appliance is at a higher temperature. This is quite common if you attaching the ice machine with a fixed water line that runs through the walls and even through the roof.

In these cases, the water lines get exposed to outside heat and in summer months, they can heat up and push hot water into the ice machine. Commercial ice makers generally have a safety guard that shuts down the appliance, when the water is overheating. With portable ice makers, the water temperature should not be a problem, if you are manually filling the reservoir with water. If it is connected with a water hose, it is good to check the water temperature often.

3. Ice maker not making ice as it is running out of water

Water is pivotal and is an important component that helps the ice makers to make ice. When there is an insufficient water level in the appliance, then there is no raw material available to form ice. Most portable ice makers, it is required to manually fill water, and they do not connect with the waterline. Thus it is important to refill them with water appropriately and also check the indicator for water levels in the appliance. Refrain from feeding the appliance with too much water as well, and make sure that the water gets filled up to the right fill line in the appliance. Depending on the usage and the ice production volume, refill the water tank once or twice daily.

4. The water line is blocked

Every portable ice maker has a water line, that transports the water from the reservoir to the area where the water is frozen and converted into ice cubes. If there is any block in this water line, then it is likely that the appliance is not making any more ice cubes. The best way to troubleshoot this problem is to locate the waterline, after consulting with the user manual of the appliance. Remove the line and inspect if there are any particles or sediments that are blocking the path of the water. If you find any obstructions, use warm water to flush them out, so that the device can keep making high-quality ice. 

If you find that ice is trapped in the line, you can either use a hairdryer to blow down the ice or better unplug the ice maker altogether so that the ice melts completely. Thus fixing this water line is simple, but the best alternative is to prevent such troubles by cleaning the cord to get rid of any mineral deposits and sediments in the water.

5. The water filter is blocked, preventing the ice maker from making ice

There are high chances for the water filter of the ice maker to get blocked with sediments and minerals over months of constant use and this is pretty common in households with hard water, that has abundant minerals. The filters for the portable ice makers have tiny holes to hold these particles, but with time they tend to build up and block the supply of water to the ice maker appliance. The best way to prevent and troubleshoot this issue is to clean the water filter and replace it in the ice maker. You can easily clean the filter with a brush with fine bristle, that can scrape away all its sediment deposits. You can also dip the filter in lemon juice and vinegar to dissolve its deposits efficiently.

This guide will also help you: How to Clean an Ice Machine?

6. The ice storage bin is shutting down to accept any ice

This is generally an overlooked issue but if there is no problem with your power line and water line, then you should check the storage bin or the ice compartment of the ice maker. At times, when the ice bin is full, it will shut down to avoid overproduction of ice and spillage of ice. If your ice maker is having this auto shut off feature, then you have to make sure that you empty the bin at periodic intervals, when the indicator lights are on and transfer them into the freezer. This helps the appliance to keep making more ice but you have to toggle the power button on and off to reset the appliance after it undergoes an automatic shut off.

7. Ice sensor is blocked

In some portable ice makers, the ice sensor is a wire armature that rises when the ice basket is filled with ice cubes. If your ice bucket in the appliance is either empty or partially full, make sure if the sensor is not blocked. If this ice sensor is bent upwards, then it is directing the ice maker appliance to stop making further ice. This is a false trigger and could be caused by the ice scoop as well. The best way to troubleshoot this problem is to wipe the sensor cleanly and remove any obstruction out of its way, that might be blocking the bin from accepting more ice from the countertop ice maker

8. The ice appliance has leaks that prevent it from making ice

Leaks are the most probable cause that the ice maker appliance could be leaking. The best way to deal with the leaks is to inspect the machine inside and out for any hairline cracks and chips and make sure to look at the counter beneath the ice maker for drips and puddles as well. If you find that a large quantity of water is seeping out of the appliance, then there won’t to enough water left to make ice by the appliance. If you find that your appliance is leaking considerably, then the best way to deal with them is to call the technician to initiate repairs. 

