You may have noticed that some of the outlets in your kitchen, bathroom or garage look different from the other outlets in your house. These outlets are shaped differently and have two small buttons in the center. Those special outlets are called ground-fault circuit interrupter or GFCI outlets. They are also known as GFI or ground-fault interrupter outlets. In this article, we’ll explain exactly what a GFCI is and how it works. Finally, we’ll examine some of the problems that might be causing your GFCI to shut off or “trip.”
Please know that for your safety, it’s best to call a professional when dealing with electrical issues. We do not advise doing these repairs yourself without understanding the risks.
What is a GFCI Outlet?
A GFCI outlet is wired directly into your home’s electrical circuits and is designed to monitor the current flowing through the circuit. Any interruption or surge that alters the current (such as dropping a hair dryer in water or plugging too many appliances into one circuit) will cause the GFCI to shut off or “trip.” By shutting off the electrical current, the GFCI protects you from electrical shocks and prevents fires caused by overheated circuits. Most states require the installation of GFCIs in areas near water sources, such as kitchens and bathrooms, as well as in all outdoor receptacles.
What Causes a GFCI Outlet to Trip?
Typically, the GFCI outlets in your home are wired in such a way that only a major electrical problem will cause them to trip. However, there are a few instances in which a GFCI will keep tripping regardless of what is plugged into it. If this is happening, that means there is an underlying problem that needs to be addressed immediately. A GFCI that is continually tripping is not working properly and exposes you and your home to the risk of electrical shock or fire from an overloaded circuit.
How Does a GFCI Outlet Work?
When an electrical current escapes or “leaks” out of its proper path, it is called a ground fault or leakage current. A GFCI outlet is designed to trip about one tenth of a second after it detects even a tiny amount of leaking current. Because the circuit that is being protected by the GFCI can span multiple rooms and have multiple appliances running on the same circuit, it can be difficult to determine the cause of a tripped GFCI, especially when nothing is plugged into it or it seems to trip at random times. These “ghost trips” are most often caused by:
A ground fault somewhere in the circuit.
Moisture invading the receptacle box.
A faulty GFCI outlet.
The next section will explain each of these causes in more detail and show you how to fix the problem.
Fixing a Ground Fault in the Circuit
If you’ve reset a tripped GFCI but it keeps tripping when you plug appliances back in, then there is a ground fault or leakage current somewhere in the circuit. Until the ground fault is fixed, the GFCI will continue to trip.
To determine where the current is leaking:
1. Unplug all the appliances that are on that outlet’s circuit.
2. Push the reset button on the GFCI.
3. Plug in one appliance at a time until the GFCI trips. The last appliance you plug in/turn on is likely the source of the leakage or all of your appliances in combination are overloading the circuit. You can double check this by unplugging all the appliances that were on before the GFCI tripped, except for the last one you plugged in. If the GFCI still trips, you’ve found the source of the ground fault.
4. Replace or repair the faulty appliance.
Fixing Moisture Inside the Receptacle Box
If the problem GFCI is an outdoor receptacle or an indoor outlet that was exposed to water in some way, moisture inside the receptacle box could be causing the GFCI to trip. A wet GFCI will trip regardless of what is plugged into it and may continue to trip even if there is no visible moisture inside the box. Trapped moisture inside the box will cause the GFCI to trip until it dries up.
What to Do if There’s Moisture Inside the Receptacle Box:
1. Reset the GFCI outlet. You may have to wait several hours for the moisture inside the receptacle to dry. Removing the cover and using a hair dryer set on low to blow warm air into the box can help speed up this process.
Note: Always make sure your weatherproof covering is closed over outdoor receptacles whether there are appliances plugged in or not.
Faulty GFCI Outlet
If you have a GFCI that won’t reset even if nothing is plugged into the circuit, you either have an issue with another outlet on that circuit or a faulty GFCI. Since a single circuit can span multiple rooms, there are likely multiple outlets wired into it and a problem in any one of them can cause the GFCI to trip. The other possible explanation is that the GFCI itself is faulty. A GFCI uses sensitive circuitry to detect ground faults and over time, this circuitry can become worn out. In this situation, the only solution is to replace the GFCI.
