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Kitchenaid Ice Maker Troubleshooting and How to Guide

Kitchenaid Ice Maker Troubleshooting and How to Guide

Knowing how to troubleshoot a KitchenAid ice maker can save you both time and money. Most of the time, issues with these appliances can be fixed easily, without the need of hiring a technician or buying an expensive replacement part. If you are having trouble with your KitchenAid ice maker, here is a guide with easy-to-follow troubleshooting instructions to help you get around some of the common problems.

Kitchenaid Ice Maker Not Filling with Water

A frozen line, missing filter, and/or a closed or defective water inlet valve could be some the possible cause why an ice maker is not filling with water.

If you have such a problem with your unit, try these troubleshooting instructions to resolve the issue:

  • Check to make sure that the filter is in place and whether it is clogged. If the filter hasn’t been changed in more than nine months, replace it with a new one.
  • Check to confirm that the water supply valve is open and whether there are any leaks. Replace faulty water valve.
  • Check the water lines running from the water valve. Straighten any kinks and inspect for blockages such as ice inside the lines. Defrost the water fill tube if necessary.

How to Operate the Kitchenaid Ice Maker

Operating your KItchenAid ice maker properly enables you to get the best possible results.

When you first start your ice maker, the water pan will fill and the system will rinse itself before starting to make ice. The rinsing process takes about 5 minutes. If the water supply to the ice maker is turned off, be sure to set the ice maker control to OFF.

Check this too: Whirlpool Ice Maker How to & Troubleshooting Guide

Understanding the ice making process is key to operating your unit properly, which is as follows:

  1. Water is constantly circulated over a freezing plate. As the water freezes into ice, the minerals in the water are rejected. This produces a sheet of ice with low mineral content.
  2. When the desired thickness is attained, the ice sheet is released and slides into a cutter grid. The grid divides the sheet into individual cubes.
  3. The water containing the rejected minerals is drained after each freezing cycle.
  4. Fresh water enters the machine for the next ice making cycle,
  5. Cubes fall into the storage bin. When the bin is full, the ice maker shuts off automatically and restarts when more ice is needed.

Using the Controls

  1. To start ice production, press ON/OFF.
  2. To stop ice maker operation, press ON/OFF.

Note that pressing the on/off button does not shut off power to the ice maker. Also, allow 24 hours to produce the first ice batch. Discard the first 2 batches.

Max Ice Mode

Select the max ice mode when you have an upcoming need for a large amount of ice and the ice bin is low or empty.

  • Press MAX ICE while the ice maker is on. The indicator light will illuminate.
  • Press MAX ICE again to turn the feature off. The light indicator will turn off.
  • The Max Ice feature will be on when you first turn on the unit. It will turn off after 24 hours.


Clean your ice maker when the “Cleaning Needed” light is illuminated or 9 months has elapsed or ice production decreases significantly.

Setting the controls (KitchenAid automatic ice maker 2181092)

  1. Select ice thickness. Operation in different room temperatures may require readjusting the ice thickness control knob toward “Thick” or “Thin”. Do not set control to maximum thickness or the unit may malfunction.
  2. To start the normal ice making cycle, turn the cycle control knob to “ON”.
  3. To stop ice maker operation, turn cycle control knob to “OFF”.

Changing the bin door panel

You can easily change the color of the front panel on the storage bin door.

To change the bin door panel:

  1. Open the storage bin door. Remove the two screws on the top of the door which hold the handle.
  2. Loosen the screws in both of the side trim pieces.
  3. Remove the handle and the handle insert.
  4. Slide the panel out carefully.
  5. Choose the color you want to show and carefully slide the panel back into the door.
  6. Replace the handle insert and tighten the screws in both side trim pieces.

Changing the lower access panel

  1. Unplug or disconnect power to ice maker.
  2. Remove the two screws in the lower access panel and the one from the center of the front panel support. Pull the bottom forward and then pull down to remove the lower access panel.
  3. Remove the two screws from the top panel trim and remove the top trim.
  4. Slide the panel out carefully.
  5. Choose the color you want to show and carefully slide back the panel into the lower access panel.
  6. Replace the top trim and screws. Replace the lower access panel assembly and screws.
  7. Plug back in or reconnect power to the ice maker.

Changing the light bulb

To replace the light bulb on top of the storage bin, open the bin door and follow these instructions:

  1. Unplug the ice maker or disconnect power.
  2. Remove the two thumbscrews and slide the ice cutter grid forward, out of the two slots near the water pan. Set the ice cutter grid on the bin door.
  3. Press the front of the light shield in while pulling down to remove it from the light bracket.
  4. Remove and replace with a 12-volt wedge base-type bulb.
  5. Replace the light shield, ice cutter grid, and two thumb screws.
  6. Plug in the ice maker or reconnect power.

Kitchenaid Ice Maker on/off Switch

Here are the instructions for turning your KitchenAid ice maker on or off :

If Ice maker in the freezer (on some models);

To turn the ice maker ON:

  • Simply lower the wire shutoff arm.

To manually turn the ice maker OFF:

  • Lift the wire shutoff arm to the OFF (arm up) position and listen for the click.

How Do I Reset My Kitchenaid Refrigerator Ice Maker

To reset the KitchenAid ice maker, first make sure that the manual switch on the ice maker is in the on position.

