Kenmore Elite Ice Maker Replacement Tips and Tricks

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You might be in the market for a Kenmore Elite ice maker replacement, especially as standalone ice makers can have plenty of issues. Don’t worry; countless homeowners before you have also been in the same situation.

As a device that was once a luxury but is now a staple in plenty of households, newer models have a host of problems. When you’re diagnosing an issue with your ice maker, it can be easy to figure out whether it’s repairable or replaceable.

Advice on Faulty New Ice Makers

The very first thing to think about is when you purchased your ice maker, especially if you bought an extended warranty at the time of purchase. Before you even get into the idea of trying to repair your ice maker on your own, it is always a better idea to rely on the professionals. This is especially true if you’ve never worked on an ice maker replacement before.

Warranties are a fantastic thing to consider when buying appliances, as they cover you for relatively anything. Even if you didn’t purchase an extended warranty, new machines have coverage from a manufacturer’s warranty.

What this means is that if you experience ice maker problems that are the fault of the device, a service technician will diagnose and repair the problem free of charge.

It’s also essential to consider warranties, as many at-home repairs will void warranties, leaving you uncovered for the remainder of your ownership. Even though you might have to wait for a service call, at least you won’t lose out on potentially hundreds of dollars worth of parts, labor, and repair fees.

Resetting Your Refrigerator Ice Maker

This process is useful if you own a Kenmore fridge with an ice maker. Along with unplugging your entire fridge, the Kenmore Elite gives you the ability to reset the ice maker so that it can continue working correctly.

If you follow through with the replacement, you may have to do this step to sync the parts. Thankfully, this is not too hard to do. In fact, the best part about resetting your ice maker is that it doesn’t require any special tools nor the help of a professional; all you have to do is follow the below steps.

Step 1

You’re first going to want to locate where the cover plate for your ice maker is. Typically, you will find this piece on the very front of your fridge. Using your hands, you can pull the plate off of the front of the ice maker.

Step 2

Find the on/off switch dedicated to the ice maker on the PC board, which should now be exposed since you removed the cover panel. Switch it to “off,” and then you can unplug your fridge from its electrical outlet. Allow the system to remain unplugged for five to six minutes.

Step 3

Once finished, plug the fridge back into the wall and then switch the ice maker to “on” using the PC board once again. Place the cover back onto the front of the ice maker, making sure all of the corners snap into place.

Step 4

You might have to wait several hours for the ice maker to go through an entire cycle of making ice. This process will let you know whether the unit is faulty or if it merely needed to be reset.

If it is still not making ice or is still suffering from the same problem as before, it could be time for a repair or replacement.

Common Ice Maker Repairs

If you’re lucky, there is the possibility that your ice maker needs to be repaired rather than replaced. Mostly because the majority of repairs are easy to do at home, especially when it comes to Kenmore Elite ice makers.

Instead of investing in a brand new unit, we highly recommend considering these common repairs that you can do at home.

1. Pause Feature Enabled

Inside of your ice maker, there is a control arm that will enable a pause feature as soon as the ice bucket is full. This arm helps to prevent the unit from making more ice than it needs to, and it can easily be shifted or broken.

A malfunctioning control arm can cause your ice maker to think the bucket is full or empty when, in fact, it’s the opposite.

Inside of your owner’s manual, you will be able to get a clear idea of where the control arm is. You can then inspect the piece to ensure it is appropriately placed and that it hasn’t been bent or has fallen off. If this is the case, you have to readjust or reattach the arm by snapping it into place.

2. Clogged Water Lines

A clog in your water lines is far more likely than any other problem you could be having with your ice maker, especially if you live in an area with hard water. Hard water has a lot of minerals that are typically separated from your drinking and ice water, thanks to filters. If the filters are blocked with too much sediment, not enough water will get into the ice maker.

Fortunately, this is another issue that is easy to fix, as all you have to do is disconnect the water lines and flush them with warm water. Before you disconnect anything, make sure the water valve is turned off, so no fluid is supplied to the unit.

You must maintain your water filter over the years, as blockages can happen quite frequently. Most blockages can be removed with warm water; however, if there is any calcification, you’ll need to use food-safe cleaners.

One great idea is to combine vinegar and lemon juice, as the acidity will eat away at any caked debris. Apply the solution to your filters or into your water lines and scrub them with a toothbrush to get rid of calcification. Once finished, you should be able to reassemble the lines and filters and have your ice maker operating as usual.

