Ice Maker Making Hollow, Small, or Mushy Ice Cubes

Ice Maker Making Hollow, Small, or Mushy Ice Cubes

nicO and 2 contributors
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Depending on the style of ice maker your ice may be all different kinds of shapes: cubes, half-crescent, tulips, etc. When your ice is no longer produced in its normal form, consider the fixes below.

Have you recently installed a fridge or new water filter? Refrigerator filters are normally replaced every 6 months. The water system then needs flushing after a filter installation or replacement.

  • Using a rigid container, depress the water dispenser for five seconds, and then release for five seconds. Repeat this process until water flows steadily and all air has been purged.
  • Run the water until it’s clear. Filters can deposit some of their internal media and discolor or change the taste of the water. Irrigate plants with this first batch of filtered water.



A fridge out of level may refuse to cooperate or cool effectively. It might also make strange noises. Also, when the ice maker is out of level the tray will fill unevenly and some of the cubes will come out small or hollow. Level your fridge.

  • Start by adjusting the front feet. Use a bubble level — you may have one on your phone — and correct any side-to-side wonkiness in the fridge.
  • Tilt the fridge back slightly. This will allow doors to close on their own, increase efficiency and prevent ice maker issues.

Your refrigerator and ice maker require a certain amount of water pressure to work. Low water pressure is any value under 20 psi, though most appliances need between 35-120 psi.

If you’re using reverse osmosis (RO) filtration, the pressure supplied to the RO system must be at least 40-60 psi.

  • If pressure is low, first check the RO sediment filter.
  • The RO storage tank may have to refill as well. This is usually the case if you just dispensed a lot of water.

There are a few other reasons why water pressure may be too low. Read on.


If you have hard water, expect a blockage in your water supply plumbing. Lime and calcium deposits will slowly clog your water inlet valve or lines, restricting flow.

Traceback where your house water supply enters the refrigerator.

  • Check this valve and make sure it’s fully open.
  • If it was open, you can close and disconnect the hose to inspect that the screen located inside the valve is not clogged.

The same goes for a saddle valve. A saddle valve mounts to a copper pipe and taps a line for fridge water. Make sure the valve is opened all the way.


If the temperature is correct but the ice maker won’t work, the water inlet valve might be defective. The water inlet valve is an electrically-controlled mechanical valve that opens to supply water to the dispenser and ice maker. If the water inlet valve is defective, or if it has insufficient pressure, it won’t allow water to flow through. As a result, the ice maker won’t make ice.

  • The valve requires at least 20 psi to function properly.
  • Make sure that the water pressure to the valve is at least 20 psi. Close the water inlet valve, and then disconnect the water inlet hose. Hold the hose over a bucket, and open the valve.
  • If the water pressure is sufficient, use a multimeter to check for continuity to the water inlet valve.
  • A water inlet valve should read a resistance value between 500Ω- 1.5kΩ. Outside of this range suggests failure.
  • If the water inlet valve has sufficient pressure and is getting power, but the ice maker won’t fill with water to make ice, replace the water inlet valve. Do not disassemble and reassemble, since this valve is prone to leaking.

After the water inlet valve has filled the ice trays, inspect their level.

  • If the level is not uniform for the tray, consider adjusting the water inlet valve.
  • See your owner’s manual to change the ice maker's water level.

If you've recently moved your refrigerator, double-check to make sure the water supply line doesn't have any kinks in it. This is also the ideal time to inspect the line for clogs.

  • Remove hoses and clear any clogs.
  • Replace hoses if they are frayed, or leaking.

This thermostat monitors the temperature in the ice maker and determines the appropriate level for ice production, and also cycles on and off the ice maker. If you're experiencing intermittent ice production or no ice cycling, it's worth testing this component.

  • Remove your ice maker, and then remove the control head unit.
  • On the backside of the unit, you'll find the thermostat pins.
  • To determine if the thermostat is the problem, you'll have to use a multimeter to test continuity. Testing the thermostat at room temperature should read 0Ω.
  • Leaving the thermostat in the freezer for several hours and then testing will result in a different reading. Between 16 deg F (-9 deg C) and -4 deg F (-20 deg C), the thermostat will read a value of OL or open loop.
  • If your thermostat doesn't behave in this way, it will need to be replaced.

Your fridge is happiest in a certain temperature range. Make sure your fridge isn't too hot or too cold externally and internally.


When the operating temperature of the fridge is above 38 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) and the freezer is above 12 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) then the lights on the panel will flash as an alert.

  • Place a thermometer in ice cream or between already frozen food. Close the door and wait 12 hours before taking the temperature.
  • Adjust the temperature, and close the doors to allow the refrigerator to return to proper conditions.
  • The freezer is usually set to 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius).

You may want to take this time and check the door seal. A faulty seal will lose energy and leak cold air out while letting in hot and humid air.


If the ice maker is not working it could be that the ice maker assembly itself is defective. There are several components in the control module of the ice maker that can fail, and most are not sold separately. Also, ice makers have a relatively short lifespan, and may not always be worth fixing.

  • If other, simpler parts like the water inlet valve or shut-off arm have been ruled out, and the only thing left is the ice maker itself, replace it as a unit.
  • iFixit sells popular ice maker assemblies.

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