Kitchenaid Refrigerator Troubleshooting

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

The Kitchenaid ice machine does not fill with water

Refrigerator Water supply

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

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

  1. Check that the filter is in place and whether it is clogged. If the filter has not been changed in more than nine months, replace it with a new one.
  2. Check that the water supply valve is open and see if there are any leaks. Replace the defective water valve.
  3. Check the water lines running from the water valve. Straighten out any kinks and inspect for ice-like obstructions within the lines. Thaw the water-fill tube if necessary.

Read: KitchenAid Refrigerator Ice Maker Not Working?

How to operate the Kitchenaid Ice Machine

Operating your KitchenAid ice machine correctly allows you to get the best possible results.

When you start your ice maker for the first time, the water tray must be filled and the system must be rinsed before you start making ice. The rinsing process takes about 5 minutes. If the water supply to the ice machine is turned off, be sure to set the ice machine control to OFF.

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

  1. The water circulates constantly on a freezing plate. As the water freezes on ice, the minerals in the water are rejected. This produces an ice sheet with low mineral content.
  2. When the desired thickness is reached, the ice sheet is released and slid into a cutting 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. The cubes fall into the storage container. When the container is full, the ice maker automatically shuts down and restarts when more ice is needed.

Using the controls

  1. To start ice production, press ON/OFF.
  2. To stop the operation of the ice machine, press ON/OFF.

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

Max Ice Mode

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

  1. Press MAX ICE while the ice maker is on. The indicator light will turn on.
  2. Press MAX ICE again to deactivate the function. The indicator light will
    turn off.
  3. The Max Ice function will be activated when you turn on the unit for the first time. It will turn off after 24 hours.


Clean your ice maker when the “Cleaning Required” light is illuminated or after 9 months have elapsed or when ice production is significantly decreased.

Configuration of controls (KitchenAid 2181092 automatic ice

  1. Select the thickness of the ice. Operation at different ambient temperatures may require you to set the ice thickness control knob to “Thick” or “Thin”. Do not set the control to the 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 the operation of the ice machine, turn the cycle control knob to “OFF”.

Changing the Container Door Panel

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

To change the container door panel:

  1. Open the door of the storage container. Remove the two screws at the top of the door holding the handle.
  2. Loosen the screws on both side trim pieces.
  3. Remove the handle and handle insert.
  4. Slide the panel out carefully.
  5. Choose the color you want to display and carefully slide the panel towards the door.
  6. Replace the handle insert and tighten the screws on both side trim pieces.

Change Bottom Access Panel

  1. Unplug or disconnect the power to the ice maker.
  2. Remove the two screws on the bottom access panel and the center of the front panel bracket. Pull the bottom forward and then pull down to remove the bottom access panel.
  3. Remove the two bolts from the top panel trim and remove the top trim.
  4. Slide the panel out carefully.
  5. Choose the color you want to display and carefully swipe back the panel
    on the bottom access panel.
  6. Replace top trim and screws. Replace the bottom access panel assembly
    and screws.
  7. Connect or reconnect the power to the ice maker.

Changing the bulb

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

  1. Unplug the ice maker or disconnect the power.
  2. Remove the two thumb screws and slide the ice cutter grille forward, out of the two slots near the water tray. Attach the ice cutter grille to the container door.
  3. Press the front of the light shield while pulling it down to remove it from the light stand.
  4. Remove and replace with a 12-volt wedge base bulb.
  5. Replace the light shield, ice cutting grille, and two thumb screws.
  6. Connect the ice maker or reconnect the power.

Kitchenaid Ice Machine On/Off Switch

Here are the instructions for turning your KitchenAid ice machine on or off:
If the ice machine is in the freezer (in some models);

To start the ice machine:

  • Simply lower the cable locking arm.

To manually shut down the ice machine:

  • Lift the cable locking arm to the OFF position (arm up) and listen for the

How do I reset my Kitchenaid ice machine?

To reset the KitchenAid ice machine, first, make sure that the ice machine locking arm switch is in the ON position.

  1. Tap the plastic tab on the door jamb. This indicates that the light goes out.
  2. Close the freezer door and let it restart for 10 seconds before opening the door.
  3. Press the door switch three times and close the door.
  4. Let stand for a few seconds to reset the ice machine.

To reset your under-the-cabinet KitchenAid ice maker:

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

How to test the Kitchenaid Ice Machine

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

Kitchenaid Ice Machine with Stuck Arm

kitchenaid refrigerator not making ice

If your ice maker arm is stuck, it could be due to the following possible causes that you need to fix:

1. Switch Off

Look at the ice machine switch and determine if it is turned to the ON or OFF position. If it is OFF, flip the switch to turn it back on. If it’s already ON, then the arm is really stuck.

2. Arm locked

Turn off the ice machine and then move all items away from the arm. If you do not notice anything blocking the arm, carefully inspect the ice cubes in the tray. Ice cubes sometimes freeze over the arm, causing it to stick. You need to loosen the ice stuck with warm water.

3. Problems with ice containers

The ice machine arm sometimes gets stuck when the ice container contains large chunks of ice that have melted and gotten iced again. When the ice melts, it may freeze around certain parts of the ice machine.
Rotate the ice maker before removing it, then slide the container out of the freezer and allow the ice to melt completely. Pour the melted ice into a drain and wash the container with warm, soapy water. Inspect the freezer for loose ice pieces before replacing the container.

