Why Does My Ice Maker Freeze Up?

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Why Does My Ice Maker Freeze Up

Last updated on October 28th, 2022 at 11:20 am

Believe it or not, but ice can actually harm your ice machine. An ice maker freeze up can be very expensive to fix if it ends up damaging your ice machine. Ice can grow to such an extent that it breaks vital components. Luckily there are ways to identify when an ice machine freezes up, so you can prevent any further damage to the unit.

What is an Ice Maker Freeze Up?

Ice makers freeze up when ice can’t release off the evaporator plate. As water continues to flow over the stuck ice, it continues to form to the point where it becomes a massive block of ice. A freeze up can prevent your ice maker from dropping ice or grow so large that it damages the evaporator plate, leading to an expensive ice machine repair.

While a freeze up is pretty easy to identify, the cause of a freeze up isn’t always easy to diagnose. There are actually a few reasons why an ice maker can freeze up. Often the underlying issue must be addressed to prevent the ice maker from continually freezing up.

Freeze ups may cause a 3-beep error code in Hoshizaki ice makers. If you have a Hoshizaki machine, bookmark this article.

What Causes an Ice Maker Freeze Up?

Freeze ups can happen for many reasons, but there are a few common issues that you should look for first.


Scale is the result of hard water in your ice maker. Calcium and magnesium forming together and clinging to surfaces where water continuously flows. If you live in an area with hard water, you’ve likely seen scale forming around your faucet or on your shower tiles.

Ice makers form ice by flowing water over a freezing evaporator plate. As the water flows, it begins to freeze to the evaporator plate little by little until it forms a cube. When the ice grows large enough, the machine harvests the ice by increasing the temperature of the evaporator plate. Additionally, flowing water assists in the releasing the ice, allowing it to drop into the storage bin.

When scale covers your evaporator plate, ice has a much harder time releasing. If an ice cube can’t release from the evaporator plate over continual freeze cycles, the one cube can grow into a large chunk of ice that can harm your ice maker.

The best way to avoid this is by getting routine professional cleanings to get rid of scale in your machine. If you live in an area with hard water, a water softener or phosphate filter can help to reduce the amount of scale in your machine.

All You Need to Know About Ice Machine Cleaning - How to Get Rid of Scale, Slime, and Mold

Bin Control Malfunctions

Bin controls monitor the amount of ice in ice bins. It shuts the ice machine down when it reaches the maximum capacity. Without a bin control, your ice machine would continue to produce ice around the clock, and when a bin control malfunctions, that’s exactly what happens.

If the ice machine can’t shut down, it will produce ice until it eventually builds up through the drop zone and backs up into the ice machine. Once the drop zone is plugged up, ice can’t deposit, and the machine freezes up.

The best way to avoid this is to make sure your ice machine gets at least 2 preventive maintenance visits a year from a qualified ice technician. If you notice your ice machine is not shutting down once the bin is full, shut down the machine manually and call a professional ice machine technician as soon as you can.

Float Switch Issues

In Hoshizaki ice machines, a float switch controls the amount of water used during a freeze cycle.

If the float switch malfunctions, it may cause the machine to make larger than normal ice, which is harder to release from the evaporator plate during the harvest cycle.

This can lead to a freeze-up, as well. If you notice larger ice in the storage bin you should call a qualified technician to check the machine operation.

Clogged Water Lines

Your water line is responsible for providing water to your ice equipment. Water lines won’t be able to deliver the proper flow of water to your ice machine if the line is plugged by mineral content or too small. The winter months can lead to frozen water lines, which is one of the most common ice maker problems caused by cold weather.

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Low water flow means the ice machine will not be able to release ice cubes off the evaporator plate. This leads to malformed ice cubes that eventually lead to a freeze up.

In these instances, you’ll likely need a plumber to fix this issue. If you’re dealing with frozen water lines, they will likely need to be insulated so the problem doesn’t persist.

Avoid Costly Freeze Ups with Preventive Maintenance

Preventive maintenance and cleaning are vital if you want to avoid costly repairs. A freeze up can lead to damaged evaporator plates that are expensive to repair. Often, a skilled technician can catch small problems that lead to freeze ups before they end up hurting your pocketbook. That’s why we make sure all of our machines receive biannual maintenance and cleaning to keep them running.

If you’re interested in one of our ice machine subscriptions, complete with maintenance and cleaning, contact us today!

Our team is available to help you get started today!

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17 Comments on “Why Does My Ice Maker Freeze Up?”

    1. Hi Gary,

      It looks like your Ice Machine is malfunctioning and we recommend service sooner rather than later. Repeated freeze-ups can cause severe damage to the freezing plates in the unit. There are a lot of reasons this could be an issue, but the best way to accurately diagnose your problem is to call an ice machine service technician.


