1. Leave it broken. I could just leave it where it was, unplug is and disconnect it from the water line (or even not do that) and have a non-functioning appliance in the house. Some folks take this route. The power window in their car breaks, and they decide to live with a window that doesn't go up and down anymore. Real fun to be behind them at a toll booth.This is the cheapest option, but when you sell the house (or the car with the broken window) it says volumes about how the previous owner treated the place (or car). If this is broken, what else is? And no, saying "you can fix that" doesn't make it right (run away from people selling stuff and saying this).Plus, it just lends a general air of crappiness to your house (or car, boat or whatever) when stuff is broken. And over time, you'll have more and more broken stuff, and pretty soon you are living in (or driving) a shit hole. So this is not an option for me. I don't "live with" broken things.
2. Install a cabinet. I could just take out the ice maker and install a cabinet in its place. But since the cabinets are custom, this means I can't just buy a matching cabinet at Lowe's and install it myself, but would have to hire a cabinet maker to build and install one, and even then, it would not match and look awkward.Again, you can patch something together, but this is a house we are talking about, not some trailer hovel. The other alternative is to rip out the whole bar and install all new cabinets, and start over. Of course, this means removing the countertop, back splash, cabinets, etc. and staring over, and then re-painting and sheetrock repair and a bit of construction mess. Lots of labor and probably just as expensive as replacing the ice maker. And for what? To get rid of something.Some folks do this. The generator fails in their boat, so they tear it out and say, "Pre-wired for a generator" when they sell it, instead of "generator broke, so I threw it overboard". I guess it is one approach, but again, sort of adds to the crappiness factor, and also isn't saving much money. In fact, you are spending as much to have less.
3. Go to a cheaper ice maker. Again, most "cheaper" ice makers are 15" wide, leaving me with a 3" gap to fill. Either I have to try my hand at finish carpentry or find someone to fill the gap (a finish carpenter) and pay him to do it. The price "savings" over the stock unit evaporates quickly, and if the gap-filler isn't done right, it looks like crap. This also means more effort and work as well.Cheaper is what you pay for, and reading the reviews of these off-brand ice makers, I realize that many of them might not last even the 12 years the Kitchenaid did. So am I being penny-wise and pound-foolish? Also, all of our kitchen appliances match (white, Kitchenaid) and again, this is a house we are talking about and again, the crappiness factor. Mismatched appliances in different colors of different brands can detract from the perceived value when selling the house.With the added cost of putting in a patch panel, I am not sure this option is cheaper, either.
4. Repair the old one. Sadly, the refrigeration circuit is shot on this one (corrosion ate through one of the copper lines) so it is not feasible, or at least cost-effective to repair. I found a used one online that "needed work" but it was sold before I could snatch it up. I could have used the parts from mine to fix that. But again, appliances last about 10-15 years, and used appliances, like used tires, don't last very long, so while it would have cost less, it wouldn't have given much service. If I was selling the house next week, maybe. But we plan on staying here another decade at least (God willing).5. Buy the exact same damn thing and be done with it. While this initially seems "more expensive" than the other options, it ends up being on a par with nearly all of them in terms of cost, and in terms of labor and hassle, far less. Make one phone call, order the damn thing, and they show up and put in back in, and the bar looks like new and we have another 12 years of ice. No patch panels, no construction zone, no off-brand item for 2/3 the cost (but half the service life) - no worries!
UPDATE: A reader writes that I should have just left the dead ice maker in place or "just put in some shelves or something" which I might have done in a lesser home. But this is a half-million-dollar vacation home on a resort island, not a college dorm room. Also, although we plan on moving from here eventually, you never know when you may have to move. So leaving a gaping hole in the cabinet isn't really "saving money" as we'd have to either replace the icemaker or put a new cabinet in before selling the house. A house with a lot of broken crap in it is not going to command a very good price.