Kitchenaid Refrigerator Ice Maker Troubleshooting Red Light Problems

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 it gets to these counts. If the light continues blinking, the filter may not have been installed correctly. Make sure the filter is turned to the locked
position when replacing it.

The “Cleaning required” or “Cleaning cycle” button lights up after 9 months or if ice production has decreased significantly. You must clean the ice machine to to sort out the issue. Regular cleaning helps to remove mineral scale buildup. How often you clean a system, depending on how hard your water is, you may need to clean the system as often as every 6 months.

If this troubleshooting does not resolve the issue, try restarting the ice machine, either by unplugging it or turning off the power from the fuse or circuit breaker. This will reset the controls on the ice machine.

Kitchenaid Ice Machine Auger not working

The Auger is located in the ice container and when the dispenser is activated, it will rotate to pull the ice into the ice container outlet pipe. The auger is driven by a motor mounted behind the container.

If the auger is not rotating, first check if the motor is running. Normally, the motor/gearbox makes a sound loud enough that it can be heard with the freezer door closed.

To check if the auger motor is running:

  1. Open the freezer door and grab the bottom of the ice container. Carefully lift the front of the container and remove it from the freezer.
  2. Lift the cable locking arm to turn off the ice machine or turn off the ice machine's power switch.
  3. Press the Ice button on the dispenser door if your dispenser does not have separate ice and water dispensing levers. Press and hold the door switch that controls the freezer light. This switch also allows the ice machine to dispense ice through the door, disconnecting the dispenser when the door is open.
  4. Press the ice dispenser lever while watching the auger motor on the back of the freezer. If the motor jumps slightly but does not rotate, it is likely that the motor is frozen from moisture.
  5. Use a screw driver to remove the screws holding the auger motor to the back of the freezer. Reach behind the motor and pull the wiring harness from the back wall of the freezer.
  6. Place the auger motor on a towel and allow the moisture to melt from inside the unit. Once the auger reaches room temperature and the moisture melts, try to rotate the auger’s motor shaft. If the shaft does
    not rotate, replace the auger.

Kitchenaid Ice Machine does not stop making ice

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

  1. The ice machine is not leveled.
  2. Dirty or blocked container sensor.
  3. Maximum ice, quick Ice, or accelerated Ice mode is activated.

To fix the problem, try these possible solutions:

  1. Check that your ice machine is level. Depending on where you install the ice machine, make several adjustments to level it as necessary.
  2. For under-the-counter installations, use the level legs to lower the height of the ice maker.
  3. Verify that the container sensor is not blocked by the ice scoop or any other item that may be in the container.
  4. Check that the sensor is not dirty or has accumulated minerals. If necessary, wipe the sensor with a soft towel and warm soapy water.
  5. Make sure the sensor is connected properly and in the correct location.
  6. Confirm if Max Ice, Fast Ice or Accelerated Ice mode is active.

Read: 5 Reasons Your KitchenAid fridge not making Ice

Kitchenaid Ice Machine does not make ice

If your unit works but does not produce ice, there may be possible causes:

  1. The cycle control knob must be in the “ON” position.
  2. Check the water supply to make sure it is open.
  3. If the ice machine is to be operated at an altitude of 2000 feet (600 m) or more above sea level, both the container thermostat and the ice thickness thermostat should be recalibrated.

There are other reasons why your ice maker is making less ice or there is no ice that you may need to fix:

1. The water filter is not properly installed

If the water filter is not properly installed in the housing, the ice maker may not produce ice. Verify that the water filter is installed properly and is in the locked position. The alignment arrow must be aligned with the lock symbol.

2. Flexible installation drain cover

The drain cap should be securely attached to the water tray to produce optimum ice. If the drain cap is loose, this can lead to thin ice or no ice production.

To check the drain cap:

  1. Unscrew the drain cap from the bottom of the water tray located inside the storage container.
  2. Allow the water to drain completely.\
  3. Replace the drain cap.

3. Dirty condenser

A dirty or clogged capacitor can reduce the ice-making capacity of your appliance to little or no ice production.

You should clean the ice making system and air-cooled condenser regularly to ensure that the ice machine operates at maximum efficiency and to avoid premature failure of the system components.

4. Twisted drain hose

A twisted drain hose can cause low ice production or no ice production and can also cause no power or intermittent power to the ice machine.
To fix the problem, check that the drain hose is not twisted. If the drain hose is twisted or crooked, straighten the line and restore power to the ice maker. If you have to remove the ice machine from the cabinet to check the drain hose, take extra precautions when sliding it back in again, making sure the drain line is not twisted again.

5. Drain hose is too high or too long

If your newly installed ice maker is not making ice, another possible reason why you are not making ice could be that the drain hose exceeds the maximum recommended length. For models with a built-in pump, ensure that the drain pipe does not exceed 9 feet above the pump outlet and no more than 30 feet from the pump

6. Garbage Disposal Plug

If your drain hose is connected to a garbage disposal, check that the disposal plug has been removed. If the plug has not been removed, the water cannot drain properly, which will cause power outages or intermittent power to the ice machine.

7. High ambient temperature

If the ambient temperature is extremely high, such as more than 90 o F (32 o C), this can cause low ice production.

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