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Troubleshooting Portable Ice Makers

Capable of producing as much as 35 pounds of ice in a 24-hour period, these ice machines are a quick and efficient way to make a large amount of ice. In fact, portable ice makers can make a full tray of ice in less than 10 minutes.


These units can also save you time and money you would otherwise spend on expensive pre-packed bags of ice from a grocery store or gas station.

Portable ice makers can also make ice much faster than their refrigerator counterparts, and allow for customization that you can't get anywhere else. A portable ice maker can create all different shapes and sizes of ice, allowing you to customize your ice and make the perfect compliment for your cooler or drink.

Portable ice makers are compact enough to fit on any countertop, or in any other nook or cranny in your home or office.

Like any home appliance, portable ice makers can have minor problems that can affect their production. Typically these minor issues will have very simple solutions. Here are some of the more common issues associated with portable ice makers, as well as simple solutions to ensure you're always making ice as quickly and efficiently as possible:

Check all connections

Sometimes the simplest answer is also the right one. Check all the power cords and make sure the electricity is working properly before going to work on any part of your portable ice maker. while you're at it, check the water connections if your unit has direct water line access. 

Watch your water levels


Sticking with the simple solutions theme, another simple problem to fix in portable ice makers deals with the water levels in the reservoir. In the event of the ice machine not making ice or creating much smaller cubes, typically the water level is to blame.

Turn the unit off or power it down, and then check the reservoir. If the water level is low, refill it. If your unit uses a direct water line connection, make sure that water is able to freely flow into the unit. Usually that means clearing away any debris and ensuring that the water is turned on properly.

Once the water level has been rectified, wait about three minutes for the unit to fully reset and then power it back on.

Look out for ice overflow or blockage

Another common problem is ice either overflowing the collection tray or blocking the valves. If the collection tray is full, try removing some ice and see if that fixes the ice maker. Some units also have an automatic shut-off sensor that stops the ice making process when the collection tray is full.

If this doesn't work, inspect the inside of the machine for any blockages. Ice can sometimes collect on the edge of the collection tray, blocking the ice maker from making and collecting ice. Remove any blockages or break up any ice that has clung to the edge.

Examine the water sensor

Another common problem if ice is not being produced deals with the water sensor. Located below the water spout or water reservoir is a sensor that tells the unit whether or not water is available. The sensor is usually a small wire. Check to see if any debris or clogs are disrupting the sensor, and make sure it comes into contact with the water either flowing from the spout or in the reservoir.

Give it a proper cleaning

If the ice from your portable ice maker has a subpar taste or smell, you may need to give the unit a thorough cleaning. To properly clean the unit, first remove any leftover ice from the unit and make sure its powered down. Remove the ice tray and wipe down the interior with a soft cloth. You'll also want to wipe down the tray itself before replacing it back into the unit. You can also run a couple cycles with a capful of vinegar or lemon juice, which can help clean out any impurities and calcium buildups within the unit. Finally, wipe down the exterior, again with a soft cloth.

Check out these other resources for more information about portable ice makers:

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