Why Is Your Ice Maker Not Dropping Ice?

Ice makers may not be the first “mush-have” object you think about for your household but they are incredibly convenient.

No more filing up ice trays every time you need ice, no more time waiting for the ice to form when all you want is a refreshing cold glass of water.

Yes, ice makers are brilliant pieces of kit but, as with many household items, they can malfunction.

If you use your ice maker on a regular basis, you shouldn’t encounter many issues.

But, once it has been in storage for a little while, you may find that it doesn’t drop ice anymore or ice is getting stuck.

You check if the unit is turned on. The water is turned on and the freezer is at the correct temperature.

But, low and behold, the ice is not ejecting from the tray.

Before you become overwhelmed with frustration and go out to buy another ice maker, there are some reasons why this could be happening.

And, there are some methods to fix it.

If your ice maker is not dispensing properly or the ice is getting stuck, read on as we discuss how to fix such issues and prevent this from happening in the future.

How An Ice Maker Functions

Before we delve into repairing your ice maker, it helps to understand how an ice maker actually works.

For a standard ice maker, the functioning is the same.

Firstly, the ice cube ejection motor spins tongs inside the unit which ejects the ice cubes. Once this occurs, the water solenoid valve runs for 20 seconds or so.

This leads to water entering the ice mold tray and starting to freeze.

After around 120 to 180 seconds, the internal timer in the ice-making unit will begin.

This energizes the mold heater for around 2 minutes. A full cycle is performed as the ice cube eject motor spins the tongs once again and ejects the ice cubes.

By understanding how a refrigerator ice maker performs, it may become clearer as to what could be causing the fault.

However, there may be other components that are faulty and cause the ice maker to not drop ice properly.

Reasons Why Ice Is Not Dropping From Your Ice Maker

There are numerous reasons why ice is getting caught in your ice maker or not being released with proper force. Below are some of the most common issues with these units and, hopefully, why yours is not functioning correctly.

Ice Is Stuck In The Raker

Not all ice makers come with this component so check your unit’s manual to find out if yours does.

If it does contain a raker, ice can get caught inside it.

So, what is the raker? This is a part that is responsible for raking through the various ice cubes.

This is to evenly distribute new cubes so they can be dropped into the ice bin.

The raker should prevent chunks of ice from clogging up the entire system.

But, with a lack of maintenance, it can become clogged.

Sometimes, an ice block can form or the ice cubes can get caught in some part of the raker.

This will, therefore, stop the raker from functioning.

Once it becomes jammed, the ice maker will no longer be able to distribute any ice.

If you find that this is the issue, there is a remedy. Firstly, turn off the ice maker and unplug it.

Then, it’s simply a matter of placing your hand inside and removing the troublesome ice that is clogging the raker system.

Luckily, it is pretty easy to see if the raker arm is stuck so you can figure out whether it is the cause of the fault or not.

Simply remove all of the excess ice and your ice maker should return to its former glory.

Ice Cubes In The Bin

This is probably the most common issue and cause of a blocked ice maker. Ice clumps can easily form inside the unit’s bin and prevent any more ice from being dispensed.

For the ice cubes to drop from the unit, a certain amount of heat is generated so that the cubes are slightly melted.

This light heat can also melt the ice within the bin as well. Even when you open your refrigerator door, the heat from outside of the freezer can affect the ice in some way.

This problem is not so common if you use your ice maker regularly.

The auger is made to unstick these cubes of ice and prevent blocks from forming.

However, if you do not use your ice maker very often, the auger will not turn on.

The result? A large chunk of ice can form over some time blocking the system from dispensing any more ice cubes.

You can find out whether this is the issue by listening out for the auger as it attempts to break up the excess ice.

You should notice this as it will sound louder than usual with some sort of grinding noise emanating from the unit.

You may even find a few small ice shards are released now and again.

If this is the case, turn the system off and remove the blockage. However, this can be a pretty challenging task, especially if the mass of frozen ice is particularly large.

For worst-case scenarios, you may have to remove the whole bin and even defrost the ice maker itself.

On the other hand, you may just need to break the chunks of ice up with your hand or a kitchen utensil.

If you find large chunks of ice, dispose of them into your sink or bathtub.

If you break the ice up and then place it back into the auger, they will probably just form into larger chunks again and become too solid to get broken down by the auger.

In other words, you’ll be back in square one.

Clogged Ice Dispenser

Another common reason for undispensed ice is a clogged ice dispenser.

This is when the ice chute is jammed as you press down the lever.

While most people check the ice bin to see if it’s blocked (which you should), many forget to check the dispenser.

If you do, you may find chunks of ice blocking the system.

Yet again, you will have to grab the ice out of the dispenser yourself if this is the route of the blockage.

It could be as simple as the ice cubes going in at an awkward angle and jamming.

Luckily, a few firm pushes and prods should break the ice loose. If a larger piece of ice is stuck, you should just wait for it to melt.

Just ensure you have a bucket or something to catch the water below the dispenser as the water melts and runs out.

A Frozen Auger Motor

Under such freezing temperatures, the auger can easily become frozen itself.

This usually only happens after long-term use as the cold temperatures begin to freeze the auger motor.

If this happens, it will not be able to rotate and spin properly so no new ice cubes will be forwarded to the unit’s chute.

If the auger motor is frozen, you should keep the lever down. As the motor begins to operate, heat will start to rise, and the ice will start to melt.

You should also check how moisture managed to find its way into the motor as this shouldn’t happen with how the unit is designed.

Be careful as this method can be tough on the motor and the melting ice can become hazardous and damage the motor further.