The Sub-Zero Ice Maker Guide

Ice makers are complicated. Water, electricity, plumbing, freezing cold temperatures. Ice makers are a pain in the ass. Not a problem, lets try to diagnose it for fun. However, I am probably going to recommend replacing the entire thing anyway. I once took a chance on a solenoid valve on Madison avenue, it cost a year of my college tuition. 

The First Thing You Do. 

We are dealing with water. Find your ice maker water shut off valve. It may be under your sink, maybe in your basement. If your contractor was a bone head it is located behind your fridge or somewhere inaccessible. At this point you find the shut off to your entire house water supply and drain your pipes from the lowest possible point. IE your basement. Just know how to shut your water off if shit hits the fan. 


You have to expose your ice maker. It is tucked away in your freezer. It is its own unit. Take out your shelving, put it aside. If you have a top over bottom you will need to remove your freezer drawers. Remove any screws on your side by side that may be in the way of your ice maker. Expose it. 

Does Your Ice Maker Have Power and good switch connections ?

Your Ice maker unit should have 120 volts coming into it. On newer units the power originated at the cpu and makes its way through your unit, passing through some connections eventually making it to your icemaker. I rarely find that issues in these systems have some complex electrical diagnosis. Most of these units have a switch that when engaged supplies power to the icemaker. They do this so that there is an indicators that your bucket is in the right place for your ice maker to deliver ice accurately. Sometimes on 550 and 650 models the baskets that are supposed to engage the switches fall off their tracks not engaging the switches. So if your machine has an icemaker switch, lets make sure it is being engaged. Once we are sure that it is being engaged, we will hold the switch down manually, and we will test the unit for power with a contact voltage meter. afterwards, we will disconnect the ice maker from its power clip and inspect the electrical connections for oxidation and corrosion. 


Is your fill tube clogged with ice?

Well, is it? Your ice maker has a fill tube inside the unit. it is a metal tube. Is it full of ice? Many of them have heaters on them to prevent this sort of thing, but those heaters fail eventually. Take the tube out from its mount in the back of the freezer. Inspect it, run water through it in the sink. Maybe your heater failed, maybe your solenoid sprung a leak. If you have any ice inside your ice maker tubing, grab a blow drier and get rid of it.

Run Your Ice Maker.

Do you have a 200 300 500 series? Run your ice maker with a jump out. Do you have a 600 series, newer 700 series or BI unit? Do a manual run of your ice maker cycle. Do you get enough water in your ice maker? 


good! Go on.

if you had ice in your fill tube your solenoid probably sprung a leak and your fill tube heater probably is not working anymore. you should probably replace the solenoid, the fill tube heater and the ice maker. 

Why Would I replace my ice maker too?

If its past ten years old I would just replace it. I have seen some pretty wicked water damage from questionable ice maker parts. Plus ten years old, any question about its reliability, just replace it.  

No Water?

Well, if the ice-maker ran a cycle and you did not get water I would do the following.

  1. Check fill tube and wall mount for ice
  2. Remove kick plate to expose solenoid
  3. Check for water that may have trickled down the back of the unit.
  4. Crack the nut on your solenoid valve and do a wet check.

Dont have water coming during wet check?

Call a plumber. Maybe the line is blocked up and needs to be cleared. Perhaps someone touched a valve. I am not a plumber and due to a few expensive ice maker leaks in clients homes, I respect their trade.  

I’m getting water at my valve though!

I have gotten water on a wet check, it is not trickling down the back of the unit onto the floor. Ice maker fill tube not full of ice? Have power at your ice maker (120V) and your switches are being engaged all the time? At this point I would recommend replacing the solenoid to start with, then the rest full ice’maker system if we are over ten years old. 

I would classify this as the following.

  1. New Ice Maker Unit
  2. New Ice Maker Arm 
  3. New Solenoid Valve and hardware
  4. New Fill Tube Heater
  5. Inspect Electrical connections for oxidation and shorts. 
  6.  Inspect Ice Maker Tracks and Fill Tube for cracks.

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