The best refrigerators today are the ones with ice dispensers. These models are high-end that every household owners dream off.
Despite the massive space for everything, some models maintain a high-energy efficiency. They also have advanced features like an integrated ice maker that they can already be considered as a hybrid appliance. But what is a dual ice maker in refrigerators?
To help out, we will explain how dual ice makers work and their proper care and maintenance. Just like any other appliances that don’t last for long, there are specific tips and techniques to keep them working efficiently and prolong their lifespan. Let’s get started!
What Is a Dual Ice Maker?
A dual ice maker refers to the mechanism that produces ice cubes inside the ice bucket freezer and the ice dispenser at the refrigerator’s door. These two methods are independent of each other.
The ice dispenser is an accessible means of getting one cup of crushed ice cubes, while the separate bucket inside contains a large amount of ice. You can also get cold water from the dispenser.
This integrated mechanism in refrigerators is convenient but adds up to electric consumption. If ice is not necessary, especially during the cold season, you can turn the dual ice maker off.
A dual ice maker gives you easy access to ice-cold water and ice cubes whenever you need it. It is an excellent way to keep your cool during the hot summer season. If you are the household that throws parties regularly, this is a practical inclusion to your kitchen.
How Dual Ice Makers Work
While ice makers vary model by model, they operate at a similar principle. An ice maker is a straightforward machine made of a sequence of switches and electrical circuits.
It operates with three basic requirements: water, temperature, and incoming voltage. By understanding how it works, you can identify simple glitches and troubleshoot the unit.
First, the ice maker receives water through a water supply line connected to a water pipe or filter. The water supply line ends at the water fill valve inside the freezer. This valve is integrated with an icemaker thermostat through which the user can control the amount of water or the ice maker’s temperature.
After that, the water is then filled in the ice tray where it freezes. When the ice cubes are made, the thermostat turns off the water supply through a solenoid. Simultaneously, the heater is turned on to faintly warm the cubes so that they will discharge from the tray.
Then, the thermostat switches a small motor that causes the ice ejection arm to revolve. The arm drives the ice cubes out of the tray and towards an ice bucket. The ice is ready for collection whenever you need it.
Subsequently, the water fill valve switches on again for the next cycle of ice making. When the ice bucket is full, a bail wire is raised, and then shuts off the ice maker unit. The unit turns on again to generate ice.
How to Turn Off an Ice Maker?
Dual ice makers can increase your electric consumption by up to 20 percent. This surge is not reasonable if you don’t maximize the unit. When you go away for a vacation or when you don’t need ice, especially during winter, the best way to cut your electric bill is to turn off the ice maker.
The ice cubes that accumulate in the ice bin for a long time absorb foul smell and flavor. If you don’t immediately use the ice, it is another reason to switch off the unit. Doing so should be easy regardless of the model.
1. Ice Makers with a Switch
Locate the switch on the front of the unit. Nudge it to the “off” position. For the GE ice makers, the switch comes in a toggle mechanism.
The symbol “I” means turn on and a green light appears. To switch off the ice maker, set the toggle to “O” position and the light turns off as well.
2. Models Without a Switch
These models have a metal feeler arm that serves as the power switch. Look for this arm on the side of the ice maker, and flip it up. Doing so turns off the unit.
3. Ice Makers with no Switch or Metal Feeler Arm
If you can’t find the switch or the metal feeler arm, your ice maker is probably a new model. New models are made with several buttons, in sequence, for adjusting the temperature or amount of water supplied. They also switch off the entire unit.
For these models, refer to the user’s manual for the specific instructions on how to turn the ice maker off.
Tips for Switching Off the Refrigerator Ice Maker
Manufacturers share some common useful tips when turning off your ice maker. These tips make cleaning easier and prevent undesirable consequences that might arise.
- Before you switch off the unit, wait for the last batch of ice to drop into the ice bucket. Simultaneously, don’t let the ice tray fill back up with water. Otherwise, the ice sits in the ice maker, melts, and becomes messy.
- Place the ice cube molds in the space occupied by the ice bucket.
- The remaining ice cubes will have undesirable smell or taste when stored for a couple of days. Immediately use or throw them away.
- If you want to uninstall the ice maker, refer to the user’s manual. Taking it off will not damage it or the refrigerator. You can always put it back when the need arises.
Dual Ice Maker Buying Guide
Whether you want to purchase a dual ice maker or a standalone ice maker, there are several factors you should consider. The dual ice makers integrated on refrigerators are a luxury to own, so you want to make sure that you’re getting the right model to maximize your money.
1. Types of Ice Cubes You Want to Achieve
The size and shape of the ice cubes are often insignificant for most people. As long as they are free from odor and taste, they’re good. But it is worth noting that various models of ice makers produce different types of ice cubes.
This factor is an important consideration, especially for commercial establishments. Among the types of ice cubes are the following:
- Cube: The most common shape and size measuring 7/8 inches and doesn’t melt fast.
