By Steve Greer
We have always turned off the home ice maker in the refrigerator when we leave for a trip of any length. It always seemed like a good idea, but I didn’t realize how much until recently.
While at home the other day, I heard the ice maker dump the ice and a few seconds later the water started running for the refill as usual… And then it just kept running and running! I ran to the refrigerator and opened the freezer door of the side-by-side unit and cut off the ice maker, which stopped the water flow. Of course, some water ran onto the floor and a lot just froze as it hit the items in the freezer.
What if the ice maker had just kept running?
I hate to think of the possibilities if it had just kept running. It would have filled the freezer and maybe even pushed open the door and slowly flooded the kitchen. And this would have kept going for how many days or weeks during our next trip. Scary thought!
If the ice maker is full, it shouldn’t run. But there are those badly timed power failures… Murphy’s Law predicts it will be a lengthy power outage at the same time the ice maker fails.
I removed the ice maker and performed several electrical tests but found no issues with the motor or the ice mold heater. It appeared that the motor was just weak after 16 years and wasn’t able to push the ice cubes out of the mold. So, the solution was to install a new one – which gave us peace of mind.
What did become apparent was there doesn’t seem to be a fail-safe mode for this simple mechanical device. This ice maker design is very typical and used in many refrigerators. However, I am not aware of what type of ice makers are used in new refrigerators. Hopefully, a fail-safe feature has been added.
If needed, turning off the ice maker may be an item to add to your travel checklist before your next trip.
Thanks for the kitchen-saving tip, Steve!