One of the most frustrating things that we face in our adult lives is when something in our home, an appliance usually, that we use on most days, stops working or malfunctions. Today’s kitchens are outfitted with the latest and greatest technology for making your home modern and convenient.
The only downside is that with technology constantly changing and evolving, it is hard to keep up with the tips and tricks for fixing and preventing your appliances from malfunctioning. From toasters to refrigerators, our kitchen gadgets are some of the most used appliances in our homes, so when you have something like a leaking ice machine, it can really put a damper on your day.
There are several steps you can take for this common household problem that can help you narrow down the issue and fix it quickly and efficiently.
Locating the leak
The first thing your detective skills will be needed for is knowing where the ice machine is leaking from. The machine can be leaking from the appliance itself or from the water lines that lead to it. The water supply line is a large black tube that is behind the refrigerator. This line is easily damaged if the fridge is moved or jarred and the line gets pinched or stuck. Pull out your fridge and see if the line looks okay visually.
The leak could also be coming from the fill cup located in the freezer. This cup is where the supply line deposits water to be poured into the ice cube molds inside the ice machine. If this cup is not properly installed or in the correct position, the water from the supply line will not deposit into the cup correctly which will make it seem as though there is a leak somewhere. Ice forming on the cup itself is also a sign of a faulty valve.
Easy fixes for faulty ice machines
Sometimes the fix for a leaking ice machine is as simple as adjusting the level of your refrigerator or ice machine. Your refrigerator needs to be level to be able to work properly. This also means that the floor your refrigerator is on must be level as well. If the floor slants or your appliance is missing one of its legs, putting a piece of cardboard underneath to create a level surface is a great temporary solution.
The ice machine itself must be level as well. Make sure that nothing is obstructing the machine in the freezer or causing the machine or fill cup to be tilted or skewed. The ice machine is also installed with mounting screws so it will be very important to check those and ensure that they are tight and cannot move when bumped.
More complex fixes
If you have checked the hoses, fill cups and the position of your refrigerator and ice machine, and the latter is still leaking, your problem may be more complex and involve the inlet switch or inlet valve. These two components are more complicated to replace and involve more than just shifting the position of your appliance.
Before working on the inlet switch or valve, you have to make sure that the power supply to the fridge is off. As long as you do not open the front of the refrigerator, your food will not be at risk of spoiling in the few minutes that the power will need to be off. You will also need a multimeter tool for this diagnostic.
First look at the inlet switch. If it has any corrosion or damage to it or the terminals, the switch will need to be replaced. When it comes to the valve, the process is a little more complicated and follows a few steps.
Step one: Pull out your fridge and turn off the water supply. This should be behind the refrigerator and can be done by turning the shut off valve that is on the line leading to the water valve.
Step two: Remove the lower panel on the back of the appliance using a screwdriver. Place a bowl or other basin like object underneath the valve so that if water spills or leaks from it, the water will not reach the floor.
Step three: Remove the water valves tubing that deposits the water. Using a wrench, loosen the fittings that are found on the inlet side of the valve.
Step four: The water inlet valve is held in place by a brass bracket. Use a screwdriver to uninstall the bracket, remove the valve and tubing from the outlet valve side.
Step five: There will be wires that are coming out of the terminals to the inlet valve. Before you do anything with these, label them with a system that shows you where they reconnect with for later.
Step six: Remove the wires by firmly grasping the metal connectors with needle nose pliers. Even though the power is turned off, you should never use your bare hands to work with wiring of any kind.
Step seven: Using your multimeter tool, place each of its leads on a terminal and test for continuity. There will be special setting for this that your multimeter manual can explain to you. The reading should be between 200 and 500 ohms. The ohms level to be in proper working condition should be printed on the valve.
Step eight: assuming that your ohms levels are not where they are supposed to be, you will need to replace the entire water inlet valve, there is no way to simply repair the original.
If all else fails….
Sometimes, no matter how much we think we know about fixing things, we really do need to call an expert. If you have gone through this list and still find yourself battling a leaking ice machine, call the store you got your refrigerator from. You may even have a warranty that covers this type of malfunction and the company will send out a repairman to either, fix the leak or replace the appliance.
There are usually several different handymen services or appliance repair shops that can aid you if all else fails and you need help solving the leaking ice machine mystery.