GE ice makers generate a few sounds at different stages of operation, but you should not have a persistent squealing noise. If you hear such an unusual sound, the cause depends on the type of GE ice maker you own. So, here are the likely reasons why your GE ice maker is squealing.
A GE ice maker squealing may be due to ice buildup jamming one or more mechanisms. Also, a failing part could be the reason, i.e., auger motor, feeler arm, etc. A GE Opal ice maker squealing may be caused by a failed defrost, mineral deposits, or loose bearings.
GE ice makers in freezers or refrigerators don’t operate the same way as countertop variants, like Opal. Thus, your investigation and troubleshooting approach depends on the type of GE ice maker and its model. Read on as I explain why your GE ice maker is squealing and how to fix it.
1. Ice Buildup Has Jammed Your GE Ice Maker’s Mechanisms
Normally, frost shouldn’t be a problem in your GE ice maker unless the defrost function isn’t working properly and at the right time. Frost or ice buildup can jam the unit’s mechanisms, and you may hear a squealing noise. This problem can affect all GE ice makers, including Opal.
Let me first talk about the ice makers inside GE freezers or refrigerators. These units can have ice buildup in and around the following parts:
- Ejector’s arm
- Feeler arm
- Control unit
- Ice maker mold
- Water inlet tube
Suppose the defrost mode isn’t working. In that case, these units may have icicle buildup inside the water inlet tube. Thus, you may hear a squealing noise when water pours out through the tube to fill the mold. Likewise, a frozen mold, lever, or control unit may make unusual sounds.
For instance, if the ejector inside the ice maker mold or the feeler arm (shut-off feature) attached to the unit is jammed, the part may make a squealing noise when operating. The same jamming issue can affect the control unit, especially the motor inside.
This ice buildup problem is also common with GE Opal Nugget makers. However, the specific jamming effect is slightly different since GE Opal doesn’t use the same ice-making technology as the units in freezers and refrigerators. Here’s what happens inside a GE Opal ice maker:
- The GE Opal ice maker draws water from the reservoir to the chilling chamber.
- The chilling chamber at the top is a cylinder-shaped ice-making unit. The GE Opal takes ice flakes from this chilling chamber and compresses them.
- The compressed nugget-like ice cubes are dispensed to the bin below.
The above mechanism is facilitated by a motor, which can be noisy if it gets jammed. In fact, a GE Opal is expected to make a squeaking noise when it is in need of a defrost cycle.
How To Fix?
The solution to ice buildup and resulting jamming problems is defrosting. All contemporary GE ice makers have an auto-defrost feature, which may not work flawlessly in some cases. As such, you should try a forced defrost. If the manual defrost option doesn’t work, let the ice thaw naturally.
A GE ice maker, whether Opal or any other model, may have a defective defrost system if the heater or thermistor doesn’t work. So, you may need to replace the heater or thermistor based on the problem. Whenever the unit doesn’t defrost on its own, focus on these two suspects.
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If you find icicle buildup inside the water inlet tube of a freezer’s GE ice maker, the problem isn’t always indicative of a failed defrost function. Sometimes, high water pressure in the tube or a failing supply valve may cause dripping. This dripping water can freeze as the unit makes ice.
Therefore, you need to inspect this water inlet valve and replace it if necessary. However, some of the other parts can fail as well, and you may hear a squealing noise.
2. GE Ice Maker Has a Damaged or Malfunctioning Component
The GE ice makers in freezers and refrigerators have a motor inside the control unit. This motor is rarely silent. You may hear a mild chugging sound and a few clicks as the motor and other parts function. However, these sounds can turn into squealing if a part is damaged.
A broken motor is almost always noisy. Likewise, if the magnets in the control unit stop working properly, the associated components may not lock into their extended or home positions, such as the feeler and ejector arms. These components may operate noisily or fail to work.
Consider the example of the ejector’s arm. The ejector may make a strange noise if the arm is in rough contact with the ice maker mold. Normally, the ejector arm should glide without unusual friction as it picks up and dispenses all the ice. However, the ejector arm won’t work flawlessly if the motor fails or the magnets malfunction.
A similar problem may occur with the feeler arm. GE ice makers have 2 types of feeler arms. One is like a lever below the ice maker and the other is a shut-off arm at the side of the unit.
The lever below the unit pulls in as the maker dispenses ice and reverts to its home position to start a new harvest cycle. If your GE ice maker has a shut-off arm on the side, it will rise as the ejector dispenses. Then, the arm will drop to its home position as the next round begins.
This feeler arm or lever may make a noise if the motor or magnet associated with its function is faulty. Also, both these types of feeler arms contain springs facilitating their home, moving, and extended positions. If the spring is failing, the feeler arm may be noisy as it operates faultily.
How To Fix?
The specific solution depends on the damaged or malfunctioning component. Here are the standard remedies based on what you find:
- You may need to replace a broken motor or get a new control unit.
- Fix a misaligned feeler arm or replace it if it is deformed beyond remedy.
- Check the spring of the feeler arm or lever and replace it if it has lost tension.
- You must replace a damaged ejector arm or get a new ice maker mold.
3. GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker Has Significant Mineral Deposits
Like ice buildup and failed defrost, mineral deposits can cause a squealing noise in a GE Opal.
Essentially, mineral deposits or buildup will jam the mechanisms in the chilling chamber. The ice flakes being chipped out and compressed may not process as smoothly and quietly. Also, a GE Opal’s dispensing mechanism could be a noisy process.
How To Fix?
You must clean your GE Opal Nugget ice maker to eliminate the mineral deposits. GE suggests using 2 quarts of water with 2 quarts of vinegar to clean your Opal. Alternatively, you can use the GE Opal cleaning kit.
4. Your GE/GE Opal Ice Maker Has Broken or Loose Bearings
Broken or loose bearings may make squealing noises in your GE ice maker. The easiest way to detect this problem is by tracking the sound. You may also visually inspect the various bearings and parts of the ice maker.
Suppose you have a GE Opal ice maker. This countertop appliance has several components at the back, such as the compressor. The compressor contains bearings while the refrigerant line and other parts have fasteners. Check if any of these parts are loose and vibrating excessively.
How To Fix?
You can tighten loose screws and bearings so that they don’t vibrate and create noise due to resonance. If a fastener or bearing is broken, match the part number or size and replace it. If you suspect the compressor or refrigerant line is the issue, contact a certified technician to fix the problem.
A GE ice maker squealing is usually due to ice buildup, a faulty defrost, or mineral deposits. The other common problems are misaligned, deformed, or malfunctioning parts. Replace a broken or damaged component and tighten all the fittings based on your inspection and findings.