This is an article that you would find helpful if your GE ice maker doesn’t work. Read to find out how to fix the problem.
How Does a GE Refrigerator Ice Maker Work?
Here is the process through which a GE refrigerator ice maker works to make ice:
Step 1: Filling the Ice Mold
First, the water valve opens to let water into the ice maker. This water fills the ice mold, which is the tray in which the cubes of ice are formed.
The valve works with a solenoid, which is the device that powers its movement. If the valve fails, it is usually because the solenoid is no longer receiving power or is defective.
Step 2: Freezing the Water
Once water fills the mold, the freezing begins. There is a thermostat in the ice maker. Its job is to keep an eye on the water temperature.
Now, the ice maker needs a temperature of 15 degrees Fahrenheit, at least, in order to begin making ice. However, it is not the ice maker that generates the temperature; it is the freezer. In other words, the temperature in the freezer directly affects ice production.
As soon as the desired temperature is reached, the thermostat in the ice maker shuts off an electrical circuit switch. This is in order for the harvest cycle to begin.
Step 3: Harvesting the Ice
There are two levels in the harvest cycle. The first level is when the heater in the ice maker loosens the ice that has formed in the mold.
Once the electrical circuit switch shuts off, the heater on the ice mold turns on. The heater looks like a coil right under the mold.
The second level is the ejection of the ice cubes. Inside the ice maker, there is a stripper ramp. And on the ramp, there are notches made of plastic. These notches line up with the ejector blades.
To eject the ice, the ejector blades move through the notches. And as they move, they push the ice up and out of the ice mold. And when they are out, they dump into the ice bucket.
As soon as all the ice is out, the ejector drops back in place, throwing the electrical circuit switch. When it throws the switch, the water inlet valve activates and opens again to fill the ice mold with water.
Step 4: Going into the Next Cycle
If the ice maker has a feeler arm, it goes up to turn the ice maker off once ice fills the mold or bucket. And if it is a paddle, it pulls in under the ice maker for the same reason.
However, after ejecting all the ice, the arm drops down to turn the ice maker on for the next cycle. If it is a paddle, it pushes out to the side of the ice maker.
The ice maker won’t go into the next cycle until the arm is fully down or fully pushed out. This is to prevent making too much ice.
If a GE ice maker doesn’t work, a step in this process has failed.
Watch this video to see the basic workings of an ice maker…
Why Isn’t My GE ice Maker Working?
There are a few reasons why your GE ice maker is not working. They are:
1. Water Inlet Valve Is Malfunctioning
The inlet valve is controlled electrically. It gets the power to open and allow water to flow into the ice maker mold. Now if a GE ice maker doesn’t work, look at the valve.
If voltage drops or there is no power to the component, it won’t work. And without water, the ice maker won’t work in making ice.
Also, the inlet valve needs good water pressure to open and close. If the pressure is too high or too low, you will find that the valve is not working as it should. And considering the important role it plays in getting the ice maker to work, the machine may not work at all.
2. Temperature Is too High
The temperature in the freezer, which is the usual location of the ice maker, should not be above 5 degrees Fahrenheit or -15 degrees Celsius. Otherwise, the ice maker will not work properly.
If for some reason, the setting has to be higher than this, it should be higher than 10 degrees Fahrenheit or -12 degrees Celsius. Within these ranges, the ice maker works optimally.
A high temperature will cause the ice maker not to work. Even if it manages to work, you may find that the ice is too soft, small, or crushed.
Dirty condenser coils are also another factor to consider. If a significant amount of dirt builds on them, the refrigerator will have a hard time keeping the temperature cold.
You may even find it running constantly to keep up. As a result, it will generate too much heat that makes it warm. And the ice maker won’t work at such a temperature.
In addition to the above, check the condense fan and evaporator or cooling coils. If the fan is no longer working, the compressor and coils will be too hot.
And if the evaporator coils have an accumulation of ice on them, they can’t cool air for circulation. Consequently, the freezer won’t cool enough for the ice maker to work.
3. Ice Module Has Failed
This module is an electrically powered switch. Once the ice is ready to be ejected, it triggers the ejector blades into action.
Once all the ice is out, it sets the inlet valve in motion to open and to allow water to fill the ice mold again.
However, if it fails, this process won’t happen. In fact, the ice maker will not work at all.
4. Switch Is Faulty
The switch is likely to be faulty. It may not be receiving power anymore. And if the switch is faulty, the ice maker will remain off and not work.
Additionally, the switch may simply be off. Sometimes, while moving items around the freezer, you may accidentally switch the machine off. Also, the arm could be in the up position, keeping the ice maker from making ice.