  1. Hi,

    Lately I am getting a lot of ice build-up on the bottom of my ice maker bucket. It builds up solid around the augers so much that ice won’t dispense.

    Do you have any suggestions?

    My refrigerator is almost 20 years old, so I wonder if I should invest in a new one or maybe replace the ice-maker?

      1. Ice machin drops ice ok but get closed up in the aria wher ice drips though makes it hard to get ice box off as it is frozen at the bottom

        1. Hey Mag,

          Can you provide us with any more information about the ice maker model you’re having issues with? Manufacturer, model, etc.? From your description, it sounds like it may be the type that’s used in a residential refrigerator. If this is case, we’d unfortunately be unable to advise, since Easy Ice works exclusively with commercial ice machines.

  2. Same but my fridge is only 2 years old. Plastic bin that hold ice just cracked into pieces and second shelf just fell off of the refrigerator door when door was opened by an adult with no quick force. Sooooo disappointed in this refrigerator. I now have to decide whether to spend $500 for replacement parts or just get rid of it and buy the fridge I want.

    1. I’m sorry to hear that, Elizabeth. That’s very frustrating! One thing to look into is how long it would take to get the replacement parts or the new fridge, as both may be affected by supply chain issues. Good luck!

  3. I have an LG Refrigerator that I inherited from my dad. The ice keeps freezing up on the right side of the bin and it forms a block of ice. When this happens, it won’t dispense ice and the ice bin cannot be removed because there is ice around the outside of it. The last time this happened, we got it out, cleaned and dried it and put it back in but now it won’t make ice at all. I’ve turned the ice maker off and on but still nothing. I can’t afford to call someone to repair it. Any suggestions on how I can fix it myself?

    1. Hi Sandra,
      That is irritating; I’m sorry it’s giving you problems. We work on commercial ice makers, which function differently than in-home ice makers. I suggest googling the model and seeing if anyone has advice on it. The more specific advice you can get to your brand and model, the better. Good luck!!

  4. Ice is building up around the ice dispenser and under the tray. what can be causing this. the dispenser works fine.

    1. Hello, Greg.

      That’s never good! Sorry to hear that, but we can help.

      We’ve shared the three most common reasons for ice to build up around the dispenser and under the tray, below.

      Depending on the manufacturer and style/model of ice dispenser, there could be an issue with the ice gate (where ice is delivered). The issue is that it’s not closing all the way.

      In some cases, the dispenser gate opening is too large for the container the customer is using, and ice spills out into the drip tray located in the front.

      We’ve all watched the perfectionists at the dispenser fill their glass or cup to the top and then pour out ice to get that perfect level in their glass.

      If you need more information, we’d be happy to help. Please call 1-866-EASYICE.

  5. I have a similar issue. Ice forms around the ice bucket on LG in door ice maker. You open the ice maker door inside the fridge door (dispenser door) and you see the ice bucket. All at the bottom and on the right side is ice formed in the space between the ice bucket and the slot holding the ice bucket.

    I defrosted the whole fridge (per LG recommendation) over a 48 hour time frame. Water kept dripping out of the ice maker door a lot for the whole two days. . Put it back together and in a few days back to normal. Here we are 6 months later and same problem.

    It seems the three common problems you listed above are for outside the door dispenser and I think the person was having the same issue inside the ice maker like me. Ice is forming around the ice bucket inside the fridge ice maker door and the gasket ice maker door.

    After reviewing a lot of threads and website locations, seems the problem might be where the water is put into the ice tray. There seems to be a gap between where the water comes in and a funnel type collector where water goes into the ice trays. (this is by design) This may have some type of partial obstruction causing water to be sprayed outside the funnel which drips down the side and freezes. Just not sure.

    Your thoughts?

    1. Hello, Ray.

      Contacting the manufacturer was a good idea and a good place to start. Many times they are aware of common issues with certain models. In this case, it might be best to contact a local, small appliance company versed in domestic ice makers.

      There could be a small leak in the water delivery system, which is allowing water to escape the ice-making section and freeze in the areas you described. Having a technician put his eyes and hands on this unit may give you a long-term solution. As always, check reviews and contact the appliance company explaining the situation so they can be properly equipped when they arrive.

      Unfortunately for your situation, we don’t handle domestic ice makers. We provide repair and maintenance only on commercial ice makers that you might see in a restaurant or grocery store.

      All the best, Ray.

  6. Pingback: Comment Retirer Un Fabricant De Glace Gelé?

    1. Hey Grady,

      Sorry to hear your ice maker is causing you trouble so soon. Freeze ups can happen for a number of different reasons, but the important thing to know is that repeated freeze ups can cause damage to the freezing plates in your ice machine. I would suggest having a service technician check it out as soon as possible. Can you provide any more detail about your ice machine such as brand, model, or serial number?

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