Why is my Kenmore refrigerator ice maker not working?

Why is my Kenmore refrigerator ice maker not working?



When most people think of Kenmore, they imagine high-end appliances — and they'd be right. When you purchase a Kenmore appliance, like a refrigerator or microwave oven, you're buying into engineering designed and built to last. 

Since Kenmore appliances are built like tanks, it can be easy to forget that these appliances can have kinks in their armor once in a while. Typically, these issues occur in places like the water line, which can result in the ice maker not making ice. 

Therefore, a malfunctioning ice maker is one of the most common repairs for a Kenmore Elite refrigerator. Fortunately, this article discusses how to resolve issues when troubleshooting your Kenmore ice maker not working.


Common causes of Kenmore refrigerator ice maker not working

If you notice the ice maker not working with your Kenmore refrigerator, there are a few things that could be wrong with it. They range from being very easy to fix to needing professional assistance. The good news is some of them are easy to rectify. 

Let’s review what could be the cause when your Kenmore refrigerator ice maker stops working. 

Ice maker abruptly stops working

Ice should not suddenly stop falling from the trays, but if it does, the Kenmore ice maker pause option was most likely activated by accident. 

If ice production suddenly stops, the ejector arm could be blocked with ice. This might happen when someone reaches in to grab ice. Also, the ejector arm can become caught in the “off” setting and go unnoticed until no ice falls from the trays.

Ice maker slowly stops working

There's a good chance that water flow has been reduced if the ice mold has started to shrink in size and shape. A frozen or clogged water line could cause a Kenmore ice dispenser to not fill with water. 

Examine the water lines at the rear of the refrigerator for noticeable kinks or clogs caused by hard water from the house line system. Use a vinegar-and-water solution to clean the pipes. If frozen water is blocking your refrigerator's water line, you can defrost it by holding a hair dryer about 6 inches above the water line.

Freezer temperature is too high

The ice maker won't work properly if the freezer temperature exceeds 10 degrees F (minus 12 degrees C). The ice maker should function well if you keep the freezer temperature at or below zero to 5 degrees F. 

You may have a problem with your freezer if the temperature doesn't fall below 15 degrees F (minus 9 degrees C). The appliance might have a cooling problem if there is dust on the coils. Check that the condenser fan is operating correctly and the condenser's coils are free of dirt. Additionally, examine the evaporator coils for frost accumulation. If frost has accumulated on the condenser coils, it could mean some part of the defrosting mechanism has malfunctioned.

Water inlet valve issue

The ice machine and water dispenser receive water through an inlet valve. The manufacturer will determine where the water-entry valve rests, among other components. However, Whirlpool and Kenmore ice makers are commonly located behind the refrigerator. Here’s how to check: 

  • Disconnect the fridge and shut off the valve's water supply before performing any maintenance. 
  • Check the screen or water filter to determine if it's clogged once you find the valve. 
  • Examine the line that feeds the valve to check if it is bulging or constrained by a bracket.

If it malfunctions or the pressure is insufficient, the ice maker won't receive water. Consequently, the ice maker cannot generate ice. If your valve’s solenoids have mechanical or electrical issues, your valve will not allow water to flow to the ice machine. 

Minerals can build up around the valve and stop it from opening, leading to mechanical failure. To test this, measure the water pressure. It's safe to assume that the water inlet valve has power flowing through it if the pressure is at least 20 psi. The water inlet valve may need replacing if the Kenmore ice maker doesn't have a flow of water despite having power and water pressure greater than 20 psi. If the issue continues, it could be time to swap out the input valve. 

Likewise, you can use a multimeter to check if the solenoid coils are connected. If one or more of the coils malfunction, the input valve will require repair or replacement. On the other hand, if the valve makes a buzzing noise but does not release any water, the solenoid may need cleaning again. 

Broken door switch

When the fridge door is open, the door switch stops ice and water from coming out. If it's a damaged switch, it will not turn on even after you press it repeatedly. 