Both of these issues are major electrical repairs and you should call an electrician if you suspect that either of these is the source of your GFCI problems.
Every year, hundreds of Americans die from electrical shocks. In a typical 120 volt outlet, 2 seconds of exposure to a ground fault or electrical surge is enough to kill an adult. GFCIs are specifically designed to protect you and your family from the devastating effects of electrical shocks or fires; that is, if they are working properly. Make sure to test your GFCIs monthly and if you notice one that is not working as it should, call a professional electrician immediately.
It’s an unfortunate fact that the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (or HVAC) system in your home is one of the most expensive components in your house. And because this system sees almost constant use year-round, it is also one of the most likely components to need repair or replacement. There are many factors that influence the cost of not only the HVAC system, but also the cost of hiring the contractor to install it.
In this guide, we will walk you through the process of getting competitive estimates and choosing the right contractor, and give you a breakdown of the average cost to replace heating and air conditioning systems. This will help you ensure you’re getting the right system for the right price.
Getting a Competitive Estimate For HVAC Replacement Cost
Have you ever noticed that when HVAC repair companies advertise HVAC installations they never really come right out and give you a price? The fact is that there are so many factors that affect the cost of replacing an HVAC system, no contractor can give a set price for every job. Besides, their main goal is to get a salesperson inside your home to sell you a package deal of equipment, accessories and installation.
These kinds of high-pressure sales strategies combined with companies that charge a fee for estimates can make it almost impossible to compare different systems and find a competitive price for your HVAC installation or repair.
5 Factors For HVAC Cost
A typical HVAC contractor will consider 5 factors when determining a cost for your system:
1. Equipment cost
The wholesale cost of the equipment needed for your home’s specific needs.
2. Installation supplies
Includes wiring, ductwork, refrigerant and thermostats.
Estimated hours of labor to do the job. This varies from one company to another.
Travel time and mileage to and from the job.
Obviously the contractor wants to make a profit from every job and will markup the estimate according to their specific policies (typically this can be anywhere from 35-60%).
Other Factors in HVAC Replacement Cost
Keep in mind that the brand of system you choose as well as the size of the necessary equipment, the complexity of the job, any extra requirements like adding new duct work, and even where you live will have an impact on the final estimate. You should always get multiple estimates before choosing your contractor and make sure to check out the company’s customer reviews to ensure you get the best value for your money.
Remember to Do Your Research
Another way you can make sure that you’re getting competitive estimates is to do a little research beforehand to get an idea of what type of equipment you’re going to need and the average cost of the separate components of your HVAC system. Armed with this knowledge, you can avoid falling victim to a dishonest contractor or pushy salesperson while still making sure you get a quality HVAC system.
In the next section, we will look at the different parts of an HVAC system and what you can expect to pay on average for each part. Being able to recognize a fair price can save you thousands when it becomes time to choose a contractor. Remember, these are only general guidelines. Prices can vary widely depending on the brand of equipment you choose and your location.For example, a high-end furnace will cost more in urban California than it does in rural Iowa.
There are several options to choose from when it comes to your home’s furnace, including gas, oil, and electric furnaces. Heat pumps are also gaining popularity in some areas because they are more energy efficient than other types of furnaces but they may not be suitable to colder climates.Oil furnaces are the most common type of furnaces used today because they are highly efficient and work well in cold climates, while electric furnaces are mostly used in areas where the need for heating is not very frequent. Oil furnaces are not very common and are used mainly in areas where natural gas or propane is not readily available.
Furnace Installation Cost
The main cost factor affecting the price of a furnace installation is size. It is essential that you have a furnace large enough to heat your entire home, but not so large that it wastes energy. You will also want to consider if the type of furnace you choose will require any additional ductwork or other supplies that may affect the cost.
Average price of an installed electric furnace: $2,000-$2,700
Average price of an installed oil furnace: $2,000-$5,000
Average price of an installed gas furnace: $3,500-$5,400
Average price of an installed heat pump: $2,300-$6,300
As you can see, the cost of your furnace installation can vary according to your specific needs. These are only average guidelines for you to remember when choosing your HVAC system to avoid being overcharged for either substandard equipment or equipment that is not sufficient for your needs.
