The ice maker is one of the coolest features in a Whirlpool fridge; it allows you always to have ice ready to go, which can keep your drinks nice and cool on a hot summer’s day.
But it’s also one of the more temperamental aspects of Whirlpool fridges, with many users running into issues where their ice dispenser suddenly stops working.
Needless to say, this is a troublesome issue to deal with. So today, we’re going to explain exactly why this ice maker problem happens and provide all of our tried and tested methods to get it back up and running again.
Why is your Whirlpool Ice Dispenser Not Working?
Because of how ice dispensers work, it’s very common for them to get clogged up and frozen with ice, which stops things from working smoothly.
The good news is these are often easy user-serviceable issues, and with a bit of unjamming, cleaning, and defrosting, we can get the ice dispenser unclogged and back to working order.
1. The Ice Maker is Turned Off
Don’t feel silly if you’ve made this mistake, many users don’t even realize the ice maker even has it’s own independent on/off function.
This function exists just in case you want to turn the ice maker off but still want to use the fridge. This can be super helpful during the winter when you don’t need ice and want to prevent the water lines from freezing over.
In a Whirlpool fridge, this is controlled by a small arm. When this arm is in the raised position, it means the ice maker is shut off, and when you lower it, the ice maker will switch back on.
If it’s already in the on position, but the ice maker’s still not working, it may indicate a problem with the switch, which we will need to test to see if it’s defective.
2. The Wrong Temperature is being Used
Ice makers require a specific temperature of between 0 and 5 degrees in order to function efficiently. Should it fall too low, the whole system will freeze up, but if it’s too hot, then the water won’t be able to freeze into cubes.
The most common culprit to the ice maker being the wrong temperature is due to the condenser coils becoming clogged up with dust which affects the fridge’s ability to hold temperature.
It may also be that the door gasket has failed, which causes temperature fluctuations.
The evaporator coils may also have an excess of frost built up around them, which can act as an insulator causing the temperature to rise.
These things must be checked and corrected for the fridge to operate at the correct temperature.
3. The Ice Maker is Jammed
There is a myriad of reasons why an ice maker may become jammed up with ice. But usually, it’s due to temperature fluctuations that have caused ice to melt and refreeze in unwanted locations, resulting in a blockage.
Here we’ll need to remove the casing, break apart all the jammed-up ice and then restart the system to get things working again.
4. The Door Seal isn’t Working
The plastic/rubber gasket which lines the fridge door is an important component in maintaining the fridge’s internal temperature.
Whether due to a crack, split, or something simpler like a piece of stuck food that breaks the seal which causes the fridge’s internal temperature will fluctuate a lot.
It can cause the compressor to work overtime to maintain the fridge’s internal temperature, which causes it to over-freeze the ice maker and prevent it from working.
So we need to restore the seal to the fridge so the compressor can cool things at a normal level.
5. The Water Line is Frozen
This is a common issue and is often caused by setting the freezer temperature too low, which can make the nearby water line freeze up.
So we need to check that the temperature is at the all-important 0-5 degrees F setting, then we can unfreeze the water line.
6. The Water Inlet Valve is Defective
The water inlet valve opens and closes to allow more water to flow into the ice maker when needed.
Sometimes this can become faulty, which overflows the whirlpool ice maker with water; this then freezes and clogs the system up.
We can test this component with a multimeter to see if it has continuity; if it doesn’t, it’s usually best to replace it.
7. The Water Filter is Clogged Up
The water filter is designed to catch any particulate or unwanted contaminants that are in the water before it makes their way to the Whirlpool ice maker.
Over time these deposits can build up to the point where they clog the filter up.
Ideally, the filter should be cleaned out every six months, or sometimes if they’re already too old and dirty, you can replace them.
8. The Dispenser Switch is Faulty
The dispenser switch acts as a power supply to the ice maker circuit; by depressing it, you complete the circuit, which allows the ice to flow out.
Sometimes this switch can fail, resulting in the ice dispenser not working.
You can test this switch with a multimeter; if it’s not working, it can just be replaced.
How to Fix a Whirlpool Ice Dispenser Not Working
Now we’ve taken a look at all the problems that will cause the ice dispenser to stop working, we can see that it’s usually a component issue that then causes either the waterline or the ice dispenser itself to freeze up.
Let’s now walk through how to get this defrosted and back in working order.
1. Turn the Ice Maker back On
Before doing anything else, let’s ensure the ice dispenser is switched on. If the arm is raised, you simply need to lower it to re-enable the ice dispenser.
If it’s not working after the arm has been lowered, continue reading to diagnose the issue further.
2. Maintain the Correct Temperature
In order for the ice maker to operate correctly, we need to ensure the internal temperature of the whirlpool refrigerator is maintained to prevent it from freezing up continuously.
The two main things we need to check are the door gasket which should be inspected for damage or anything that might prevent it from making an air-tight seal.
We should also clean out the condenser coils to ensure the compressor isn’t needing to work extra hard to keep the fridge cool.
To do this, you just need to take a vacuum cleaner and a brush and clean out all the dust and debris that sits between coils that are located on the back of the fridge.
3. Unjam the Ice Maker
Now it’s switched on and maintaining the correct temperature; next, we need to unjam it.
- Start by unplugging the fridge, as you shouldn’t work on it while it’s still powered (don’t worry, it won’t take long, and your food won’t spoil).
- Open the ice bin and locate the opening where the ice will fall down.
- Take a long thin object; something like a wooden spoon works great for this, and slide it up into this opening.
- Dislodge and break up all the ice that’s sitting in there.
- Now you can close the door and power the whirlpool refrigerator back up.
4. Replace the Door Seal
If the door seal is not working and it’s due to something more severe than just a bit of built-up food, it may be a crack or breach that cannot be easily repaired.
In this case, the door gasket just needs to be pulled out and replaced with a new one. Fortunately, this is quite an easy process, and you should be able to do this by yourself.
5. Unfreeze the Water Line
If the water has become frozen due to temperature fluctuations, you will still need to unfreeze the water line once you’ve set the temperature back to normal.
- Start by unplugging the refrigerator from the power supply.
- You must also turn off the water supply so fresh water doesn’t run in as you unclog it.
- Unscrew the ice bin from the freezer wall; this should be held in by two screws.
- Lift up and pull out the refrigerator ice maker from its bracket, being mindful of the two wires still plugged into the back.
- Unplug the wire harness and place it aside (ideally on a towel, as it will drip).
- Now take a hairdryer and slowly warm up the fill tube, which will be protruding from the freezer wall in the spot we removed the refrigerator ice maker from.
- This may take some time, but keep heating it, and the excess ice should fall out.
- Once you believe it’s completely clear, reconnect the ice maker and turn on the power supply and water again.
6. Replace the Water Inlet Valve
If the water inlet valve has been tested with a multimeter and deemed non-functional, it will need to be replaced.
We recommend contacting Whirlpool customer support, who will arrange a replacement valve and have someone come out to help install it for you.
7. Replace the Water Filter
Sometimes you can wash a water filter out to get some more mileage out of it. But if it’s really blocked, you’re better off just replacing it.
You can purchase a new filter from Whirlpool directly and refer to your owner’s manual for instructions on replacing it.
8. Replace the Dispenser Switch
If the dispenser switch has been tested and is also deemed non-functional, this too, will need to be replaced.
Once again, we recommend contacting Whirlpool customer support, who will help arrange for a professional to do this for you.