Built In Refridgerator Ice Maker

We have always had a fridge with a built in ice maker, at least for the past 25 years and now it is one of those features in our home that we would not be without. When the kids were younger, they were always at the fridge getting ice for their drinks and we never really had to be concerned about whether we had lots of ice or not. The ice machine produced more than enough ice for us.

Many people however prefer not have a built in ice maker in their fridges for a variety or reasons. For some it is the extra cost of a fridge with this feature, while other worry about water leaking from the lines or the fridge itself. If you have to run a water line to your fridge from a finished basement, this also adds an extra expense that many people do not want to deal with. Even hiring a plumber to hook up the lines adds to the cost. So why would consumers spend the extra money to install a built in refrigerator ice maker?

Why Install a Fridge With an Ice Maker

For our family initially it was the convenience and the novelty of having an ice maker in our kitchen. As we said, the kids loved it and it really was a hit with the entire family. However, when we decided to replace our fridge, we decided to purchase another fridge with a built in ice maker and this time the reasons for doing so were quite different. Our kids are grown up, so that was no longer a reason we could use. These were our main reasons for buying a new fridge with a built in ice maker:

  • Wanted cold filtered water ( filter built into the fridge)
  • Wanted the convenience of always having ice
  • Wanted crushed ice for drinks
  • Wanted a light on the front of the fridge
  • Wanted a monitoring system with an alarm for power and temperature
  • Wanted a fridge with some contrast instead of a blank metal front
  • The grand kids will love the ice machine

That last criteria was not really a good reason, but we decided to throw it in there for those people that have grand kids. Note that all of these reasons are wants and not needs, which is very different and most people need to justify things for their own satisfaction. This worked for us and we were satisfied with these criteria.

How Does an Ice Maker Work in a Fridge

Ice makers in fridges require a water line connection to the fridge so that there is a ready access to fresh water. Today’s modern fridges will have a water filter built in, which the water will go through before being routed to the ice maker.

The ice maker will automatically fill the ice reservoir, freeze the water into cubes and then expel the cubes into a reservoir until needed. When you depress the ice trigger on your fridge, ice will be expelled from the reservoir into your glass.

Ice makers in fridges also hold water in another reservoir inside the fridge to keep the water cold. You will also be able to fill your glass with cold water as well, directly from the fridge without having to open the door. Press a button and you can also have crushed ice for special drinks.

On modern fridges, there will be controls to monitor and set the inside temperature of both the freezer as well as the non freezer portion of your fridge, a light to turn on, on the outside for night time operation and controls to turn off/on the ice maker. In addition alarms will sound when the door is left open too long or the power is turned off for some reason.

How to Install a Fridge With an Ice Maker

Most people will hire someone to install the fridge in their kitchen and to also install the water line to your fridge. Basically you need to run a water line from a suitable cold water line, usually from the basement up through the floor to the back of your fridge. Installers will use 1/4 inch copper pipe and they will leave a coil at the back of the fridge to allow for expansion as you pull the fridge away from the wall.

If your fridge sits beside the dishwasher or kitchen sink, you may be able to run a short line from one of  the cold water pipes that feed these units in your kitchen instead of having to go into the basement. Consumers with finished basements will appreciate this solution. Make sure that there is a shut off valve to the 1/4 inch pipe were you tap into  the cold water pipe. You will need this if you ever plan to disconnect the fridge from the water line or you have water problems.

Cleaning The Ice Maker

Over the years we have found that you will need to give the reservoir that holds the ice cubes a cleaning once and a while. There is not a lot of dirt in our water, in fact it is pretty good, but somehow there are small bits that seem to find their way into the reservoir.

Making Extra Ice for Parties

Whether you are going camping or just need some extra ice for a party, all you need to do is pull the reservoir out of the fridge and dump the ice into a cooler or a plastic bag. Once you replace the ice make reservoir inside the fridge it will automatically begin making more ice. We find that you can actually make quite a bit if ice by starting a few days in advance of your camping trip.

Turning the Ice Maker Off While You are Away

Most ice makers will automatically shut off if there is any kind of problem, however we like to shut the water source off to the ice maker when we are away and that means that you should also shut the ice maker off as well so that it is not trying to draw water while the water line is shut off.  This is just a safety precaution to prevent any possibility of leaking water. We have never had this problem, however when it comes to water in your home, we believe you can never be too cautious.


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