One of the best conveniences of a new refrigerator is a working ice maker. Notoriously fickle, ice makers can give you years of service if you properly keep an eye on them and maintain them. Sometimes, though, they can start making mysterious, worrying noises.

If your ice maker is making a clicking noise, make sure that it isn’t just part of the normal process. Then, make sure that the water line is hooked up and working. Then, check to see if anything has frozen to the mechanism or inside the waterline. 

In this article, we will cover all the possible causes and fixes of a clicking ice maker. If none of these fixes solve the issue, you may have to replace your entire ice maker. They are generally not user-serviceable and usually must be replaced.

Before Starting

Before you start trying to fix your ice maker, go around the refrigerator and make sure that you are not hearing a noise coming from somewhere else. Oftentimes, clicking noises can be coming from things like the plumbing, electrical or other areas of the house.

Before you start pulling the ice maker out of the freezer, unplug the refrigerator. This will require you to empty it first and be certain that nothing in there will spoil. Unplugging the refrigerator will make sure that nothing will short or get accidentally wet while you are moving it around.

You will also want to be sure that the ice maker has been turned off for at least 6-8 hours before you start work. This will ensure that it will not be in the middle of making new ice when you go to work on it.

What Causes an Ice Maker to Make Clicking Noises?

Regular Processes

Oftentimes, ice makers will make a clicking or buzzing noise that is perfectly normal. This can be a part of the regular process of making ice. Motors and gears tend to make noise even when they are in perfect working order.

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Unhooked Water Line

If the water line to your ice maker is unhooked, the motor will still try to pull water out of it. This will make the clicking noise that is so characteristic of broken ice makers. A lack of water will also wear out the motor and gears quite quickly.

Frozen Machinery

If water gets into a functional part of your ice maker and freezes, it could impede the movement of mechanical parts. This is a very common issue with freezer mounted ice makers. The motor that dumps the finished ice into the hopper can easily freeze over.

Motor Issues

A new, persistent clicking could be the sign of a faulty motor or gearbox. Unfortunately, if this is the case, it usually means that you will have to replace the ice maker all together. Ice maker motors are not generally user serviceable so they can not be replaced.

How Can I Fix My Ice Maker?

Defrost It

You can defrost your ice maker if you believe it has frozen over. You can do this by leaving it unplugged or you can use a hair dryer to melt the ice if you need it done faster. This should free up any frozen machinery.

Manually Cycle It

You can manually put your ice maker through an entire cycle. You can pull the front cover off and turn the small gear counter-clockwise. This will put the ice maker through all the movements required to make ice and help reset it.

Check the Water Line

Check to make sure that your water line is connected to the ice maker and is tightened down. If your water line is leaking, this could not only cause a clicking noise but could lead to parts freezing over. Errant water in your freezer always has the potential to be an issue.

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Reset It

If your ice maker has a reset button, try pushing that and then unplugging it and plugging it back in. Usually what this does is put the ice maker through the cycle automatically. If it is frozen over, the reset button will not work.

How Can I Prevent My Ice Maker From Clicking?

Maintaining your freezer and ice maker is the best way to prevent your ice maker from clicking. If your freezer has a defrost cycle, be sure to do this at least once a month. This will help keep the hard frozen material from clinging to the inside of the ice maker.

You can also completely clear out the ice hopper at least once every two months. This will ensure that the hopper and ice maker doesn’t get backed up and blocked. A backed up hopper can easily burn out the motor and gearbox.

How Much Does it Cost to Fix My Ice Maker?

Luckily, most of the fixes for a clicking ice maker are completely free. Due to ice makers not being user serviceable, they don’t have many moving parts. This makes fixing them a fairly straightforward process.

If you do not have a hair dryer, you may have to buy one or you could buy a heat gun. Heat guns are more powerful and will defrost your ice maker incredibly quickly. They usually run anywhere from $30 to $100.

The other piece of good news is that even if you have to completely replace your ice maker, they are relatively inexpensive. Replacing the ice maker in your freezer could run from $50 to $100. If you want a separate countertop one that could be up to $200.

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What if My Ice Maker Stops Making Ice Completely?

If your ice maker has stopped making ice, the odds are that it does not have a clear, unimpeded water supply. Check the water line to your ice maker and make sure it has not frozen over. You can squeeze it up and down the length to see if it has firmed up.

You can also check the water inlet valve. This is a small valve on the side of the ice maker that can sometimes become frozen closed. If this happens, you will not be getting any water supplied to the device. This will result in no ice cubes being poured into the hopper.

Related Questions

Is a noisy fridge dangerous?

While a noisy fridge is irritating, it is usually not dangerous. A noisy fridge could be the result of a failing compressor motor or other mechanical failures. On the off chance that your fridge is making noise because the motor is straining, there is a chance it could potentially start a fire.

How do I know if my freezer is broken?

If you press your ear up against the freezer and hear noise from the motor, then you know that your freezer is working. It may need to be repaired, but it is at least running. If you hear nothing, odds are that the compressor has stopped working.

How does an ice maker know when to dump the ice?

Your ice maker has an internal thermostat that reads when the ice cubes have reached the proper temperature. The ice maker does not necessarily know when they are fully formed, but it can guess due to the temperature. If this thermostat breaks, it could affect its performance.