January 12, 2015

Freestanding ice maker cleaning tips

By Lyle Weischwill
Freestanding ice maker cleaning tips.
Freestanding ice maker cleaning tips.

Do-it-yourself appliance repair is what we're all about here at Sears PartsDirect. We genuinely enjoy helping others with the problems they experience with their appliances. We also know that the best DIY repairs are the ones avoided by simple routine maintenance.

A freestanding ice maker needs regular cleaning to operate at peak efficiency. With routine maintenance, you can also avoid costly failures to system components. These ice maker cleaning tips will help you keep your ice maker running at its best and avoid the premature failure of parts that lead to repairs.

Clean the ice maker system

The minerals removed from the water during the freezing cycle eventually form a hard scaly deposit in the water system.  Cleaning the system regularly removes this build-up.  How often you need to clean the system depends on how hard your water is.  With hard water—15 to 20 grains/gallon—you should clean the system every 9 months.  Use one 16 ounce bottle of ice maker cleaner, following the directions on the bottle or in your owner’s manual. If you’re not sure whether you have hard water, this video will help you figure it out.

Sanitize ice maker interior components

Sanitize the interior of your ice maker periodically, especially after an extended period of non-use.  You might find it convenient to sanitize the interior components every time you clean the ice maker system when there’s no ice in the container.  Clean the ice storage bin, ice scoop, ice scoop holder and cutter grid with a soft sponge and a solution of 1 tablespoon of household bleach to a gallon of water, then rinse with clear water.  See your owner’s manual for detailed instructions.

Vacuum the ice maker condenser coil

A dirty or clogged condenser obstructs airflow and reduces the amount of ice produced.   It also makes the components hotter, which may lead to component failure.  Vacuum the condenser coil every 6 to 9 months, using a brush attachment, to remove lint and dirt.  The condenser coil is on the back of most freestanding ice makers.  See your owner's manual for specific directions on accessing your condenser coil.

Wipe the ice maker exterior

Periodically clean the exterior surfaces and gasket with warm water and a mild detergent or appliance cleaner.  Do not use abrasive cleaners on enameled surfaces, or chlorine bleach on stainless-steel surfaces.

Symptoms common to all freestanding ice makers

Choose a symptom to see related ice maker repairs.

Main causes: failing compressor, bad condenser fan motor, faulty drain pump, bad recirculation pump, water supply problems, bad water valve
Main causes: water supply problems, control board failure, weak recirculation pump, clogged water distributer, faulty cutting grid
Main causes: lack of electrical power, bad power cord, wiring failure, bad control board, faulty bin thermistor, bad evaporator thermistor
Main causes: bad bin thermistor, condenser fan failure, faulty control board
Main causes: wiring failure, broken cutting grid, faulty electronic control board
Main causes: bad electronic control board, water supply problems, faulty recirculation pump, sealed system failure, broken cutting grid
Main causes: cracked water supply line, leaky drain line, broken drain pump, cracked water reservoir, leaky ice bin
Main causes: dirty evaporator plate, untreated water supply, food items being stored in ice storage bin

Repair guides common to all freestanding ice makers

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your ice maker.

How to replace a freestanding ice maker cutter grid

When the cutting grid is broken, ice cubes don’t drop into the ice bin. Use the steps in this repair guide to replace a broken cutter grid.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
How to replace a freestanding ice maker electronic control board

When the electronic control board won’t activate the ice maker components, follow these steps to install a new one.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 45 minutes or less
How to replace a freestanding ice maker recirculation pump

If your ice maker isn’t making ice, the pump could be the problem. Here’s how to replace it.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 45 minutes or less

Articles and videos common to all freestanding ice makers

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your ice maker.

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