Air Conditioner Installation Cost
Central air conditioning is by far the most cost-effective and energy efficient way to keep your home cool. And while replacing the unit is usually relatively simple, there are several factors that will impact the total HVAC replacement cost.
Size does matter! Just like your home’s furnace, the size of the central air unit plays a major role in determining the cost. A little bit of research prior to purchasing will ensure that you get an air conditioner that is an appropriate size.
SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) is a calculation of a central air conditioner’s energy efficiency. The higher the SEER value, the less it costs to run it. Unless you live in an extremely hot climate, a unit with a SEER value of 16 will give you the most bang for your buck. Units with higher values are more expensive and cost more to maintain and are not necessary in areas where the central air is used for only a few months out of the year.
3. Compressor Performance
Compressor performance is the third major cost factor you need to consider. Closely related to the size of the unit, making sure that your air conditioner’s compressor is neither too big or too small for you home will keep the unit operating at its optimal efficiency, both in terms of energy and cost.
4. Ductwork Installation
One final cost factor in any air conditioner installation is whether or not new ductwork will be installed. The condition of the ductwork will determine how efficiently your HVAC system works. Over the years, the ductwork can lose its insulation or split apart at the joints, which allows cold air to escape before it can be pushed through the vents. You could end up with a nicely air conditioned attic while the rest of the house remains an oven.
Because installing ductwork properly is such a labor intensive job, you could be looking at an extra $2000-$3000 expense on top of what you’re already paying for the unit itself. Make sure that you read your contract carefully and if ductwork needs to be installed, that it is included in the estimate to avoid a nasty surprise later when your HVAC system doesn’t work as it should because you failed to have the ductwork replaced too. Dishonest contractors have been known to skimp on the ductwork because it is seldom seen by the homeowners or inspectors and it is easy to add the cost and avoid actually doing the work.
In the previous two sections, we have given you some basic guidelines to help you judge whether or not you’re getting a fair price for the separate components of your HVAC system. In the next section, we’ll give you a rough estimate of what you can expect to pay to replace your entire HVAC system.
Total HVAC Replacement Cost
While the exact cost of replacing your HVAC system will depend on several factors, including where you live, the brands of equipment you choose, and additional repairs or additions that may be needed, the numbers given here should be close to any estimates you’ve received. If you have an estimate that is significantly higher than the estimates given here, you might be dealing with a dishonest contractor or an inflated estimate.
Let’s say you are installing a new HVAC system in a 1,000 square foot home that consists of a gas furnace, central air conditioner and the ductwork labor. You could reasonably expect to pay anywhere from $6,000 to $12,000 for a similar installation.
If you are adding additional features like air purifiers, humidifiers, dehumidifiers or air recovery ventilators then the cost is going to be at the high end of this estimate. You can also expect to pay more if you are upgrading wiring or ductwork or if any of the components are a totally new installation.
Replacing your entire HVAC system does not have to be an expensive, frustrating process. Educating yourself about the factors that influence the cost of the equipment and labor and learning how to protect yourself from dishonest contractors will ensure that you get an efficient, cost-effective HVAC system that will keep your home comfortable for years to come.
Buying a home is often a complicated process, and by the time you get the keys in your hand, you’ve likely spent months thinking about things like mortgages, interest rates, and closing costs; you’ve lost count of how many hours you’ve spent reading and filling out loan applications and all you want to do is move in and start enjoying your new home. Many people don’t realize that buying a home also causes a lot of changes to their tax situation as well.
Prior to 2017, the government offered a tax break on mortgage interest as an incentive to potential home buyers. This allowed homeowners who itemized their deductions to write off some of the cost of their mortgage interest. You may also qualify to deduct mortgage interest paid as part of the settlement as long as the mortgage interest is listed in a statement provided by the lender. Other costs associated with buying a home, including property taxes, and estate taxes may also be tax deductible. If you would like more information on specific tax deductions you may qualify for, you can check IRS Publication 530 for more details or ask your tax professional.
While a detailed explanation of all the potential tax deductions associated with buying a home is beyond the scope of this article, we will answer one question many new homeowners have: is my homeowners insurance tax deductible?