Checking the controller for the refrigerator door is simple — you only need to push it. The switch is functional if the light goes out. If the light remains on, there is a problem with the “off” switch. Here, you can also use a multimeter to check whether or not it is damaged. In most cases, you'll have to replace a broken door switch.

Frosted evaporator coils

When the cooling system becomes frosted, evaporator coils indicate a problem with the defrost system. There are four potential causes for this malfunction: the defrost thermostat, the control board, the heater or the cold temperature sensor. 

Frozen evaporator coils or a faulty evaporator fan motor are the most common causes of an ice maker not working correctly. A malfunctioning evaporator motor or frozen evaporator coils may cause an ice maker to seem like it’s still working, but this can cause the freezer's temperature to rise, preventing the ice maker from working properly.

Low water-pressure or water-supply issue

A water inlet valve requires around 20 psi of water pressure to function. There is a way to see if there is enough water pressure in your supply line by disconnecting it from its inlet valve and holding the line over a bucket. Just activate the water supply to determine the nature of the problem. If the water flow is low, it could be a problem with the pipes or valves.

Broken ice maker mold thermostat

It is imperative to monitor the temperature of your ice maker when it generates ice cubes. This thermostat ensures that the ice maker will remove the ice cubes and replace the mold with water whenever the temperature is appropriate. If this thermostat doesn't work right, the ice maker won't make more ice. 

Use a multimeter to examine for continuity when troubleshooting a thermostat that might be faulty. Replace if there is no continuity. If the temperature becomes too high, the ice maker can fail to generate ice. This is because water freely flows via the mold at temperatures above 20 degrees F. Before you shut off the connections and cause the water to freeze and turn into ice, make sure the thermostat temperature is lower than 20 degrees.


How to diagnose Kenmore refrigerator ice maker issues

If your Kenmore refrigerator's ice maker isn't working, you might think the issue is a simple fix. But troubleshooting the ice maker can be tricky, and you must test it correctly to narrow down potential problems and determine what needs replacing.

Here is a straightforward step-by-step approach to assist you in diagnosing the problem:

  1. First, unplug your refrigerator. This will prevent any possible electrical shock while you examine it.
  2. Remove the ice bucket and any remaining ice cubes. Ensure you get rid of everything so they don't get in the way during testing later.
  3. Finally, turn off your water-supply valve (usually located under the sink) so no water flows into your refrigerator while working with the appliance's plumbing system.

If any of these tests indicate problems with your refrigerator's ice maker, we recommend contacting a professional technician as soon as possible. Be sure to have details handy, like your fridge’s model number. These steps should allow you to save time, money and headaches while narrowing down the issue with your refrigerator's ice maker.

Can you fix a Kenmore fridge ice maker yourself?

Yes, you can tackle your ice maker's issues yourself if you're up for the challenge. 

However, it's generally recommended that you have some experience with home repairs before attempting this type. Therefore, if this is your first time fixing something in your home, you're better off getting a professional to help out.

Ultimately, the takeaway is that it depends on what you've found as the issue with your fridge and how comfortable you are with attempting a repair. For example, if you find that the problem is a clogged ice tray, this isn't overly complicated to fix and can be something anyone comfortable using a screwdriver could do. If you're unsure of the issue, though, or if it becomes even more involved, it's advisable to search for a qualified repair company in your area. That way, they can come out to diagnose the problem and fix it.


Costly refrigerator repairs are covered under a Cinch warranty

So, it turns out the kitchen appliance you need so badly to store food can harm your bank account when unanticipated malfunctions occur. Luckily, the Cinch Home Services Appliances plan covers refrigerators, washing machines and other major appliances at a fraction of the purchase price (including installation, delivery and one year of parts coverage).

Suppose major repairs are needed to fix kitchen appliances that have been damaged from normal wear and tear. In that case, those who protect their fridges with Cinch get all the benefits of cheaper repairs without worrying about finding a qualified repair expert. Yes, Cinch even takes care of finding the perfect repair professional. Get your instant quote today.


Kenmore appliances enjoy an excellent reputation, so it's unusual to find your Kenmore refrigerator ice maker not working. Learn how to fix it here.

Your home protection is ready and waiting!