How to Install an Ice Maker in a Refrigerator

Ice maker
Ice maker

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Overview
  • Working Time: 75 mins
  • Total Time: 3 hrs
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Estimated Cost: $40 to $100

New refrigerators sometimes come without the ice makers already installed. Sometimes this is a matter of economy, allowing dealers to sell the appliance at a discounted price. Later, though, you may realize that you'd very much like this accessory. Provided the refrigerator is configured to accept an ice maker, installing it yourself is a fairly easy process, All that required is for you to mount the accessory in the freezer compartment, then plug in the water and electrical connections. The same process can be used should you ever need to replace an ice maker that has failed.

You can only install an ice maker on an appliance that is configured to accept this accessory—including the mounting holes in the freezer compartment, inlet ports for water lines, and harnesses for electrical connections. Consult your appliance brochure to learn if your refrigerator can be fitted with an ice maker.

The ice maker kits sold by manufacturers include the ice maker unit, a water supply valve, and all the tubing and hardware required. Make sure to buy a kit that is specified for your refrigerator model.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Screwdriver
  • Nut driver
  • Pliers

Materials

  • Manufacturer's ice maker kit

Instructions

  1. Remove Access Plugs and Covers

    First, unplug the refrigerator from the wall outlet, then open the freezer door and remove any storage shelves.

    Remove the plastic plugs on the back and side of the freezer walls by gently prying them out with a straight blade screwdriver. The two on the side of the compartment are the mounting holes for the ice maker. The larger cap on the back wall is the wiring cover plate. The round plug is the access point where the water fill tube will enter through the back of the refrigerator.

    Ice maker installation plugs removed
    Timothy Thiele
  2. Expose the Water Inlet Opening

    On the back of the refrigerator, locate the sticker where the water inlet tube will be installed. It shows that you must cut an “X” through the sticker with a razor knife. Bend the sticker back into the opening and pull out the foam insulating plug. This is a temporary barrier between the cold freezer air and the room air. Simply pull it out to expose the hole.

    Exposing water inlet hole in freezer
    Timothy Thiele
  3. Connect the Ice Maker Wiring

    In order to install the ice maker wiring, you’ll need to find the wiring connection point. In the larger hole you uncovered at the back of the freezer compartment, there will be a plug-in wiring harness. Extract the harness through the hole and connect it to the ice maker's harness. These two wiring harnesses will snap together and lock. Replace the cover plate on the wire harness opening.

    Install ice maker wiring
    Timothy Thiele
  4. Mount the Ice Maker

    To mount the ice maker, partially drive in the two mounting screws into the screw openings in the side of the freezer cabinet. Hang the ice maker on these mounting screws, then tighten them down with a nut driver.

    Now locate the L-shaped leveling bracket and attach it to the bottom of the ice maker unit, leaving the screws slightly loose. Hold the ice maker so it is level, then tighten down the leveling bracket.

    Install the ice maker tray and drop the on-off lever down to the lower position.

    Mounting an ice maker in freezer compartment
    Timothy Thiele
  5. Insert the Water Fill Tube

    Insert the water fill tube into the hole you opened up in the back of the refrigerator. The tube will have a half-moon shaped tip with the “U” facing up when installed. This tip will extend all the way into the freezer compartment, emptying into the ice maker's fill cup.

    Turn the tube a quarter turn to the left as you press it in, then turn it back to the right to lock it in place. Once installed, install the round foam tube insulation over the fill tube and press it firmly in place.

    Ice maker water fill tube
    Timothy Thiele
  6. Connect the Water Tubing

    Attach the plastic tubing by screwing the end connector onto the threaded fitting at the end of the fill tube. Using pliers, tighten the compression nut securely, but don’t over-tighten, as this can damage the plastic fitting. The rest of the tubing should be unrolled and left hanging towards the floor.

    Now attach the two self-adhesive water tube clamps to the back of the refrigerator. Peel away the backing, then apply them to the refrigerator so they are spaced evenly. Clip the tubing into the clamps so it extends down to the bottom of the refrigerator. Remove the lower back panel on the refrigerator, then punch out the perforated opening where the water valve will fit.

    Push the end of the tubing into the inlet opening on the water valve. Tug on it to make sure it is firmly attached.

    Installing plastic water fill line for ice maker
    Timothy Thiele
  7. Connect the Water Valve's Wiring Harness

    On the bottom right side of the refrigerator, locate the wiring harness—a white plastic plug-in connector with two wires coming out of it. Pull it out and plug it onto the water valve's electrical connection, pressing the harness firmly over the brass terminals on the valve. No other electrical connection is necessary.

    Ice maker water valve wiring
    Timothy Thiele
  8. Mount the Water Valve

    Attach the water valve to the refrigerator frame using mounting screws driven into the predrilled holes in the back of the appliance. Once mounted, reinstall the back cover. The water valve should extend through the opening in the back cover.

    Installing an ice maker water valve
    Timothy Thiele
  9. Complete the Installation

    With the ice maker installed, all that remains is to run a water supply tube from a cold water supply pipe to the water inlet fitting on the top of the refrigerator's fill valve. Normally this is a flexible 1/4-inch plastic or copper tube that is controlled by a fixture shut-off valve attached to any cold water pipe.

    Then, plug in the refrigerator, turn on the water and test the operation of the ice maker. The freezer will have to get cold again before the ice maker will function normally.