The Complete Guide to Choosing Quality Ice Maker Parts and Components

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Few things are as frustrating as opening your freezer to find your automatic ice maker has stopped producing those crisp, chilled cubes. Like any appliance, ice makers contain components and parts that wear out over time. When it comes time to replace failed parts, having the right replacement components can get your ice production flowing again.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about selecting quality replacement ice maker parts. We’ll overview the most common components that fail and require fixing. Understand the differences between OEM and aftermarket parts to make the best choice for your needs and budget. Learn how to isolate issues and diagnose which specific part needs replacing. Get step-by-step tips for safely installing new components. And compare top ice maker part brands that consistently deliver. Let’s keep those frosty beverages ice cold!

Common Ice Maker Parts That Require Replacement

While the specific failing component depends on your ice maker model and age, some parts see higher wear and tear over years of use. Typical parts needing replacement include:

  • Water inlet valves – Responsible for controlling water flow into the ice maker to form new ice. Mineral buildup and wear can cause failure.
  • Water filters – Remove impurities from the water supply. Old filters allow limescale buildup in water lines and the system.
  • Optical freeze sensors – Detect when water is frozen solid and ready for harvest. Inaccurate readings cause overflowing or underfilling.
  • Control boards – The brains of the operation. Electronic control boards can short or fail over time.
  • Ice molds – Freeze and release ice cubes. Cracked trays, misshapen cubes, and ejection issues indicate a worn mold.
  • Motors – Drive key components like ejector arms. Burn outs from electrical and mechanical issues are common.
  • Gears – Meshing plastic gears connected to motors wear out and lead to grinding noises or ice jams.
  • Bearings – Let parts like shafts and ejection arms move smoothly. Wear causes roughness and seizing.

Diagnosing issues accurately lets you know which specific components need replacing to get your ice maker functioning optimally again.

Key Differences: OEM vs Aftermarket Replacement Parts

When it comes to replacement ice maker parts, you’ll see both OEM and aftermarket options:

OEM parts are made by the original appliance manufacturer to match the original component. For example, a GE OEM part comes directly from GE’s factory. Pros of OEM:

  • Designed specifically for your appliance model. Perfect fit and performance.
  • Meets the appliance brand’s strict quality standards. Reliable operation.
  • Qualifies for manufacturer’s part warranties. Added peace of mind.

Aftermarket parts are made by third party companies and offered as a generic replacement component. For instance, a universal Whirlpool-compatible water valve that fits multiple Whirlpool ice maker models. Benefits of aftermarket parts include:

  • Significantly lower cost than OEM. Great way to save money.
  • Wider availability if OEM part is discontinued or on backorder.
  • Aftermarket brands known for high quality like Dometic and Dwyer.

Consider cost, quality, warranty coverage and availability that meet your needs and budget. In some cases, OEM is worth paying extra for an exact match component. Other times, reputable aftermarket provides a substantial cost savings without sacrificing quality or longevity.

Diagnosing Ice Maker Problems and Identifying Faulty Parts

Before replacing components, it’s important to accurately diagnose issues:

Common ice maker problems signaling needed repairs:

  • Little or no ice production.
  • Small cubes or hollow cubes forming.
  • Ice clumping together.
  • Loud grinding or rattling noises.
  • Overflowing into freezer compartment.
  • Unit freezing up requiring thawing.
  • Circuit board display not illuminating.

Steps to isolate the problem:

  • Review troubleshooting guide in owner’s manual.
  • Visually inspect for overall issues like ice clumping or overflow.
  • Check error codes displayed on circuit boards.
  • Test components like water inlet valve, ejector motor, and mold heating element.
  • Assess ice cube formation for shape and size problems.
  • Have technician do diagnostic testing if cause isn’t obvious.

Accurately identifying the faulty part needed for replacement prevents wasted purchases. Only swap out components you are confident have failed.

Installing Replacement Ice Maker Parts and Components

When ready to replace a faulty component, be sure to follow proper installation protocol:

  • Read instructions fully. Watch online tutorials for guidance.
  • Make sure power supply is disconnected before disassembling.
  • Label wires and parts carefully during disassembly to ensure proper reassembly.
  • Wear protective gloves – components may have sharp edges.
  • Use proper hand tools – avoid damage by not forcing pieces.
  • Confirm replacement part is identical and fits correctly before fully installing.
  • Make all electrical connections securely and test for issues before reattaching covers.
  • Run several harvest cycles to verify part replaced is functioning properly.
  • Always consult manufacturer support if questions arise during the installation process.

Take your time and exercise caution when installing replacement parts to avoid damaging components or voiding appliance warranties from improper installation mishaps.

Recommended OEM and Aftermarket Replacement Part Brands

When sourcing replacement ice maker parts, these are some of the most trusted brands:

OEM Parts

  • GE – As the top selling ice maker brand, GE’s OEM parts match perfectly and come recommended from most repair experts.
  • Whirlpool – Whirlpool Certified parts live up to the longstanding Whirlpool reputation for quality and reliability.
  • Frigidaire – Frigidaire OEM components meet factory specs for fit and performance.
  • KitchenAid – Replacement parts come with KitchenAid’s standard limited 1 year warranty.

Aftermarket Parts

  • Dometic – Specialize in refrigeration components for RVs and appliances. Well-reviewed ice maker parts.
  • Drake – Offers a wide range of aftermarket ice machine accessories and parts at reasonable prices.
  • Supco – Known for high quality universal commercial ice machine components. Great for quick repairs.
  • Dwyer – Trusted manufacturer of replacement commercial ice maker parts like water valves and sensors.

Sticking with OEM or proven aftermarket brands minimizes the risk of faulty replacement parts and ensures you get the correct parts for your specific ice maker the first time. Check warranties and return policies when shopping suppliers.

Frequently Asked Questions About Ice Maker Parts

To summarize, here are answers to some common questions on selecting and replacing ice maker parts:

What are signs my ice maker needs repairs?

No ice production, small cubes, overflowing into the freezer, loud noises, and water leaks all indicate potential faulty parts needing replacement.

How can I find my ice maker’s make and model?

Check the user manual or interior appliance tag for the brand name and complete model number. Search by part number to find the exact replacement.

Is it worth paying more for OEM parts?

In most cases, yes. OEM parts are an identical fit, meet strict quality standards, and qualify for warranty coverage. The premium cost gives added peace of mind.

What tools do I need to install parts?

Typically a screwdriver, wrench, pliers, and protective gloves. Follow instructions closely for any specialized tools needed like heating elements or torx drivers.

Can I replace the parts myself?

With attention to detail, replacement of minor parts like water valves or ejector arms is very DIY-friendly. But major issues like a faulty circuit board often require a trained appliance tech.

Proper part diagnosis coupled with installing quality replacement components selected based on your specific ice maker’s make and model is crucial to getting your ice production back on track. Use this guide to make the process straightforward. Keep those drinks nicely chilled!

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