3. Enabling Defrost Cycles

Kenmore ice makers have highly advanced programming that should allow a defrost cycle whenever the device finds it necessary. However, if your ice maker is experiencing issues, this defrost cycle may not be immediately enabled.

You can quickly fix this mishap by unplugging your unit and giving it time to defrost before plugging it back in. The only thing you have to do for this step is to disconnect the ice maker from power. Unplug the unit from the wall and allow it to sit for several hours with all of the doors open.

Once the appliance has reached room temperature, plug it back in and determine if your ice maker is functioning as it should. It’s quite common for ice to buildup in hard-to-reach areas that could cause blockages and issues with producing ice.

4. Leakages

Water leaking out of your ice maker is a clear indication that there could be a problem with the water supply line, ice maker unit, or the fill cup. Somewhere along the line, the water supplied from your pipes isn’t making it to the ice maker, causing it to leak.

Inspecting for a leak can be somewhat time-consuming, but if this is the issue, it can save you a lot of money. Be sure to pay close attention to the water supply line and search for any kinks in the wire, pinching, or damage that could be causing the leak. It’s also likely your ice maker might not be level, causing water to spill out.

Kenmore Elite Ice Maker Replacement

After going through the processes of checking your warranty, diagnosing the issue, and assessing potential repairs, your ice maker may still be faulty. If this is the case, you may want to consider replacing the entire unit.

Standalone Kenmore Elite ice makers can be removed and replaced relatively easily with a 1/4-inch nut driver and by following these steps.

Removing the Old Ice Maker

  • Step 1: Before attempting any repair on your ice maker, ensure that it has been disconnected from the power supply. This step is imperative as it will prevent electrical shocks and hazardous conditions during this process. You will also want to make sure the water supply is turned off, as well.
  • Step 2: Using your nut driver, begin to remove the screws that are holding the ice maker at the top of the unit. You can also use screwdrivers for this process, but the nut driver is by far simpler and more efficient.
  • Step 3: Once the screws have been removed, you can use your hands to lift the ice maker upwards, removing it from the central unit by pulling it towards you. Be sure not to pull too hard as you won’t want to damage the wire harness connector at the back.
  • Step 4: Disconnect the wire harness from the ice maker so that you can remove the unit entirely from the primary appliance. At this point, you will have successfully taken out the old ice maker unit and are almost ready to replace it with a new machine.

Removing the Control Arm

  • Step 1: Next, you’re going to need to remove the control arm from the existing ice maker to put it on your new one. This process is only necessary if your new ice maker doesn’t have a control arm; otherwise, you can proceed to the next section.
  • Step 2: Put the control arm into the down position and slide the back end out of its hole, repeating the same process with the front end. Set the control arm aside for your new parts.

Connecting the New Harnesses and Control Arm

  • Step 1: If you have purchased an ice maker replacement kit, you likely receive two to three different wire harnesses. Choose whichever wire harness matches the existing one inside of the ice maker; otherwise, you will be enabling a faulty connection.
  • Step 2: It’s now time to install your new ice maker, and the first thing we’ll do is connect the new wire harness to the new unit. Make sure the locking tab is facing towards you as you slide the harness into the new ice maker. You will then need to snap it into place.
  • Step 3: Reattach the control arm to the new ice maker, starting with the long end placed in the front slot and the short end in the back slot. Test the arm by swinging it upwards and ensuring it locks in position, as this will let your ice maker know when the ice bucket is full.

Installing and Testing the New Ice Maker

  • Step 1: Next, you will need to reconnect the wire harness on the new ice maker to the existing wiring inside of the central unit. To make this process even easier, you’ll notice it will only go in one way and ensure the connection is tight. You will also want to make sure the water filter reconnects to the back of the ice maker during this step.
  • Step 2: Adjust the new ice maker again so that it lines up with the holes where you had previously removed the screws. Using your 1/4-inch nut driver, reattach the screws until they are firm.
  • Step 3: Now that your new ice maker has been correctly installed, you can then turn on the water valve and plug your ice maker back into power. Allow the unit to have at least 12 hours to run a full cycle of ice production to make sure it is working. A general rule of thumb is to throw away the first basket of ice, just in case there are any particles of manufacturing dust left behind.

Final Thoughts

Figuring out a Kenmore Elite Ice Maker replacement is relatively simple, especially if you have access to necessary tools and a new ice maker kit. You may also want to take the time to troubleshoot any problems you have with your ice maker before investing in a brand new part.

With the help of this guide, you’re sure to have a better understanding of how your ice maker works so that you can diagnose and repair it in the future.

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