Is My Homeowners Insurance Tax Deductible?
In most cases, the answer is no. According to the Internal Revenue Service, premiums for insurance are non-deductible expenses because most people generally only use their home for personal use. Therefore, payments for insurance, including payments for fire, comprehensive coverage(such as earthquake or flood coverage), and title insurance cannot be itemized on your tax return. Property losses, even if they are covered by the insurance, are also not eligible for deduction. However, there are a few cases in which you are allowed to deduct insurance premiums from your federal taxes.
Deducting Premiums for a Home Office
If you have allocated space inside your home for a home office, you can deduct the same percentage of your insurance premiums from your taxes that you deduct for household expenses. For example, if you deduct 10% of your household expenses for a home office, you can also deduct 10% of your premiums as long as the workplace qualifies for a home office deduction. Keep in mind that the nature of your business may require additional coverage that may or may not be eligible for tax deductions. Your tax professional or insurance agent can help you determine if your home office qualifies for a deduction.
Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)
Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is meant to protect the lender from losses incurred when the borrower defaults on the loan. This type of insurance is often required for mortgage loans provided by government assistance programs or third-party lenders. Many people trying to buy a home find that they can’t afford the down payment or are unable to qualify for a traditional mortgage loan due to bad credit or low income; but they may qualify for assistance from either a government agency or lenders that provide specialized loans or financing for people in these situations. However, these types of loans pose a higher risk of default by the borrower and because of this, most of these loans require the buyer to purchase private mortgage insurance that protects the lender if the borrower fails to repay the loan.
In order to deduct your private mortgage insurance premiums from your taxes, your loan contract must have been issued after 2006 and your adjusted gross income listed on Form 1040 cannot be higher than $54,500 (or $109,000 for married couples filing jointly).
Insurance Premiums for Rental Properties
If you use part of your home as a rental property, a portion of your insurance premiums can be deducted from your taxes because the cost of those premiums is considered a business expense. The percentage of those premiums that are tax deductible depends on the rental property.
If you rent out only the basement apartment of your home, only a portion of your premium would be considered a business expense. However, if you own and rent a separate property that is not connected to your personal residence, then 100% of the insurance policy covering the rental property is tax deductible.
Landlords may also be able to deduct the cost of other insurance policies related to their rental properties regardless of whether the policies also cover their personal residence. Your tax professional will be able to determine if your policy qualifies and make sure you are getting the appropriate tax deductions for your specific situation.
Deducting Property Losses
In most cases, property losses are not tax deductible, even if they are covered under the insurance policy. However, there is one exception to this rule and it applies to losses incurred in a federally declared disaster. For example, areas impacted by the California wildfires, Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma were all declared federal disaster areas. Homeowners who suffered property losses in those areas became eligible for tax deductions to cover financial losses that were not covered by their insurer.
Say you are a homeowner in a federal disaster area and you suffered $15,000 in property losses but your insurance company only reimburses you for $5,000. The remaining $10,000 can be deducted from your federal tax return as long as you itemize your deductions. You may also be able to deduct your insurance premium and depreciation depending on what type of coverage is included in your policy.
The process of purchasing a home can be stressful, and making sense of all the fine print and complicated details associated with that purchase can become tiring. That said, understanding your options with regard to your homeowners insurance can ensure that you have one less thing to worry about as you begin your journey as a homeowner.
Exactly how much does a new furnace cost? What types of furnaces are there? And how much do they cost to install? These are common questions that may come to your mind when you’re considering a new furnace.
Furnace Replacement Cost: How Much Does a New Furnace Cost?
Furnace replacement costs vary. The average range for furnace installation is about $2,000 to $4,300. More high end furnaces will cost upwards of $6,000, with the high end landing around $9,000. Several factors will impact the cost of a new furnace. The difficulty of the installation is one major influence on the cost of furnace replacement, as well as the level of efficiency you choose for your new furnace.
Types of Furnaces and Furnace Prices
Gas Furnace Cost
A gas furnace, the most commonly used furnace especially in regions with harsh winters, costs approximately $1,200 for the furnace itself. The installation cost average is $2,300. Depending on which brand of gas furnace you choose, the prices will vary. The brands on the low end of the price scale include Payne, Goodman, Coleman, and York; while the high end brands are Trane, American Standard, and Lennox. The middle range for gas furnaces includes Amana, Nordyne, and Bryant.
