Posts Tagged ‘ice maker’

Ice maker not working: Refrigerator not making ice

October 31, 2011

When your refrigerator’s ice maker isn’t working, you should definitely do some ice maker troubleshooting before calling repair.

Many people don’t even know how an icemaker works, so your ice maker problems can be a simple misunderstanding.

JennAir.com

Make sure the metal arm on your ice maker is DOWN and any control is set to “ON.”

Is the water supply properly connected and turned on? It should be, also.

A loose drain cap can leave you with thin ice because water will empty from the water pan, so tighten that drain cap!

The drain tube could be clogged from sediment, which you can flush out by shutting off the water line, waiting, and turning back on. Ensure there are no kinks in the drain that could prevent the flow of rejected water out.

Those are just basic tips everyone should try before calling for ice maker repair. Hopefully it works for you.

 

HOW TO: change a refrigerator water filter

August 2, 2010

Think of the children, won't you? Replace your refrigerator's water filter.

If your refrigerator dispenses water, chances are it uses a filter.

Most manufacturers recommend replacing the filter every six months to nine months, but certainly your fridge won’t blow up if you don’t. You might just drink some stanky water or notice a “decreased flow.” Or your ice maker won’t function as well.

Or you could just replace your filter when your status indicator light (or “change filter” light, as many customers call it) tells you to. Usually, this light lives on the temperature control panel. If you don’t have a change filter light, replace the filter based on the time frame recommendations outlined in the Use & Care manual you tucked away for safekeeping because you’re a responsible appliance owner.

Mostly, just use good sense, as the life of the filter depends on your usage and the quality of the water. If you notice a change in your water, replace your filter more frequently.

Many of you don’t know this, but I used to be somewhat of a water filter whisperer back in my Warners’ Stellian receptionist heyday. Customers never remember what the heck brand their fridge is when they come in for a replacement filter — not that I judged them. Picking up a replacement water filter falls under the “lost bet to spouse” level of fun errands. (On a related note, we offer free shipping on accessories totaling more than $50.)

I could generally qualify someone based on sketchy info, but not all receptionists possess such amazing skills, so do your homework. And even if you know your brand of refrigerator, it’s important to look at the filter itself as some brands make several types. Here’s how you replace your refrigerator water filter:

For the filters like the one picture above left, rotate the cap counterclockwise until its vertical pull the cap and filter cartridge out through the base grille. Push the new filter cartridge into the base grille until it stops with the cap in the vertical position. Rotate the cartridge cap clockwise to a horizontal position.

For the filters like those on the above right, press the eject button and pull the cap straight out. Don’t twist the cap or it will detach from the filter, and you’ll have to put the cap back on and try again the way I told you to in the first place. Got it? OK. Push the new filter into the opening in the base grille. The button will pop out when the filter is in place, but give the cap a tug to make sure.

This kind of filter, found in the upper right corner inside the refrigerator, is pretty easy to replace. Just turn the filter counterclockwise until it come out, drain it into the sink and trash it. Next, remove the seal from the new filter, insert the filter into the filter head and turn it clockwise until it stops. Easy.

This filter to the right often sits in the back right of the fridge.

To remove, turn the water filter 90 degrees counterclockwise (aka your left) until the filter releases. Take all the packaging crap off the new one, push it up into the housing and turn 90 degrees to the right. (Here’s where the directions include “close the door,” but I figure you can make that decision on your own.)

Once you replace the filter, make sure you flush air from the water system, otherwise you’re going to have a drippy dispenser in your kitchen driving you absolutely nuts. Watch this fun video or follow these directions:

Hold a container to the water dispenser lever for 5 seconds, and then release it for 5 seconds. Repeat until water comes out. Continue holding and releasing the dispenser lever (5 seconds on, 5 seconds off) until a total of 4 gallons has been dispensed. You might get a little spurting as the air clears out, so beware.

Can’t get to the store for a new filter? You can still remove and use the water dispenser in bypass mode. You just won’t have filtered water.

Top 10 FAQ appliance blog posts

July 26, 2010

I realized that I’ve now been blogging for almost seven months, so some of the best posts could now be considered “old.”

But you can’t argue with success.

Based on reads, here are the most popular blog posts categorized as frequently asked questions or HOW TOs or that sort of thing.

