Testing the water inlet valve of an ice maker is not something you will do every other week.
However, there are times when the appliance can malfunction, and the most common ice maker problems involve the water inlet valve.
Hence, we feel that it would be a good idea to help you understand how to test ice maker water valves safely.
What Is an Ice Maker Water Valve?
The main component in every ice-making system is the water valve, typically found in automatic ice makers in-built in modern refrigerators.
It is the part that you need to inspect any time the ice maker isn’t functioning the way it should or if it has stopped working altogether.
The ice maker water valves have a primary function: to let the water flow straight to the ice cube tray.
Often with wear and tear, the ice maker water inlet valves can eventually malfunction, affecting the ice maker’s ability to make ice cubes.
The ice maker water inlet valve comes fitted with a screen that filters the impurities in the water.
These impurities can include sediments and minerals coming in from the water supply.
They could clog the screen, which prevents the water from flowing through the valve.
That said, there can also be some impurities that can escape this screen and end up passing through the ice maker water valve.
Over time, these impurities can accumulate in the valve.
The valve eventually loses its ability to shut and stop the water from overfilling the ice cube trays.
How To Test Ice Maker Water Valves
If you live in an area where you get a hard water supply, it contains a ton of impurities that can block or clog the valves.
The breakage of the solenoid coil winding can be another reason why the valve malfunctions.
This coil winding generates a magnetic field that opens up the water valve and controls the water flow going into the valve.
If this gets damaged, the water will not reach the ice cube tray.
In situations like this, it is important to determine whether the valve is defective or not.
Simply follow this step-by-step guide to know the proper way to test your ice maker’s water valves.
Step #1: Unplug Your Refrigerator and Cut the Water Supply
Always begin by unplugging the refrigerator from its power source and then move it away from its spot.
Follow by shutting off the valve in the copper water line, which shuts off the water supply that goes into the ice maker.
Lastly, take out the lower access board located behind your refrigerator.
Step #2: Prepare the Catch Basin
Now you can take out the fill pipe from the water inlet valve.
After that, start loosening the nut on the fitting located on the inner side of the lid.
Ensure that you are putting something under the flap to catch the water coming out of the valve and pipe.
Step #3: Remove Screws and Tubes
Remove the screw that is holding the mounting bracket of the valve from the refrigerator’s cabinet.
Next, pull the pipe from the compartment and follow by removing the tube from the valve’s outlet. Take off the electrical connections of the solenoid.
Step #4: Check the Valve
To check the solenoid valve, use a volt-ohm meter or a multimeter.
Set your meter at the RX-100 scale. Touch the probes to the solenoid coil terminal. The standard meter reading must be anywhere between 200 and 500 ohms.
If the meter did not move at all, then the coil is defective. If you can’t buy just the loop, you will need to replace the entire valve.
If the meter moves, then the coil is most likely working fine, meaning that the inlet filter is clogged.
Step #5: Clean the Filter
After testing ice maker water valves, you will need to clean the filter by removing the large brass nut located on the inner part of the valve.
Take a small screwdriver to remove the screen and use a toothbrush to scrub it gently.
Make sure you are rinsing the filter before you reassemble and install it.
Step #6: Test the Valve
Finally, you can try testing ice maker water valves to see if there are any leaks.
You can use Teflon tape or something similar to tighten all the leaky connections.
Once you are certain that there aren’t any leaks, you can refit the back panel of your refrigerator.
Ensure you are discarding the first couple of ice cubes the machine has created when you are doing a test run.
Why Ice Makers Malfunction
Since ice makers endure continuous use, it is not uncommon for them to need repairs and even replacements over time.
There can be several reasons why your ice maker may be malfunctioning; some of these may include:
Ice Cubes Are Too Big or Too Small
Always begin by checking for clogs. After determining that there aren’t any and your ice maker is still malfunctioning, it will need some adjustments.
Try adjusting the amount of water that goes into the ice tray per cycle.
To do this, simply take out the ice maker’s front cover. Now look for the spring and screw assembly from the lid and adjust the water supply accordingly.
Control Arm Isn’t In the Right Position
The ice maker’s control arm signals it to stop the production of ice when it senses the ice bin is full.
If the control arm has fallen off or accidentally moved, the ice maker stops its cycle.
Refer to the refrigerator’s user manual to learn how you can enable this feature.
If everything seems fine with the ice maker, it may be possible that you have a frozen waterline.
Check the thermostat setting to make sure that it has been set at the recommended temperature.
When it is set lower than it should be, it will freeze the water before it reaches the ice tray.
Simply defrost the frozen waterline and change the settings accordingly.
Testing the Ice Maker Water Valve Safely: The Conclusion
Knowing how to test ice maker water valves properly will help prevent any severe damage to the appliance.
Whenever you’re troubleshooting the ice maker, make sure you are referring to its user manual.
In addition, unplug the refrigerator from the electrical source before doing anything to it.