Propane Furnace Cost
If you prefer to use propane rather than gas, you should factor in the price of conversion when estimating costs of a new furnace. Propane can be used in gas furnaces after some minimal conversion work and this will add in some minor fees to the installation. The conversion process works with replacing the gas valve, burners, jets, and sometimes other pieces of the gas furnace, as well. Propane furnaces can run as cheap as $800 and as expensive as $2,000 or more.
Electric Furnace Cost
An electric furnace is most often used in areas where winters are not so bad. Electric furnaces are less popular and less expensive to purchase and install than gas furnaces. They are more expensive to operate, though, as electric runs at a higher efficiency rate than gas due to the fact that they require a lot of electricity to run properly. On average, an electric furnace will cost $650 and then an added $2,000 for installation.
Oil Furnace Cost
An oil furnace is the most expensive option if you are looking at furnace replacement options and costs. They are most often used in regions where there is a high availability of oil. As oil prices are high lately, oil furnaces are not as popular as they once were. Installation costs are expensive, as a professional is needed for the install. On average, an oil furnace will cost $1,800 and then an added $5,800 for installation.
Furnace Efficiency Factors
There are several factors beyond the type of furnace to take into account when considering furnace installation. Consider how efficient you want your furnace to be in heating your home. Fuel efficiency is encouraged by the federal government as fuel efficient furnaces are more eco-friendly. All furnaces have a rating from Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). High-efficiency furnaces land in the 96% area, while mid-efficiency furnaces are rated at about 80-83%. Gas furnaces are most often more efficient than oil furnaces. Energy Star ratings can clue you in as to how efficient the furnace can be, too. Take the time to research these ratings and calculate the needs for your home so that your furnace can be sustainable and not too costly on a monthly or yearly basis.
The size of your home will contribute to the efficiency and costs of a furnace. On average, homes typically need 30 to 60 BTUs per square foot. BTUs are the British thermal unit. They are defined by the amount of heat necessary to increase the temperature of a pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. Climate is taken into account in the variance of these BTUs. In warmer climates, fewer BTUs are needed. In colder climates, more BTUs are needed. Again, it is a good idea to take the time to calculate the needs of your home, based on size and climate, so that your new furnace is up to the job.
Cost of Furnace Installation
As mentioned above, it’s important to take into account the cost of installation when considering furnace replacement costs. When paying a professional for the installation you would likely pay somewhere between $50 – 75 an hour, individually. If there is more than one person installing the furnace, costs will increase. In some areas, a license is required to install a furnace and will add anywhere from $50 – 100 to the cost of the furnace installation.
Other Factors in the Cost of Furnace Installation
If you live in an extreme winter climate, then you might look into some upgraded features for your furnace so as to better maintain its condition. Advanced features are likely unnecessary if you live in warmer or temperate climates, as the environment is less harsh and demanding of a furnace.
The location of your furnace might increase costs. This would be the case if your furnace is located in a spot in your home that is difficult to access. Mainly, this increased installation cost would be due to the fact that it would take professionals longer to install the furnace.
The Time Cost of Furnace Installation
Beyond the time it takes to physically install a furnace, you will have to spend time on the phone or in person talking to your contractor. This is necessary so that they understand the needs for the installation and can make the process as smooth and timely as possible. Make sure you get a warranty in writing from any professionals you work with. The warranty should include exactly what is covered in the costs, how long you are covered when it comes to repairs and replacement, as well as what you can expect the contractor to do if issues arise.
All in all, the cost of new furnaces vary. Ensure that you are installing your furnace in a way that is best for your needs, given the area where you live and the size of your home. Be mindful of the AFUE rating, or the Energy Star rating, when deciding which furnace you will install in your home. Despite the fact that installation costs can be high, paying a professional is often well worth it as it, as the professional doing the installation will likely have more experience than you and be better equipped to install a reliable furnace for your household.