- Gourmet: It has an elegant appearance that perfectly suits fine glasses of whiskey.
- Crescent: This has a unique half-circle shape.
- Nugget: This is the favorite of ice munchers. They have a soft, chewy texture used for carbonated drinks, juice, and smoothies.
Refrigerators with dual ice makers produce ice cubes with a white, cloudy appearance. This type of ice is considered as a piece of subpar ice.
The appearance signifies the presence of minerals in the water supplied to the ice maker. If you want crystal-clear ice cubes, you might want to consider installing a filter or an advanced system of freezing the water.
2. Energy Efficiency
Although dual ice makers add up to the electric bill, some specific models are efficient machines. When buying a dual ice maker, look for the energy rating.
The Energy Star-rated models conserve energy and reduce the so-called environment-guilt for owning one. You may also get a rebate from your city council for using Energy Star-rated appliances.
3. Ice Maker Connector
Dual ice makers require a water line or ice maker connector. It should be installed within six feet from the refrigerator. Thus, when purchasing a dual ice maker, make sure that it has the valve where the connector fits perfectly.
How to Improve the Efficiency of the Refrigerator Dual Ice Maker
Aside from Energy-star rating, other factors help reduce the power consumption of a dual ice maker and improve its efficiency.
One is that you should place the dual ice maker away from heat sources such as direct sunlight, stove, dishwasher, and other heat sources. By doing so, you ease the usage of compressor that regulates the external sources of heat. It prevents the compressor from working too much, which increases electric usage.
Another is that as much as possible, get the ice cubes and water from the dispenser. This way, you are opening the refrigerator less often. It improves the refrigerator’s efficiency, and the ice maker generates ice cubes at a faster rate.
Opening the fridge only when it’s needed is the basic rule that our parents taught us when we were kids. This rule also applies to any appliance with a refrigeration mechanism.
You must also avoid putting hot food or drinks inside the refrigerator. Let them sit at room temperature until they cool down. Wrap them tightly before storing them inside the unit. This practice shuns any heat from getting inside the unit, and it helps avoid the compressor to operate more.
Lastly, organize the items inside your refrigerator. The loaves of bread, boxed cereals, and dishes trap the heat that causes the compressor to work too much.
Place them on the lower portion to help regulate the temperature efficiently. It also helps the ice maker to work efficiently and generate ice cubes faster.
How to Prolong the Lifespan of Dual Ice Makers
Refrigerator dual ice makers are high-end appliances that last longer than the stand-alone ice makers. Nevertheless, they still need proper care and maintenance to keep them running at an optimal pace. Here are the few things that you can do to take care of your appliance.
- Do not overload. Give the fridge, ice maker, and other compartments enough space to let the air circulate well. Otherwise, the compressor will not work efficiently in a crammed refrigerator.
- Remove any dirt that prevents the door from closing tightly. You can do it by wiping the door seals with a soft, damp cloth. Test the seals by putting a piece of paper through the refrigerator door. If it slides out a closed door, the seal needs cleaning or a replacement.
- Do not use abrasives when cleaning the refrigerator parts and compartments. Use a soft cloth and mild detergent to protect the plastic parts inside the appliance.
- Prevent mold and bacteria build-up. Wipe off the spills immediately. Alternatively, use a damp cloth with white vinegar to banish the microorganisms that thrive in the crevices of the dual ice maker and other compartments. Then, wipe the vinegar off and dry thoroughly.
- It is also essential to clean the exterior parts of the dual ice maker. But before doing so, unplug it from the power source. Then, locate the condenser coils at the rear portion of the appliance. Wipe the dust off of these coils and other parts.
Cleaning the Dual Ice Maker
The best liquid that you can use for cleaning the interiors of the dual ice maker is the vinegar solution. It is composed of a natural by-product that is free from harmful chemicals. Besides, why would you use a toilet bowl cleaner in the spaces where you store food?
Another reason to ponder on: the ice cubes are considered as food, so make sure that they are free from harmful elements that might affect your health and safety.
To make a vinegar solution, mix white vinegar, water, and lemon juice in a spray bottle, and then mix thoroughly. Spray the mixture in the ice maker even in the hard-to-reach corners. Let it sit for a few minutes, and then rinse off with clean water.
Dry the ice maker off using a clean, soft cloth, and then switch on the ice maker. Fill the ice tray with water and wait for it to freeze. Throw away the first batch of ice. Re-fill the ice tray again with water. The next quantity of ice cubes can now be used for consumption.
Note: Before cleaning the ice maker, unplug all electrical cables and turn off the water supply valve. Only use a soft cloth to avoid scratching the surfaces and plastic parts.
The comprehensive information contained we provided aims to enlighten homeowners on “what is a dual ice maker.” Considering the advantages of owning one, refrigerators with such a built-in feature are worth it. Although they use more power, there are certain power-saving factors to consider and some ways to help increase their efficiency.