An automatic ice maker can increase a refrigerator's energy use by 14 percent to 20 percent. You may want to decide if having ice on demand is worth that much of a jump to your electric bill. If not, you’ll be happy to know that you can easily turn your ice maker off in less than a minute, even if you just need to do it temporarily.
Reasons to Turn off Your Automatic Ice Maker
In addition to the energy savings issue, there are a few other reasons why you may want to turn off your ice maker.
- You need to defrost your fridge or the ice maker itself.
- You're going to be away from home for a week or more and don't want to come home to stale ice that's been absorbing random odors in your fridge.
- You don't want the expense and hassle of changing water filters just for clean and mold-free ice.
- Your ice maker makes too much ice for you to use and it's all just refreezing together to create one big lump of ice in the bin.
- Your fridge does not have a water dispenser and it is not connected to a water line, but the ice maker keeps buzzing.
- The ice maker causes part of your fridge to stay too cold for your preference or causes foods nearby to freeze.
Most ice making units are designed to shut off automatically when the bucket is filled and it turns on again when it needs to produce more ice. If ice overflows and the unit does not temporarily shut off, make sure the bucket and any shelving parts are properly positioned.
How to Turn off Your Refrigerator's Ice Maker
Models With Switches
Look for a switch on the front of your ice maker. If you see one, simply flip it to the "off" position, and you're done. For GE electronic ice makers, there may be an on/off toggle switch. The I is for on, and a green light will be lit. To turn it off, set the power switch to O for off. If there is an on/off slide switch, you turn it off by sliding the switch, so the paddle is under the icemaker.
Models Without Switches
If no switch is present, there is a metal bar that needs to be adjusted or lifted. It's called a fill bar or metal feeler arm. It's generally found on the side of the ice maker in the up position. Gently lift the metal feeler arm to the up position to turn the unit off. You may hear a click sound when it locks into place.
Models With Touch Controls/Without a Switch or Metal Arm
If you don’t immediately see a switch or an arm on your ice maker, it’s probably one of the newer models of refrigerators that require you to hit several buttons on a touchscreen or touchpad in a specific sequence to turn the unit off. Refer to your owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s website for instructions on how to do it. However, note that there is usually a secondary switch somewhere on the unit for disabling.
You may have a complicated ice maker that requires disconnecting a wire harness that cuts power to the ice maker. Consult the owner's manual or call in an appliance expert for guidance.
Tips for Turning off Your Refrigerator Ice Maker
- Turn your ice maker off right after you hear it drop ice into the bucket, so the ice cube tray won’t have a chance to fill back up with water. You don’t want to leave ice sitting in the ice maker.
- Use or discard any ice that has been made. It will begin to absorb odors and won't be appetizing to use after a few days.
- Be sure to clean and dry the ice bucket after turning off the ice maker so there's no moisture there to attract mold and mildew.
- Do you want to remove your ice maker permanently? Consult your refrigerator manual for instructions. You can always set the ice maker aside in case you change your mind later or want to reinstall it before you sell your fridge. Taking it out won’t harm it in any way.
- Use the space occupied by the ice bucket to store a couple of ice cube trays.