While not quite as convenient as an ice dispenser located on the fridge door, internal ice makers have the added benefit of being situated inside the freezer to utilize the natural cooling of that area to be as energy efficient as possible.
Unfortunately, just like ice dispensers, ice makers can be prone to breaking and will stop producing ice.
Needless to say, this is a real problem, especially in those hot summer months when you need to cool your drinks.
So in this article, we’re going to explain all the main reasons why your ice maker will stop working and then walk through how to fix this problem.
Why is your Whirlpool Ice Maker Not Working?
Most of the time, when we encounter an ice maker not working, it’s due to some kind of blockage caused by an excessive buildup of ice. So by simply unblocking it, we can restore the whirlpool refrigerator ice maker to working order.
1. The Ice Maker has been Turned Off
While it might seem obvious, it’s an easy thing to overlook. Many users don’t even realize their ice maker has an off button.
Above the ice-making mechanism is a small arm that will disable the ice maker. The point of this is you might not want the ice maker working during the wintertime as it tends to over-freeze and cause problems.
When this arm is in the up position it means the ice-making circuit is bypassed and the ice maker has been disabled, so by pulling it down you can re-enable the Whirlpool refrigerator ice maker.
2. Temperature Issues
For your ice maker to operate at optimum efficiency, Whirlpool recommends the freezer temperature be maintained between 0 to 5 degrees F.
When the temperature fluctuates heavily it can cause ice to melt and then refreeze which can easily clog up the mechanism. So maintaining a consistent temperature is vital.
One of the most common causes of temperature fluctuations is the condenser coils becoming clogged up with dust and hair. This can insulate the coils and cause temperature fluctuations within the freezer.
Similarly, if the door gasket isn’t correctly sealed it will cause warm air to get into the freezer.
Steps should be taken to ensure the freezer can maintain a consistent temperature otherwise the ice maker’s going to end up blocking up.
3. The Ice Makers Jammed Up
To create ice cubes the ice maker forms ice around small metal fingers which then heat up to eject the cubes and dispense them into the ice bin.
Sometimes a cube or two might not correctly eject from the finger, then new water will flow in and freeze over the top of an already-formed ice cube. Before you know it the whole system is jammed up with ice.
Fortunately, all we need to do to fix this problem is defrost and then remove the excess ice from the maker and then it will return to working order.
4. The Water Line is Frozen
The water supply line carries the water from the inlet valve into the ice maker.
Sometimes this line may get too cold for a myriad of reasons, but commonly it’s the condenser coils being blocked with causes the compressor to work overtime, which then freezes the water supply line.
This line will need to be thawed out before water will flow into the ice maker again.
5. The Water Filter’s Clogged Up
The water filter is part of the ice supply chain and is designed to filter any foreign objects or contaminants from the water before it gets used in the Whirlpool refrigerator. We are going to be drinking this water after all.
However these filters, over time, can become so clogged up that they reduce the amount of water than can flow into the Whirlpool refrigerator, which then causes ice production problems.
Whirlpool recommends changing the water filter every six months. The good news is this is very easy to do and takes less than 5 minutes.
6. A Water Inlet Valve Failure
The water inlet valve is a small component that opens and closes upon instruction from the fridge to let water flow in, or block it as needed.
Sometimes water inlet valves can fail and not produce enough pressure to keep the water out, which results in an excess of water flowing into the machine and clogging everything up.
The water inlet valve will need to be tested for functionality, and if it’s found to be faulty or worn out then it will need to be replaced.
7. The Thermostat is Faulty
The job of the thermostat is to monitor the internal temperature of the freezer and then instruct the compressor to turn on and cool the machine when it gets too hot.
In some situations, the thermostat may not be operating correctly which then causes the ice machine to get too hot or have its temperature fluctuate which as we’ve discussed will clog it up.
We can perform a standard continuity test on the thermostat to check it’s working, and if it’s found to be faulty this too will need to be replaced.
8. A Water Supply Problem
Even if the ice machine and all associated components are working just fine, if there isn’t a stable supply of water going to the fridge it’s not going to function.
A very common culprit of this is due to a kink in the water line which will restrict the flow of water, or sometimes the water line may not be correctly connected or the valve is turned off.
How to Fix a Whirlpool Ice Maker Not Working
Fortunately, most of the problems with a Whirlpool ice maker are easily serviced with minimal tools. So now let’s get this problem corrected and your ice maker back in working order quickly and easily.
1. Turn the Ice Maker Back On
Before we do anything else we need to make sure the ice maker is turned on. We can do this by changing the arm from being raised to being lowered. The switch is mounted to the side of the ice maker which is located inside the freezer.
If this doesn’t solve the issue then leave the arm in the on position and continue reading.
2. Keep a Consistent Temperature
Temperature fluctuations can cause blocking inside the ice maker. So we need to ensure everything is as consistent and stable as possible.
Start by cleaning out all the dust and debris from in between the condenser coils so they can properly dissipate heat. You can use any old brush and ideally a vacuum to suck up all the debris as you loosen it.
Next, you should check the freezer gasket to make sure there’s no food buildup or items stuck on it that may be breaching the seal. If you notice any significant crack or damage to it then you should replace it with a new one.
3. Unjam the Ice Maker
When excess has built up inside the ice maker it will stop any ice from being able to flow into the ice bin.
Here we just need to use a little bit of brute force (but not too much) to loosen and pull away the ice that’s built up.
The back of a wooden spoon can work great for this as you can break up the ice without any risk of damaging the freezer. Avoid using any sharp tools like knives.
Remove as much built-up ice as you can from inside the freezer.
4. Unclog the Frozen Water Line
To unclog the water line we simply need to introduce heat to it which will melt the ice.
If you have a turkey baster to hand this can work great, all you need to do is fill it with hot water and pipe it into the water line, which will melt all the built-up ice.
Alternatively, something like a hairdryer can also work well. Just move it slowly up and down the water line to melt the ice. Try not to leave it in one spot for too long as it can damage the plastic if it’s left for too long.
5. Replace the Water Filter
If it’s been six months, then it’s time to replace the water filter. Here’s how to do that:
- Open the water filter cover. Depending on which fridge model you have it will be located either in the base grille or in the upper right-hand corner inside the fridge.
- Remove the old filter and discard it.
- Take the new filter and remove the packaging that covers the o-rings, and ensure the o-rings are sat in their allocated spot.
- Insert the new filter into the fridge by sliding it in, you may need to rotate it slightly so the notches properly align with the filter housing grooves.
- Keep pushing until you hear it snap into place.
- Run approx 4 gallons of fresh water down the water line to ‘flush’ the new filter.
6. Replace the Water Inlet Valve
If the water inlet valve has failed it will need to be replaced. As this is quite challenging to do by yourself we recommend contacting Whirlpool customer support who will help arrange for a technician to do this for you.
7. Replace the Thermostat
Likewise, if you have tested the thermostat with a multimeter and found it to be nonfunctional then this too will need to be replaced.
Once again you should contact Whirlpool support who will help you through this process.
8. Ensure the Water is being Supplied Properly
The three things we need to check here are, first, that there are no kinks in the water line that may be restricting water flow.
Secondly, you should make sure the water line is properly connected to the fridge, and there are no gaps/leaks.
Finally, you should make sure your homes water valve is opened the whole way. If it’s only partially open, it won’t be able to supply enough water to the fridge.