How to Fix an Ice Maker in a Whirlpool Refrigerator

How to Fix an Ice Maker in a Whirlpool Refrigerator

Is your Whirlpool ice maker not making ice, leaking, or otherwise not working? It can be incredibly frustrating when your ice maker stops working, especially when you want to enjoy a cold, refreshing beverage. Luckily, there are a few troubleshooting steps you can take before calling for repair. This comprehensive guide will walk you through troubleshooting and fixing your Whirlpool ice maker when it’s not working.

Things You Should Know

Before delving into the specific troubleshooting steps for your Whirlpool ice maker, it’s crucial to have a solid understanding of its essential components and functions. This preliminary knowledge sets the foundation for effective problem-solving by familiarizing yourself with the control arm, freezer temperature settings, proper ice tray insertion, shelf placement, refrigerator leveling, and potential ice obstructions.

Understanding the role of the door switch, water line condition, fill valve alignment, and the importance of regular water filter replacement is equally essential. This preliminary insight ensures a more informed and successful approach to addressing ice maker problems.

1. Ensure the Control Arm Is Lowered and Isn’t Obstructed

The control arm is a fundamental component of your Whirlpool ice maker, playing a pivotal role in its operation. It is a lengthy metal bar extending across the ice tray within your refrigerator’s freezer compartment. Its primary function is to monitor the ice production process and ensure it operates efficiently.

When the ice tray reaches its maximum capacity and becomes full, the control arm is triggered to raise, a crucial signal for the ice maker to cease production. This prevents the ice tray from overfilling and potentially causing a mess or damaging the ice maker itself.

Before delving into any troubleshooting procedures, confirming that the control arm is positioned correctly is imperative. Specifically, it should be lowered without obstructions that might hinder its movement. To access the ice maker compartment for inspection or maintenance, you can do so by pressing the release button and removing the ice tray.

Typically, in most Whirlpool refrigerator models, you’ll locate the ice maker compartment in the upper-left corner of the freezer. However, it’s worth noting that on specific refrigerator models, the ice maker may be within the door for accessibility and convenience. Understanding and ensuring the proper functioning of the control arm is an essential first step in diagnosing and resolving ice maker issues.

2. Set the Freezer Temperature To 0 °F (−18 °C)

Maintaining the proper freezer temperature is critical in ensuring your Whirlpool ice maker functions optimally. Set your freezer’s temperature to 0 °F (−18 °C) to create an ideal environment for ice production. However, relying solely on the freezer’s general setting is insufficient. It would help if you also inspected the ice compartment’s temperature, ensuring it does not exceed 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

If the temperature inside the ice compartment becomes too warm, it can trigger an automatic shutdown of the ice maker. This can disrupt the ice-making process and lead to ice-maker issues. Conversely, frigid temperatures within the compartment can result in the freezing of essential components, causing them to malfunction or stop working altogether.

Therefore, it’s crucial to strike a balance within the recommended temperature range to ensure ice’s consistent and efficient production. Proper temperature maintenance is a critical factor in preventing ice-related problems and maintaining the reliability of your Whirlpool ice maker.

3. Properly Insert the Ice Tray

When you’re reinstalling the ice tray into the ice maker compartment of your Whirlpool refrigerator, it’s essential to ensure a smooth and secure fit. The ice tray should be able to slide into its designated position and latch securely shut. If you encounter any resistance or difficulty, it’s imperative to investigate the cause.

Often, the culprit may be ice obstructing the path of the ice tray. Ensuring that the tray fits correctly and is free from obstructions is vital because any misalignment or hindrance can disrupt the ice-making process, potentially leading to issues with ice production. A properly inserted and securely latched ice tray is essential for the seamless operation of your ice maker.

4. Verify the Shelf Placement

Certain Whirlpool refrigerators incorporate a specific shelf where the ice tray is positioned. It’s crucial to verify that this shelf is present and correctly positioned within the freezer compartment. The shelf’s proper placement is essential because it directly impacts the functioning of the control arm within the ice maker. The control arm’s operation can be disrupted if the frame is missing or positioned incorrectly.

