Thursday, May 3, 2012

Ice Maker Repair

An ice maker, like any toy, is a lot of fun, until it breaks.

Our house came with an ice maker, and boy you wonder how you ever lived without one.  I am not talking about the kind in your refrigerator that makes those half-moon shaped cubes that are always white and, well, unsatisfying.

No, I mean the commercial kind that makes the little square cubes.

A lot of fun, like I said, until they break.  But like anything else, you can educate yourself on how to repair something, and even some "luxury" items can be pretty inexpensive to own.   On the other hand, if your only remedy is to call someone - then forget about owning junk like this.

This website has some pretty good instructions on how to repair them.  They are remarkably simple machines.

Ours stopped working, slowly, and I had a inkling of what might be wrong.   The compressor was short-cycling, which is usually a sign of a clogged coil.  I removed the kick panel and..

The condenser coil is coated with enough lint to make a sweater!

Yuk!  It could be carefully removed with a brush, and the remainder vacuumed out.  I also cleaned out the water tank and plumbing with household vinegar.  The first batch of ice smells like a garden salad, but it works again, thankfully.

I kick myself for not checking this sooner.   The unit is only about six years old, used seasonally, and it accumulated a blanket of dust bunnies already.  Ouch!

UPDATE:  Commercial-style ice makers also require regular "cleaning" with a special lime-removing liquid.   Ours limed up and it ruined the main water pump.   eBay to the rescue with a replacement pump for about $100.  We now use the special cleaning fluid every few months, and of course, it helps to drain the cabinet of all ice and water and clean and sanitize that every so often, too!