  1. Tap the plastic tab on the door jamb. This signals the light to turn off.
  2. Shut the freezer door and allow it to reset for 10 seconds before opening the door.
  3. Press the door’s switch three times and shut the door.
  4. Let it sit for a few seconds to reset the ice maker

To reset your KitchenAid undercounter ice maker:

  1. Turn the unit off and wait 5 minutes.
  2. Upon restarting, press the “Service” button to restart ice production.

How to Test the Kitchenaid Ice Maker

  1. Cut a 6-8 inch length of 14-gauge solid electrical wire. Remove about 1/2 inch of the electrical insulation from each end of the wire using a pair of wire strippers.
  2. Grab the square cover on the front of the ice maker inside your freezer with your hand. Rock the cover back and forth as you wiggle it away from the ice maker to expose the round gear beneath it.
  3. Locate two small, round openings marked “H” and “T” beneath the gear. Insert the bare ends of the electrical wire into the openings, so one end of the wire is in one opening and the opposite end is in the other. The wire overrides the timer and manually activates the ice maker.

Kitchenaid Ice Maker Arm Stuck Up

If your ice maker arm is stuck up, it could be because of the following possible causes that you need to troubleshoot:

  1. Switch turned off

Look at the ice maker switch and determine of it is turned to the ON or OFF position. If it is OFF, flip the switch to turn it back ON. If it is already ON, then the arm is actually stuck.

  1. Blocked arm

Turn your ice maker off and then move all items away from the arm. If you don’t notice any items blocking the arm, inspect the ice cubes in the tray carefully. Ice cubes sometimes freeze over the arm, making it stick. You need to loosen the stuck ice with warm water.

  1. Ice bin issues

The ice maker arm sometimes sticks when the ice bin contains large ice chunks that have melted and refrozen. When the ice melts, it may freeze around certain parts of the ice maker.

Turn the ice maker before removing it, then slide out the bin from the freezer and let the ice melt completely. Pour down the melted ice on a drain and wash the bin with warm, soapy water. Inspect the freezer for any loose ice pieces before replacing the bin

Kitchenaid Refrigerator Ice Maker Troubleshooting Red Light

The “Replace Filter” light only comes on after 9 months or 2000 gallons of water use. If you have very hard water, you may need to replace the filter before these counts are reached. If the light continues to flash, the filter may not have been installed correctly. Ensure the filter is turned to the locked position when replacing.

The “Cleaning Needed” or “Cleaning Cycle” button is illuminated after 9 months or if ice production has decreased significantly. You need to clean the ice maker to clean the ice maker to resolve the problem. Cleaning regularly helps remove the mineral scale buildup. How often you clean the system depends on how hard your water is, you may need to clean the system as often as every 6 months.

If this troubleshooting doesn’t fix the problem, try restarting the ice maker, by either unplugging the ice maker or turning off power to the ice maker at the fuse or circuit breaker. This will reset the controls on the ice maker.

Kitchenaid Ice Maker Won’t Stop Making Ice

There are several possible reasons why your Kitchenaid ice maker is making too much ice:

  1. The ice maker is not level.
  2. Dirty or blocked bin sensor.
  3. Max ice, fast ice, or accelerate ice mode is activated.

To troubleshoot the problem, try these possible solutions:

  • Check to ensure your ice maker is level. Depending on where you install the ice maker, make several adjustments to level it as necessary.
  • For under counter installations, use the leveling legs to lower the height of the ice maker.
  • Check to make sure the bin sensor is not blocked by the ice scoop or any other items that may be in the bin.
  • Check to make sure the sensor is not dirty or has a mineral build-up. If necessary, clean the sensor using a soft towel and warm soapy water.
  • Ensure the sensor is properly connected and is in the correct location.
  • Confirm whether Max Ice, Fast Ice, or Accelerated Ice mode is active.

Kitchenaid Ice Maker Not Making Ice

If your unit runs but produces no ice, there could be possible causes:

  • The cycle control knob must be in the “ON” position.
  • Check the water supply to make sure it is open.
  • If the ice maker is to be operated at an elevation of 2000 feet (600m) or more above sea level, both the bin thermostat and the ice thickness thermostat will need to be recalibrated.

There are other reasons why your ice maker is making less ice or no ice that you may have to troubleshoot:

  1. The water filter is not properly installed

If the water filter is not installed correctly into the housing, the ice maker may not produce ice. Check to ensure the water filter is correctly installed and it is in the locked position. The alignment arrow should be aligned with the lock symbol.

  1. Loosely installed drain cap

The drain cap needs to fit securely onto the water pan to produce optimal ice. If the drain cap is loose, this can lead to thin ice or no ice production.

To check the drain cap:

  • Unscrew the drain cap from the bottom of the water pan located inside the storage bin.
  • Allow water to drain completely.
  • Replace the drain cap.
  1. Dirty condenser

A dirty or clogged condenser can reduce your appliance’s ice making capacity to little or no ice production.

You need to clean the ice making system and the air-cooled condenser regularly for the ice maker to operate at peak efficiency and to avoid premature failure of system components.

  1. Kinked drain hose

A kinked drain hose can cause low ice production, no ice production and can also cause no power or intermitted power to the ice maker.

Check this too: How to Defrost and Clean an Ice Maker

To troubleshoot the problem, check to make sure the drain hose is not kinked. If the drain hose is twisted or kinked, straighten out the line and restore power to the ice maker. If you have to remove the ice maker from a cabinet to check the drain hose, take extra precaution when sliding it back in, making sure the drain line doesn’t re-kink.

  1. Drain hose is too high or too long

If your newly installed ice maker is not making ice, another possible reason it is not making ice could be that the drain hose exceeds maximum recommended runs.

For models with a built-in pump, ensure the drain pipe does not exceed 9 feet above the pump outlet and no more than 30 feet from the pump location.

  1. Garbage disposer knockout plug

If your drain hose is connected to a garbage disposer, check to make sure the knockout plug has been removed. If the plug has not been removed, the water is unable to drain properly which causes no power or intermitted power to the ice maker.

  1. High room temperatures

If room temperatures are extremely high, like more than 90o F (32oC), it can cause low ice production.