1. Refrigerator seal & fridge maintenance

2. Ice maker troubleshooting

3. Dishwasher troubleshooting: Dishes not drying

4. 10 sneaky ways you’re wasting money in your kitchen

5. Should you put aluminum foil in the oven?

6. Why do front-load washers take so long?

7. Dishwasher troubleshooting: Dishes not cleaning

8. Cleaning your washer – 3 tips on how to clean a smelly washer

9. HOW TO:  clean and season a griddle

10. HOW TO: clean stainless steel appliances

Loud refrigerator? We hear ya

July 7, 2010

Image: maxabout.com

If you’ve replaced your refrigerator within the last several years, your shiny new model might be making its presence known in noisier way.

Why?

For one, foam insulation — often used to make these appliances more energy-efficient — lacks the sound-baffling capabilities of fiberglass insulation incorporated into previous energy hogs.

Here’s some other “normal” sounds to expect, along with their abnormal counterparts:

Evaporator coil

A boiling, surging or gurgling sound as the compressor starts and stops. Also, a pop as the evaporator expands and contracts after defrosting.

Evaporator fan

The sound of air being forced through the unit is normal, but a continuous ticking or even intermittent squealing is abnormal.

Defrost heater

Sizzling or hissing sound from water dropping onto the heater during defrost cycle

Compressor

Newer fridges’ compressors are much more efficient and run much faster, giving off a high-pitched hum, whine or pulse. But watch out for clicking during start up (especially if the lights dim), banging or knocking during start or stop, a ping or snap followed by the compressor stopping.

Cold control and defrost timer

A snapping or ticking sound as the refrigerator turns on and off

Plastic liner

Cracking or popping as the temperatures change

Drain pan

Running water during or after the defrost cycle

Water valve

Buzzing, clicking or running water as the icemaker fills or water is dispensed

Icemaker

Cracking of ice and cubes dropping into the bin

Condenser fan

Air being forced over the condenser is normal, but squealing from the motor is abnormal.

Condenser

You should hear a surging or gurgling sound from the flow of refrigerant when the compressor runs, but an improperly placed drain pan could cause rattling.

If the normal sounds bother you, consider a piece of rubber-backed carpet for underneath the fridge. You could even put sound absorbing materials inside the cabinet if the refrigerator sits in an enclosure.

Outdoor kitchen ideas: Part 2

January 18, 2010

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As Susan Serra, CKD pointed out in Outdoor kitchen ideas: Part 1, it’s easy to choose outdoor kitchen appliances like a geek in an Apple store (my words).

We Minnesotans get so excited when we get to spend time outside that doesn’t involve snow shoveling, it’s hard not to want it all when designing our three-months-out-of-the-year haven.

Be smart and think about your own entertaining and lifestyle needs when considering all the options in outdoor kitchen appliances.

Do you want a second kitchen or simply a spot to grill a burger and grab a beer while enjoying the great outdoors?

Gas grill

The workhorse of an outdoor kitchen, gas grills’ speed and convenience work best for weeknight dinners and impromptu get-togethers. If you’re looking to do more, some brands offer innovative features such as:

  • Searing zone to reach high temperatures (700 degrees!) quickly to give your meat a steakhouse-quality exterior
  • Rear infrared burner to deliver consistent, evenly distributed heat for rotisserie cooking
  • Smoker boxes to fill prepackaged hickory or mesquite chips, which give foods a distinctive, smoky flavor
  • Side burners to prepare sauces and sides like beans or vegetables or to keep food warm until it is ready to be served
  • Lighting to illuminate the cooking surface for late-night grilling

Charcoal grill/smoker

As our own grilling guru Stu Glock (also our rep for Holland Grill and the Big Green Egg) says, “You have two cars. Why not two grills?”

Charcoal grills, smokers  and/or cookers deliver flavor you can’t get in a gas grill — if you have hours to get it. Owners of the Big Green Egg rave about the unique flavor of their ribs, brisket and roasts they get in this ceramic cooker. Viking also makes a ceramic cooker, but with a stainless steel finish.

If you have the time to kick back and just grill, the extra time is definitely worth the flavor.

Warming drawers

Cut down on the running back back and forth from your main kitchen. Warming drawers keep grilled food warm (and sanitary) once prepared and work great for make-ahead dishes from your main oven.

I’d probably end up throwing some towels in mine to keep them cozy after a late-night swim. Now if I only had a pool..

Kegerator/beer tapper

Arguably as important as the grill itself is beer on-demand. Aside from the convenience, an outdoor keg fridge makes an unbeatable conversation (and party) starter. DCS, Viking and Marvel make draft beer dispensers specifically for the outdoors.

Outdoor kegerators come in built-in or freestanding. Again, if I only had a pool...

Wine chiller/beverage center

If you’re more of a wine-o than a beer gal like me, you might consider storing your bottles outside, in the proper wine chiller, of course. Look for models with precise temperature controls, racks to accommodate various bottle sizes and minimum vibration.

