Author Topic: Icemaker water supply tube freezes  (Read 17785 times)

Offline peterparch

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Icemaker water supply tube freezes
« on: October 13, 2008, 11:00:05 AM »
 have a problem with water freezing in the refill tube that passes through the back wall into the freezer compartment. I was able to thaw the blockage and get the icemaker working ok, but it became frozen again within a few days. When this happens, pressure builds up in the water supply line causing the line to burst apart at the joint where the supply line joins the tube that passes through the back of the freezer compartment. The tubes are held together with a spring clamp at this point.
When the supply line come apart, water spills onto the floor whenever the icemaker calls for water. The first time that this happened it was not detected for several days.By that time many gallons of spilled water had leaked under the adjoining hardwood floor resulting in extensive damage.
Needless to say I do not want that to happen again and would appreciate suggestions for:
-preventing the supply tube from freezing in the first place and
-preventing the supply line from busting apart if it does. The water supply comes from the household water system which is regulated at 45 psi.

Offline JWWebster

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Re: Icemaker water supply tube freezes
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2008, 12:27:16 PM »
Water valves will sometimes drip like a leaky water faucet. If yours is leaking it could cause the supply line to freeze. Have you replaced that water valve?
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Offline peterparch

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Re: Icemaker water supply tube freezes
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2008, 02:17:30 PM »
Thanks for the tip but I checked it out and the inlet valve does not leak.

Offline Repair-man

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Re: Icemaker water supply tube freezes
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2008, 02:41:58 PM »
It has insufficient water pressure to the icemaker, regardless of your household pressure. If this is on a saddle valve, then it is not receiving house pressure.

 In 3-5 years under hard water conditions, the water valve on the refrigerator will calcify internally, even though no visible sediment is seen in the inlet screens. This is done gradually on a molecular level.  Replace the valve as JW insinuated and this should clear up.
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Offline peterparch

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Re: Icemaker water supply tube freezes
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2008, 03:26:38 PM »
 There is lots of pressure and flow downstream from the inlet valve as evidenced by the line connection bursting apart when blocked and the large volume of water that was spilled on the floor. There never has been a problem with insufficient volume of water being delivered to the ice cube tray.

I don't understand why low pressure would cause the freezing and bursting problem. As mentioned previously , the inlet valve is not leaking.

Offline Repair-man

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Re: Icemaker water supply tube freezes
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2008, 03:36:39 PM »
What you perceive as a lot of water and "pressure" just because the line came apart is not as it seems.

The reason the line popped off (and I see this on a weekly basis), is because when the water coming into the icemaker slows down, it will actually freeze at the distal end where it runs out. In time, it completely blocks the fill tube, causing the fitting in back to separate. The water from the valve sends 40 ccs of water shooting up to a frozen tube...the water will go somewhere. Once the tube is dislodged, every 76 minutes will get another cycling of the icemaker, more water on the floor...all day  and nite.

Again, from my past experience, you simply need a new water valve on the refrigerator.
Be sure the temperature control is not turned up more than the midpoint, or the tube can freeze also. We want to see a 0 degree F target temperature in the freezer and 36-38 in the FF section.

Amana does not recommend connecting their products to an R/O water filter system.  FYI
« Last Edit: October 13, 2008, 03:38:42 PM by Repair-man »
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Offline peterparch

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Re: Icemaker water supply tube freezes
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2008, 04:47:05 PM »
Thanks Karma,
If I understand you correctly what you are saying is that over time the inlet valve becomes partially plugged, reducing the outlet pressure and reducing the water flow rate into the icemaker. If the flow rate is too low then the water will gradually freeze in the tube until it becomes blocked entirely. Makes sense.

Do you have any figures for what the water flow rate into the icemaker should be so that it doesn't freeze? Also, do you have any suggestions on how to prevent the tubing connection from bursting apart in case it does freeze again? I don't want to pay for another hardwood floor replacement.

Offline Repair-man

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Re: Icemaker water supply tube freezes
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2008, 04:57:54 PM »
Actually, my handle is Repair-man. Karma is something we all acquire, although I fail to see what role it plays on this forum. Apparently it is given out to almost anyone with a solution that works.

I don't really prefer to get into the semantics about flow rate, just that the icemaker must have a certain amount of water during the fill time... 7.2 seconds.
The correct fill is 90 to 120cc (3.0 to 4.0 oz.).

One way of preventing the tubing from dislodging is to use mechanical worm clamps instead of the cheap pressure clamps the factory put on there. There should be no actual pressure in the line from the valve to the freezer, so no excessive clamping is really necessary. It's all related to poor water  flow causing the freeze-up, dont'cha see?
« Last Edit: October 13, 2008, 05:01:33 PM by Repair-man »
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Offline JWWebster

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Re: Icemaker water supply tube freezes
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2008, 05:33:04 PM »
See my Karma is 62. thats about what I made on my last speling test.
May the hinges of our friendship
        never grow rusty.

About the icons: The beer is tip link, if a tech saves ya some money buy em a 6 pack. The small green square=personal message. The green dot is a link to my web page on appliance repair and other general BS I love to post. The letter sends me email.
I love fan letters! LOL

Offline peterparch

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Re: Icemaker water supply tube freezes
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2008, 12:49:40 PM »
Hi Repair-Man,
I measured the flow out of the inlet valve and it came out to 120ml as per your specs but replaced the valve anyway as suggested. However the  problem still persists. Any other suggestions?

You are right that there should be no pressure at the junction where the supply tube from the valve connects at the back of the fridge and excessive clamping should not be required. However this is true only if the tube does not freeze and become blocked, but if it does there will be full line pressure at this point- enough to cause the joint to burst apart. Due to the location of this joint behind the fridge this failure could go undetected for several days during which time many gallons of water will be spilled with the potential of causing serious water damage as occurred in my case. If , as you say, this happens quite regularly then I would consider that joint to be a serious design flaw with ice makers.

Offline Repair-man

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Re: Icemaker water supply tube freezes
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2008, 12:53:58 PM »
Actually, if it was a design flaw, all refrigerators would automatically leak when the lines froze. This is not an Amana-specific incident, nor does it occur with this brand any more than the others.

The key here is to prevent freeze ups. This is done by regulating carefully the freezer temps and airflow. Too cold will get you  frozen up quick. (Think 0o)

You can always glue the connections  in place back there if you are paranoid about them coming apart in the future. There's no practical reason they need to be removed anyway. Any ice buildup can be quickly removed by heat gun or steam anyway.

In some cases where the freezer temps cannot be well maintained, we have installed tubing insulation inside of the freezer to protect the line. (Black foam tube sleeve)
One note of interest is that Amana does not recommend having the system connected to an R/O filter, nor a saddle valve. The incoming pressure must be at least 25 p.s.i at the water valve to keep it functioning properly. Too low and the valve may stick open.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2008, 01:04:35 PM by Repair-man »
"It's only expensive if someone else fixes it for you" -
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