5. Thermostat Is Defective
The thermostat, which is built into the ice maker, keeps an eye on the water in the ice mold. A soon as the mold gets to a preset temperature, usually 15 degrees Fahrenheit, the ejector blades eject the ice and a new cycle begins.
But if the thermostat becomes defective, the ice maker will not make ice. In fact, it will stop working.
6. Water Filter Is Old
An old water filter becomes clogged. And a clogged one prevents the free and easy flow of water to the ice maker and even the dispenser.
Furthermore, an improperly installed water filter won’t work and a damaged one will only leak water into the refrigerator.
7. Ice Maker Is Damaged
If a GE ice maker doesn’t work, check the ice maker. And if one part of the ice maker gets damaged, the ice maker is likely to stop working. Sometimes, you may be able to find the individual part without having to buy the entire assembly. Other times, you will have to replace everything.
Check out these other articles…
How to Get a GE Ice Maker to Work
To get your GE ice maker to work again, do the following:
1. Replace the Water Inlet Valve
Take a multimeter and test the solenoid of the inlet valve. Check it for power. Also, check the pressure of the water coming to the valve.
For the pressure, you may need a certified plumber to do this. And if you have a filtration system in place, it may be affecting the pressure.
Now, if the valve is getting power and the water pressure is enough to operate it, the valve needs a replacement. Be sure to buy one using the model number of your GE refrigerator.
2. Lower the Temperature
Check the setting of the temperature. It needs to rest within the recommended range of 0 degrees and 5 degrees Fahrenheit. The ice maker will work best in this range.
Make sure the unit is not in the way of direct sunlight or any other heat source. Also, make sure the door seal works perfectly so that the internal temperature remains cold.
Clean the Coils
To help maintain a cool temperature internally, clean the condenser coils. Use a vacuum cleaner brush head or a condenser cleaning brush.
Ensure you clean them regularly as recommended, once or twice a year.
3. Change the Ice Module
To fix this fault, be sure that the feeler arm is down or in the On position. If the ice maker is the type that uses a plastic paddle, be sure it is pushed out.
Now, if this is in place, look at the blades of the ejector. If any ice is stuck, remove it. However, if none of these applies, find a certified technician to use other test points to troubleshoot and fix the problem.
4. Install a New Switch
With a multimeter, check the continuity of the switch. If it is still working properly, you should find continuity. But if you don’t, replace the switch.
5. Replace the Thermostat
The thermostat must show continuity when you test it using a multimeter. But for this to happen, the temperature of the ice maker must not exceed 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
So if there is no continuity when the temperature is at the correct point, replace the thermostat.
6. Buy a New Water Filter
If the filter is older than 6 months, replace it, fitting it properly while doing so. And if the head has any damage, replace it.
Find out the model of the GE refrigerator you own. Then, with this knowledge, buy a new water filter. Using the wrong type affects the functionality of the water in the refrigerator or ice maker.
Follow the steps laid out in the user manual of the refrigerator to install it. The location of the filter and the process of removing and installing it differ from one model to another.
The change filter indicator on the display usually alerts you whenever it is time to replace the filter. Ignoring it only leaves you with contaminated water or with an ice maker that doesn’t work.
7. Replace the Ice Maker
Ensure you buy the right fit for your refrigerator model. That is if you are unable to find individual parts replacements for the ones that failed. This is especially true for older models.
Alternatively, here is a video showing how to fix a GE ice maker that stopped working in an affordable way…
Will a GE Ice Maker Work without Filter?
A GE ice maker will work without a water filter but only if there is a bypass plug in place. GE usually adds the bypass plug to the refrigerators that use water filters.
Without either the filter or the plug, the ice maker will shut off and not work, along with the water and ice dispensers if applicable.
To be sure, remove any existing filter and try the water dispenser. If it runs without the filter or bypass plug, you may be able to use the ice maker without a filter. But this is not recommended because of contaminants in the water.
However, if the water doesn’t dispense, which is likely what will happen with a GE refrigerator, install the bypass plug. The ice maker and dispenser will work with it.
Note: Newer GE refrigerator models that use the RPWFE filter must have one installed before the ice maker can work. Without this specific filter, which comes with a Radio Frequency Identification chip, the ice maker will shut down.
If your GE ice maker doesn’t work, check the water inlet valve, freezer temperature, ice maker module, switch, thermostat, and even the ice maker itself. Replace the defective ones.
However, if none of the above works or you are in doubt about fixing it yourself, contact GE Cares, report the issue, and request service.
Otherwise, use the chatbox to your right to chat with any of the technicians. You don’t need to book an appointment or have an expensive in-house call.
Always unplug the refrigerator before you carry out any repair or diagnostic work on it.