As with all appliances, despite the inconvenience, water heaters are susceptible to wear and tear over time. How long they last, though, varies a fair amount due to a couple of significant factors, mainly relating to some specific factors. In the case of a water heater, these factors include the anode rod, and the make-up, electric or otherwise, of the water heater.
The water heater age can be less or more so than the actual length of time you have had the appliance, depending on how well-cared for it has been. Heater replacement is likely to occur sooner if the water heater is not maintained well enough. If you are timely and aware of the maintenance required for the upkeep of your water heater, replacing the water heater will happen later on in its life.
Water Heater Lifespan: How Long do Water Heaters Last?
Water heater lifespans can vary. The most common, traditional water tank-style heaters can last anywhere from 8 to 12 years.
When Should You Replace Your Water Heater?
Replacing your water heater is necessary at some point in time. Keep an eye out for the following symptoms, and if they are appearing in your water heater, then it’s time to replace it before it fails completely. The symptoms include age, rust or corrosion, drain malfunction (i.e., not draining), hot water tank malfunction (i.e., leakage), temperature malfunction (i.e., too cold or staying luke warm).
Repairing Your Water Heater and Watching for Symptoms
Before you replace your water heater entirely, you can opt to repair some of the above symptoms, particularly if you are hoping to lengthen a water heater’s lifespan. If repairs are done properly, sometimes with the help of a professional, you might be able to go so far as to double the lifespan of your water heater. Below are some symptoms to monitor to keep your water heater in good repair.
Watch for Rust
Water tanks are made out of steel and will rust eventually. If your tap water is slightly red when dispensed, it is likely due to rust in the water tank. The tank would then need to be replaced. Once it has begun to rust, it is difficult to slow the process. Rust leads to corrosion, which could cause your water tank to leak. Leakage can damage your home, so it is best to take action quickly in replacing your water tank. This is especially important if the water tank is in your home. If the water tank is in your garage, less damage will come of it, so you do not need to replace it as often.
Monitor for Leaks
If you are worried about leakage and cannot replace your water heater quickly, then you can find alarms online to let you know when there is a leak. Alarms are relatively accurate and inexpensive, with the added benefit of putting your mind at ease.
At the bottom of your water heater’s tank, there is a build-up of sediment that occurs over time. For those with gas water heaters, it’s likely that you have heard a ‘pop’ when the burner is on. This popping sound is a clue that the sediment build-up is significant. Sediment builds up in electric water heaters, as well, but there is no popping sound.
Prevent Sediment Buildup and Clogs
The build-up of sediment can clog the drain valve of the water heater and lead to a breaking down of the steel tank. Once per year, flush your water heater so that the sediment is removed. This will help to prevent any damage to the tank or the drain valve. If you are not regularly flushing the water heater tank, the sediment will cause major issues and shorten the lifespan of your water heater.
If it comes to the point where the drain valve is so clogged that it cannot be drained at all, then you should call for professional help or you might need to replace your water heater entirely.
Replace the Anode Rod
To really extend the life of your water heater, replace the anode rod. The anode rod is a long metal piece that draws corrosive pieces from the water. If the rod itself is corroded, then it cannot properly do its job. Anode rods are made from aluminum and magnesium.
The top of the anode rod can be seen from the top of the water heater, and is shaped like a hexagon. If you can’t see the head of the anode rod, check with your water heater manual. The rod might be hidden slightly under the heater’s top metal sheet or connected to the hot water outlet. Be careful if you are attempting to replace the rod by yourself as the water will be, of course, quite hot.
By replacing the anode rod, the corrosion mentioned above is slowed down. It’s important to replace the anode rod before the water heater is too close to failure or completely in failure. You will likely need to replace the anode rod every five years or so. Aluminum replacement rods for the anode rod can be found at home improvement stores.
When to Stop Repairing and Just Buy a New Water Heater
Heater replacement is more common in older water heaters. If your water heater is edging in on the 12 year mark, or is older than 10 years, then it’s probably time to look at entirely new options for your water heating system. Even with careful maintenance, some water heaters will need to be replaced sooner than you might hope.
It’s possible to make your water heater last longer if you maintain it carefully, whether it’s an electric water heater or a gas water heater. By maintaining your water heater, you can lengthen its lifespan and avoid replacing your water heater too often or too early.