This Marvel Wine Cellar holds 54 bottles.

Beverage centers, though less precise in temperature control, make a viable option for combination beer/wine/soda, etc. storage.

Refrigeration

“But I already have a wine fridge!”

But your wine fridge is 55 degrees, remember? Even your beverage center isn’t designed to refrigerate food and condiments. Please don’t keep your barbecue meats in a beverage fridge!

Ice maker

If mixed drinks and soda are more your thing, maybe you’d like an ice maker. Marvel‘s and U-line‘s have UL Listed suitable for outdoor use clear ice makers that store 25-30 pounds of ice.

Patio heaters

Denial: it ain't just a river in Africa. It's an outdoor barbecue in St. Paul in October.

I might not have a pool, but living in Minnesota, you better believe I have a patio heater. Fueled by a the same kind gas tank you use for your grill, these easily extend construction season into early winter (or “fall”).

Refrigerator seal & fridge maintenance

January 13, 2010

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Some people spend as much money on a kitchen as they do a car, yet expect to do no maintenance.

Would you be surprised if your truck engine overheated if you never changed the oil or refilled the coolant? Most also expect to rotate and replace tires and wiper blades.

You might not have spent 13 grand-something on a fridge, but I’m sure you plunked down a good amount. Here are some maintenance tips to help get your return on that investment. See my previous post,  “Ice maker troubleshooting.”

Moisten your gasket

Gasket, seal, "rubber thing" -- whatever you call it, keep it moistened. (Image courtesy Charles & Hudson)

A small amount of condensation on the fridge or freezer is normal, especially during humid weather and summer vacation, if you have kids who don’t know how to keep the refrigerator doors shut.

If you see more condensation than normal, check the seal (or gasket as we appliance nerds call it) for any obstructions and clear them. If there aren’t any, try moistening the gasket with Vaseline. Seriously, it works. If you don’t have any petroleum jelly, I’ve used Neosporin in a pinch (What won’t that stuff do, honestly?).

After applying a thin layer of Vaseline, organize your fridge. It doesn’t have anything to do with the seal, per se, but it will help you find what you need faster, meaning the door won’t be open as long. If Warners’ Stellian installed your fridge, we leveled it to tilt slightly back to encourage the doors to swing shut.

If someone else installed your fridge, consider leveling it in a similar way.

To raise the front of the cabinet, use the front roller leveling screws. To lower the back of the cabinet, use the rear roller leveling screws, if available, on your model.

Clean your coils

New refrigerators have self-cleaning condensers. But if you have an old fridge, you might still have coils that need to be cleaned once or twice a year. Some fancy vacuum cleaners have attachments to suit this purpose. But otherwise, you’ll have to get a coil brush from an appliance parts store.

(If you find yourself driving to an appliance parts store to buy a coil brush, make a detour and buy a new fridge instead because yours is pretty darn old. The energy grid will thank you.)

To clean the coils, remove the base grille and use the brush or vacuum attachment to clean it, the open areas behind the grille, and the front surface area of the condenser.

If you have pets or hairy, shedding family members, take care that the area around the refrigerator stays clear to ensure proper heat exhaust. Otherwise, that thing will be running all the time.

Change the water filter

If you have a water dispenser, you likely have a water filter. Replace it every six months or take direction from your indicator light, if you have one. Or, if odor and odd taste don’t cramp your style, stretch the life of it. But seriously, beyond water quality, an old water filter can cause sediment to build up and cause problems.

There are probably seven different types of water filters. Yours is either is the top back corner of the interior, down in the kick plate, or along the top interior of the fridge. ALWAYS bring your filter into the store when you’re replacing it because we don’t necessarily know the type a filter goes with a model number we looked up in your order from two years ago. We can guess, but it’s still a guess.

After replacing the filter, flush the air from the water system (see how to purge air from the water system animation – though 4 gallons seems like overkill) to prevent dripping from the dispenser.

Defrost your freezer?

Your freezer is probably “frost-free,” meaning it defrosts itself. You may have purchased an all-freezer unit that is manual defrost for storing foods long-term, but that’s another blog post (or e-mail me).

Just take care to clean your fridge and freezer every month.

Your turn: What did I miss?

Share your tips in the comments.

Ice maker troubleshooting

October 7, 2009
Isn't it beautiful? But with great beauty, comes great responsibility...

Isn't it beautiful? But with great beauty, comes great responsibility...

Ice makers built in to your refrigerator are super handy (and pretty darn impressive when you have that dispenser on the door — it’s actually known for blowing people away).

