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Ice maker replacement in fridge/freezer

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  • Sep 14th, 2020 8:34 am
[OP]
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
2927 posts
1932 upvotes
Toronto

Ice maker replacement in fridge/freezer

So, my 9 year old KitchenAid french door bottom mount freezer decided to flood my kitchen the other day. Water started flowing uncontrolled into the ice maker, and my daughter opened the freezer door. We were out of town, and she mopped it up best she could and turned the main water valve off (not in that order).

I pulled the fridge, turned the supply off and we're all good, except for the lack of water and ice dispensing in the fridge.

For $140 I can replace the ice maker, but I'm not convinced that's the problem. I assume the ice maker triggers a solenoid/valve elsewhere in the fridge to supply water, as it just pours out a little tube into the tray. I know how the ice maker works, but if the valve itself is faulty, it's going to leak and flood regardless.

Anyone have experience with these things, and can comment on the likelihood of it being the mechanical system of the ice maker keeping the water valve opened, or (in my mind more likely) the valve itself having failed and just being open period, regardless of the ice maker mechanism calling for water or not.

I could turn the water back on after disconnecting the ice maker to see what happens, but figured I'd ask here as well.

Sadly I'm not sure I want to spend hundreds of dollars on a technician call and replacement parts on this 9 year old unit. The thermostat is a little wonky, with me having to set it at 45 F just to keep things in the fridge from freezing (actual temp is around 38 F).

I may just drop $3000 on a replacement from Bosch, Fisher Paykel or another non-Whirpool manufacturer.
13 replies
Deal Fanatic
Jan 25, 2007
9128 posts
4669 upvotes
Paris
My Kitchenaid single door bottom mount from 2004 did not come with an ice maker, but instead an ice maker mount and I had to buy a kit for $200 and self install the ice maker. The kit came with the interior bit, 2 mounting options (as it was a universal kit) and 2 solenoid water valves. So when I installed it, I had to punch out a hole (through a foil sticker), install the bits that go into the freezer, and install the fill valve on the back of the fridge.

You are most likely right that the fill valve got stuck in the open position, and that is what needs replacing. Does the ice maker replacement kit come with that fill valve? In general, the fill valves are cheap and plentiful and easy to replace. I would think its no more than $30-40 as a part
Deal Addict
Nov 12, 2006
1825 posts
807 upvotes
London
A few years ago I had similar symptoms to yours.
I gained access to the plumbing for a look, and it was quite obvious the leak was at the solenoid valve.

I bought it online for about $50 and replaced it.

A quick search results in this video.
It was a an easy job.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
2927 posts
1932 upvotes
Toronto
tomtomtom wrote: Almost all whirlpool based fridge uses the same ice marker attachment

Buy it and swap it out https://www.amazon.ca/Refrigerator-Whir ... e+m&sr=8-3
Problem is this kit doesn't include the actual valve, which is the likely point of failure. It's not likely the simple geared mechanism that sends the signal to the valve has failed. It's a deadly simple affair that makes electrical contact for a duration of time controlled by a screw. The valve is opened during that period.

I'm going to inspect everything closely and decide what to replace, if anything at all. Safest option is to forego water and ice in the fridge.
Deal Guru
Jan 27, 2006
14767 posts
7702 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
The other possibility is that the valve is fine but the power to the valve is at fault. Do you know if the valve is Normally Open or Normally Closed when not powered - ie when the fridge is unplugged? I'm asking because it seems strange that the valve would just flip open when nothing was calling for water (assuming of course the ice reservoir was full so the fridge wasn't making ice at the time). It would make sense that the valve should be normally closed when no power is applied and only open when power is applied in order to prevent this type of problem. If that's the case, then the control mechanism (ie whatever is sending power to the valve) is the problem.

I would dig into the fridge and disconnect the power to the valve and see if it's still open. I would also check the power to the valve to see what happens when water is required.
Deal Fanatic
Jan 25, 2007
9128 posts
4669 upvotes
Paris
craftsman wrote: The other possibility is that the valve is fine but the power to the valve is at fault. Do you know if the valve is Normally Open or Normally Closed when not powered - ie when the fridge is unplugged? I'm asking because it seems strange that the valve would just flip open when nothing was calling for water (assuming of course the ice reservoir was full so the fridge wasn't making ice at the time). It would make sense that the valve should be normally closed when no power is applied and only open when power is applied in order to prevent this type of problem. If that's the case, then the control mechanism (ie whatever is sending power to the valve) is the problem.

I would dig into the fridge and disconnect the power to the valve and see if it's still open. I would also check the power to the valve to see what happens when water is required.
Valve is normally closed otherwise everytime the power went off there would be a flood.
Deal Guru
Jan 27, 2006
14767 posts
7702 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
Jerico wrote: Valve is normally closed otherwise everytime the power went off there would be a flood.
That's why I'm thinking that there might be something wrong with the control part rather the valve part. Something that is normally closed would have a hard time to be open unless power has been applied.
Deal Fanatic
Jan 25, 2007
9128 posts
4669 upvotes
Paris
craftsman wrote: That's why I'm thinking that there might be something wrong with the control part rather the valve part. Something that is normally closed would have a hard time to be open unless power has been applied.
I believe solenoids stick in either direction when they die
Deal Guru
Jan 27, 2006
14767 posts
7702 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
Jerico wrote: I believe solenoids stick in either direction when they die
That's assuming that it's dead. I'm just saying to check the control circuitry upstream from the valve before just replacing the valve as control boards die as well.
Deal Addict
Sep 8, 2017
3834 posts
3928 upvotes
GTA
So you don't know where the leak is coming from? Turn the water back on and look.

I had a leaking icemaker. There was a pin-hole in the nylon tube connecting the house's plumbing to the solenoid valve.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
2927 posts
1932 upvotes
Toronto
derass wrote: So you don't know where the leak is coming from? Turn the water back on and look.

I had a leaking icemaker. There was a pin-hole in the nylon tube connecting the house's plumbing to the solenoid valve.
The leaking was intermittent/sporadic. One day there was an inch of solid ice in the bottom of the ice cube tray. Chalked it up to a glitch, but should have shut things down then and sorted out the problem.

Seems to be two possible problems. Either the mechanism is somehow sticking and telling the valve to stay open longer than it should, or the valve is failing and staying open longer than it should. When I have time I'll do some troubleshooting. Down the list of things to worry about for the moment.

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