9. There is damage to the water pump of the ice maker

Remember that when you are running your ice maker appliance constantly, you are also putting all its internal components into continuous work. And there are bright chances that these components fail. The water pump is one of the most important and the most used parts of the ice maker and thus it is prone to damage. The water pump is an important component that is responsible for bringing in the water from the reservoir to the freezing chamber and if this part is broken then water never reaches the ice-making portion of the ice maker. But this water pump cannot be repaired by us, and it is better to seek the help of a professional to deal with it. Retain the warranty card of the ice maker to help deal with such repair costs as the water pumps are relatively expensive items to repair and replace. 

10. Faulty sweeper that is not ejecting ice cubes to the ice basket

At times, you could find that your ice maker is making ice and they are not getting dumped in the ice bin. There could be two possible reasons for this issue, and the major reason is the faulty sweeper that fails to push the formed ice cubes to the storage tray. It is important to replace these sweepers by seeking the help of a professional. But you can make sure that the sweeper is not loose and there is no obstruction in its way. It is also appropriate to check for loose wires and corroded parts in the portable ice maker and in the worst case, call the professional for optimal troubleshooting.

One more reason, why the ice is not landing in the ice basket is owing to the faulty ejecting element. This could be owing to the loose wires and it is best to call customer support if the problem persists.

11. The ice maker is not making ice as the coolant is leaking

This is an uncommon problem with the ice maker, where the coolant that is originating out of the ice maker is leaking. This could result in the production of very few ice cubes by the appliances and in some cases, the ice maker could stop working completely. You can figure out if your appliance is leaking coolant if you find any oily substance on the floor near the ice maker. 

This is indeed a major problem with the appliance and the possible reasons could be aging of the appliance, or rough handling while carrying the ice maker. This problem cannot be cured by itself, and only professionals can fix this issue. The professional will either change the coolant in the ice maker or replace the entire cooling system if it is broken. You can also contact your manufacturer for more advice on this issue. 

12. The appliance is making ice cubes, but the formed ice cubes are not of a proper shape

In the portable home ice maker, we could find in some instances that the shape of the ice that is formed in the appliance is of a weird shape. They could either be too big or small and melt immediately. The major causes for such troubles could be a defective water valve or a faulty ice-cutting mechanism. 

To troubleshoot this problem, check if you have changed any settings in the appliance by mistake. If that is not the issue, then it could probably be a mechanical problem. Generally, the culprit is the water valve that controls the quantity of water that is dispensed in the ice-making tray. It could either be allowing too much or too little water, affecting the size and shape of the ice considerably. A faulty water valve is a result of clogging, where the mineral deposits prevent the valve from opening and also closing appropriately. 

To troubleshoot this issue, consider cleaning the valve along with the water inlet area and if this doesn’t cure the problem, then the best alternative is to get a new valve. If you find that the ice cubes come as a huge chunk that is clubbed with each other, then the problem is with the ice cutting grid. This could either be a mechanical or an electrical problem and you can check for loose wires or any other blockage in the mechanism. The quality of the water can also be triggering such issues and the best way to avoid this is to use high-quality water or a water filter.

In case you want to replace your ice maker: Top 10 Best Ice Makers 2021

Other Common Issues with the Ice Formed by the Portable Ice Maker

Apart from the inability of the ice maker to form ice cubes, there could be other problems as well, with the portable ice maker such as ice is smelly and bits of dirt in the formed ice cubes. generally, high-quality ice should be clear, odorless, and tasteless. Though most portable ice makers form such high-quality ice, there are instances, when they could form ice that tastes and smells stale and this could alter the taste of the beverages as well. The main reason for such low-quality ice cube, is a dirty ice maker, low-quality water, or when the ice is left in the bin for a long time. 

The best way to avoid them is to clean the ice maker periodically by following the instructions in the user manual. If the ice maker is added to a water line, consider adding a filter to the line. Try to use only clean and filtered water in the reservoir so that the ice that is formed is always fresh. Try your best not be make the ice maker use recycled and melted water. Ice is always great when it is made out of fresh water. 

At times the ice can have metallic scrapes and even plastic bits in them and this is because of the buildup of materials or broken components in the ice maker. Cleaning up the appliance and discarding the first few batches of ice should solve the problem.

I'm Sara Wilson, the founder, and author of IceMakerCage. I'm also the head of the expert team that tests various ice makers and brings the best advice.

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