When you notice unusual loud noises from your ice maker, it’s time to investigate the cause. Even if you’re not an expert, there are a few steps you can take to fix the underlying issue(s) and eliminate the noise. Thankfully, the mechanics of ice makers are relatively simple to navigate.
Here’s how to stop an ice maker from making noise:
- Clear frost or ice build-up.
- Correct water supply issues.
- Inspect the ice maker’s drain line.
- Replace the fan motors.
- Replace the auger motor.
- Inspect the compressor unit.
Ice makers tend to become noisy due to wear and tear on certain components, but that should not render them useless. The rest of this article will guide you on how you can fix those issues and enjoy a quiet, efficient service from your ice maker.
1. Clear Frost or Ice Build-Up
Ice and frost can build up in the moving components of the ice maker, which include the fan blades and auger motor. When this happens, the parts struggle to move, causing grinding noises from all the friction.
When ice builds up in these components, it might be a sign of an underlying problem, and you may eventually need to consult an expert. However, you can quickly resolve the issue by unplugging the refrigerator or ice maker and leaving the door open overnight. Although this method takes a long time, it is the safest and surest way to get rid of ice or frost from your ice-maker.
Remember to transfer any food stored in the refrigerator into a cooler so it doesn’t go rancid.
Some people recommend using a hairdryer to defrost the ice maker faster; however, this method is unsafe as the hot air from the dryer could melt some of the plastic parts and insulation, causing expensive damage. It may offer a quick solution, but it is simply not worth the risk.
One long-term solution to keep your ice maker from regularly freezing over is reducing the freezer’s temperature. Although the freezer and the ice maker run independently, extremely low freezer temperatures can affect the ice maker by freezing up water in the supply pipes, which clogs them up and results in a noisy operation.
2. Correct Water Supply Issues
The ice maker relies on the water inlet to make ice. The ice maker will make a loud humming or ticking noise if no water comes in. It will also be noisy if the water pressure is too high or low.
To correct these issues, follow these steps:
- Confirm whether the water supply is on. The ice maker water line is a plastic or copper pipe located at the back of the fridge. This water line should connect to the cold water pipe under the kitchen sink. The supply valve, which regulates water flow into the ice maker, should be open. Free-standing ice makers will have a water reservoir, so confirm this has water in it.
- Inspect and replace the water filter. A clogged or absent water filter will affect the water supply to the ice maker. The filter must be cleaned regularly and replaced every nine months to prevent clogging and allow water to move into the ice maker freely. You should contact the ice maker or refrigerator manufacturer to purchase replacements for a missing or faulty water filter to get genuine and compatible products.
- Check the water pressure. Water pressure between 40 to 120 pounds per square inch (2.81 to 8.44 kilograms per centimeter squares) is ideal for an ice maker. These detailed articles contain step-by-step information on how to manually measure and adequately adjust the water pressure to your ice maker, thereby resolving the noise problem.
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3. Inspect the Ice Maker’s Drain Pump
The drain pump’s purpose is to pump water needed to make ice from the reservoir of the ice maker. If this pump is clogged or faulty, it will get quite noisy.
Unclogging the drain pump can be done by allowing the fridge to defrost overnight so the ice jam melts completely and water flows freely. To do this, you must unplug the ice maker and leave the refrigerator or portable ice maker door open through the night.
If this doesn’t work, the drain pump may be faulty, and you need to replace it. The Whirlpool Drain Pump Kit is a universal pump drain compatible with many brands you can order from Amazon. You do require some previous repair experience to be able to install it properly, so it would be best to consult an expert if you don’t.
4. Replace the Fan Motors
Evaporator and Condenser fans can succumb to wear and tear over time, resulting in a noisy ice maker.
However, before replacing them, you need to confirm that the noise they produce does not come from an ice jam.
If defrosting does not work, then check for these signs of wear and tear on both fans:
- Misaligned fan blades.
- Fan blades no longer turn when the ice maker is on.
- Missing screws.
- Broken parts.
- Worn out electric wires.
- Loud humming or grinding.
Contact your manufacturer for information on where to buy replacement fan blades or fan motors to get compatible and authentic replacements. A reputable maintenance specialist can also offer some much-needed advice on replacement options, as well as doing the actual installation.
5. Replace the Auger Motor
The auger motor is the part of the ice maker that rotates to push fresh ice into the ice bin. If this component is suffering from an ice jam or is defective, there will be a grinding noise from the ice maker. Follow the overnight defrosting method described earlier, and if the motor is still noisy, consider a replacement.
This Gear Motor Replacement from Amazon is ideal, as it’s compatible with many brands and is easy to install.
This youtube video details the step-by-step process for replacing a faulty auger motor:
When installing the auger motor, ensure that you use the ice maker manual for details on how to remove the part safely. It would be best if you also remembered to turn off the ice maker and water supply before beginning any repairs.
6. Inspect the Compressor Unit
It’s safe to say that the compressor unit does most of the work in an ice maker. A noisy compressor unit is a sign that the part is malfunctioning and may need replacement.
Malfunctioning ice maker parts may also be responsible for a noisy compressor unit, so begin by inspecting them using the methods mentioned above before considering the replacement of the compressor unit.
These signs can help you further ascertain whether the compressor unit requires replacement:
- Ice maker is making significantly less ice than it should.
- Overheating of the compressor unit.
- Oil leaks from the compressor unit.
Replacing a compressor unit is a complex process that requires expertise. First, you need to get a replacement part from the manufacturer, then identify a competent expert to do the installation. Thankfully, there are several maintenance specialists you can contact online. An even better option is to get a recommendation from someone you trust.
Ice makers generally make subtle hissing, crashing, or grinding noises when operating, so these should not bother you too much. However, when you hear unusually loud noises, you should investigate further.
Ice jams tend to be the usual suspect and often the simplest to resolve. If defrosting the ice maker does not work, you need to pinpoint exactly where the noise comes from and assess whether the part needs replacement.
Whenever in doubt, contact a reputable maintenance specialist to diagnose and repair the problem.