This disruption may lead to undesirable consequences, such as the ice maker ceasing to function or producing excessive ice. Ensuring the correct installation of this shelf is pivotal in maintaining the precise mechanics of your Whirlpool ice maker and preventing potential issues.

5. Ensure the Refrigerator Is Level

Maintaining a level refrigerator is paramount in preventing various operational issues, particularly concerning your Whirlpool ice maker. When a fridge is not balanced correctly, it can lead to problems such as melted ice failing to reach the drain, resulting in a leaky ice maker. Using a level is a straightforward but vital step in this regard.

By ensuring that your refrigerator is balanced correctly, you facilitate the proper water flow and the ice maker’s efficient operation. This preventive measure helps avoid potential leaks and contributes to your appliance’s overall reliability and longevity.

6. Clear Ice Obstructions

Inspecting the ice tray for substantial ice clumps is crucial in troubleshooting your Whirlpool ice maker. If left unchecked, these ice clumps can impede the ice-making process by blocking the auger or clogging the chute. When such obstructions occur, they prevent the ice from smoothly dropping into the collection bin.

To address this issue, you have two primary methods: firstly, using plastic utensils to clear the ice clumps gently, and secondly, allowing the ice maker to defrost naturally. Both approaches effectively eliminate the hindrances, ensuring uninterrupted ice production and a properly functioning ice maker.

Clear Ice Obstructions

7. Check the Fill Tube

Checking the fill tube, usually situated behind the ice maker, is a crucial step in troubleshooting your Whirlpool ice maker. If your freezer’s temperature drops too low, the fill tube can freeze over, obstructing water flow into the ice mold. To address this issue, you must remove the ice tray and then the ice maker to access the fill tube.

Once exposed, you can thaw the fill tube using warm water or a hair dryer. Melting the fill tube effectively restores the proper flow of water, allowing your ice maker to resume its normal ice production process, and helps rectify the problem caused by a frozen fill tube.

8. Verify the Door Switch

Most refrigerators have door switches that control the lights and ice maker. Locate the door switch, which is usually a shaft above the door or on the side. Press the door switch and ensure that the lights turn off when pressed. The door switch may need replacement if the lights do not turn off. A malfunctioning door switch can prevent the ice maker from turning on.

9. Examine the Water Line

The water line is a small plastic or copper tube that connects the water faucet to the water valve at the back of the refrigerator. Check the water line for any signs of damage, kinks, or clogs. Water leaks inside the freezer can indicate a water line issue, which would disrupt the functioning of your ice maker. Additionally, ensure that the water line is connected to a fully operational faucet, with no leaks at the hose’s connection to the fixture.

10. Align the Fill Valve and Fill the Cup

The fill valve, equipped with a spigot, is typically near the ice tray. Ensure that the fill valve is correctly aligned with the fill cup. Misalignment between these components can result in the filled cup not receiving the necessary water to make ice.

11. Replace the Water Filter

Regular maintenance is essential for your Whirlpool ice maker. Changing your Whirlpool water filter every six months is recommended to prevent sediment buildup and maintain water flow to the ice maker. If you experience low water pressure or your ice tastes unusual, it may be time to replace the filter. Refer to your refrigerator’s documentation for guidance on locating and replacing the water filter. Using a filter suitable for your specific refrigerator model is essential, as some after-market filters may need to perform more effectively.

12. Consider Professional Repair

If you’ve gone through these troubleshooting steps and are still facing issues with your ice maker, consider professional repair or replacement. Ice makers comprise numerous components, and diagnosing the problem may require specialized expertise. You can contact a local appliance repair service, the retailer where you purchased your refrigerator, or Whirlpool’s official service page to schedule a repair.


A malfunctioning ice maker in your Whirlpool refrigerator can be resolved through systematic troubleshooting steps. You can often get your ice maker back up and running without requiring extensive repairs by ensuring proper control arm placement, maintaining the right freezer temperature, and addressing various potential issues. However, if the problem persists, feel free to seek professional assistance to enjoy the convenience of ice-cold beverages.


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