However, if something on a fridge requires troubleshooting, more often than not it’s our frosty friend over there in the freezer. The good news is you can probably diagnose and treat the most common problems without a service tech.

I’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions from ServiceMatters.com about ice makers for you to print, save or bookmark  (or frame).

Click on links below to jump to a section or scroll down and read the post in its entirity

How do ice makers work?

Troubleshooting

Still having problems?
How do ice makers work?

JennAir.com

JennAir.com

Water constantly runs over a freezing plate in your ice maker. Meanwhile, minerals from your water are rejected; this mineral water, if you will, is drained with each ice-making cycle.

When the ice is thick enough, it slides down into a cutter grid that separates the sheet into cubes, which fall into the storage bin. A sensor determines when the bin is full and the ice maker shuts off until more ice is needed.

JennAir.com

JennAir.com

Key takeaways: The bin isn’t refrigerated so some melting will occur, especially if you take your good, sweet time loading the freezer after a trip to the grocery store. Also, higher temperatures in the freezer mean fewer cubes. So shut that door! Likewise, if you want more ice, dial your freezer to a colder setting, wait for 24 hours and see what happens. Wash, rinse, repeat — ice cubes!

If your freezer is completely cooled, you should get a batch of cubes every three hours. Note: It takes 24 hours for a newly installed ice maker to start making ice and 72 hours for it to swing into full operation. So be patient and remember to be supportive of your new fridge as it reaches its full ice-making potential.

Troubleshooting

Ice makers vary from model to model, but here are the most common issues and how to make them go away.

Ice maker not/barely producing ice

Is the control set to “ON”? It should be.

Is the water supply properly connected and turned on? It should be, also.

A loose drain cap can leave you with thin ice because water will empty from the water pan, so tighten that drain cap!

The drain tube could be clogged from sediment. Shut off the water line, wait, and turn it back on. This should help flush the sediment out. And speaking of the drain tube, make sure there are no kinks in it as they could prevent the flow of that rejected water out.

Make sure the metal arm on your ice maker is DOWN. (Remember: There’s no “on” in UP, but there’s “on” in dOwN.)

JennAir.com

JennAir.com

My ice cubes are small/hollow

You probably have low water pressure. You need a cold water supply with pressure between 35 and 120 psi to properly operate the ice maker. If you have a water dispenser, you can test the pressure by filling a measuring cup for 5 seconds. If you end up with fewer than 3 ounces (a little more than 1/4 cup), your pressure is likely low.

Do you have a water filter in your fridge? It could be clogged or installed improperly. Remove the filter and see if your water flow improves. If it does, try reinstalling the filter. If that doesn’t work, buy a new filter.

My ice dispenser isn’t working

Is your dispenser locked? It might sound stupid, but that’s probably why you didn’t check it before you checked this. Press and hold the lock button for several seconds to unlock.

Has there been a recent power outage? If power goes out for more than one hour, some models disable the dispenser. Press and hold the reset button to fix this. (Some models beep when they’re finished resetting.)

Check the ice chute for large clumps or cubes that are blocking it (continue below)

My ice cubes clump together

Pull any clumps out out of the dispenser and wipe the area out with a warm, wet cloth and then make sure to give it another once-over with a dry cloth. Ice clumps in the bin could also be your problem, so give the bin a good shake. If the clumps don’t separate, empty it and clean it out. This is also the solution is ice has formed around the auger (that usually-metal spiral thingy in the middle of the bin). Remember: It’ll take 24 hours to the bin to refill.

Ice clumps aren’t always because of melting. Even if freezer temperatures stay well below freezing, water molecules can condense and refreeze back together where the cubes are touching each other. So naturally, clumps can be lessened with more frequent use of the ice dispenser (i.e. don’t ignore it for a week).

Ice cubes can clump because of increased moisture due to a bad dispenser seal or gaps on in the freezer-door gasket (the rubber that seals to the freezer cabinet — try rubbing Vaseline on its face if it’s not sealing.) You’ll know bad seals are the culprit if there’s frost on the cubes. Unwrapped fresh food in the freezer can also be releasing the extra moisture.

Still having problems?

Call us at (651)222-001, option 4. We have a group of real, customer service women that answer the phones right here in our St. Paul headquarters/warehousenot in India — from 8:30-5:30 Monday through Friday.

Or you can contact the manufacturer directly, if you prefer.

Take some time to leave your own maintenance tips in the comments. What’s gone wrong? What works to fix it and what doesn’t?

Photo credit:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/01-17-05_t-m-b/ / CC BY 2.0

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