Ice maker not making ice? As with most home appliances, ice makers have a breaking point. It can be quite an inconvenience when an ice maker is not making ice, but there’s no need to jump to call a professional just yet. Try some techniques on your own and see if you can repair your ice maker with minimal costs.
Ice Maker Repair: Understanding Common Problems
Ice makers are not complicated technology, so if your ice maker stopped working it shouldn’t take too long to get it back up and running. There are a few common problems with ice makers, most often the case is that the ice cubes are not coming out of the ice machine at all. Below, some simple ice maker repair strategies are explained.
Initial Ice Maker Repair Strategies
If your ice maker is not making ice cubes, then the problem is typically due to a clog in the supply line where water has frozen.
1. Unplug the Refrigerator and Turn off the Water Line
To fix this, start by unplugging the refrigerator. Find the shut-off valve – it’s likely underneath the sink or directly behind the fridge. Turn the shut-off valve completely ‘off.’
2. Clear the Water Line
Once everything has been turned off or unplugged, you will need to warm the water line. The most efficient way to warm the water line would be to run some warm water over it. A turkey baster or other tool that allows for precision work best in warming up the water tube.
Another option, if you do not have access to warm water or a proper way of dispensing it over the water tube, would be to let the refrigerator remain unplugged for two hours of more. Of course, remember to empty the contents and find a place to store perishables so the food does not go bad while you are warming up the refrigerator.
3. Turn the Water Line Back On
After the water line is warmed up, turn the shut-off valve back ‘on’ and plug in the refrigerator. If the clog in the supply line is gone, so the water is no longer frozen, then you should be able to hear the water running to fill the ice mold. Ice cubes should start to be produced shortly after.
4. If All Else Fails, Replace the Water Filter
If the clog seems to be due to something other than frozen water backing up the ice maker production, then you might need to replace the water filter.
It’s not uncommon that an ice maker stops because the water filter itself is backed up. Find the water filter and replace it with the proper piece. Water filters for ice makers are typically inside the refrigerator. If water filters and tubes were in the freezer alongside the ice maker, the freezer temperature would cause the machine to stop producing ice entirely.
Alternative Ice Maker Repair Strategies
When your ice maker is still making ice, but the ice cubes are massive or too small, there are some easy fixes. In this case, it is likely not due to a clog, and will be fixed with some minor adjustments to the ice maker.
1. Remove the Ice Maker Cover
Focus directly on the ice maker to fix this issue. To start, take off the cover of the ice maker. The cover is the white plate at the front of the ice maker and it should not require much effort to remove.
2. Adjust the Level of Water Flow
The next step will likely require a flat head screwdriver. Underneath the cover, once it has been removed, use the screwdriver to screw towards the minus or plus symbol on the ice maker control panel. The minus symbol will decrease the amount of water used in ice production and the plus symbol will increase the amount of water. Depending on if you want smaller or bigger ice cubes, you will move the screw in either direction.
Other Reasons Your Ice Maker Stopped Working
There are some more specific issues that could be to blame for why your ice maker stopped making ice. If the above issues are not the cause, then it could be that the tap valve is bad.
1. The tap Valve is Bad
The tap valve is a small device which links the ice maker water supply line directly to the water tube. Replace the inlet valve and the tap valve if these appears to be the issue. For this more complicated cause of ice maker repair needs, you can find a repair kit online to do it yourself, or call for a professional to install a new inlet valve or tap valve.
2. There’s a Problem With the Solenoid
Another more complex issue has to do with the solenoid. The solenoid is attached to the water line. This piece of the ice maker can be found either at the back or very bottom of the refrigerator and connects to the ice maker from there. The solenoid is meant to receive power to fuel the ice maker’s production of ice.
When working with the solenoid to troubleshoot, unplug the refrigerator. Remove the sediment screen inside the solenoid and clean it with some water. Check that the piece, as a whole, is not defective. If there appear to be any issues, you can buy a replacement solenoid online.
Ice maker repair techniques like this should not take up too much time or money. If some problems persist, then you might need to call in for some extra help. Be careful working with the ice maker controls and while replacing or cleaning any of the fill tubes, inlet valves, or water tubes.