Why is My Ice Maker Not Filling Up All the Way?

Reading Time: 4 minutes Ice Machines 101, Troubleshooting

Ice maker not filling up all the way

Is your ice maker not filling up as much as it used to? Is your Kansas or Missouri-based business seeing less ice than before? If your ice maker is not filling up all the way, it’s likely due to an underlying problem.

Here are a few of the most common problems that cause low ice production.


Ice machines need to be installed in cooler temperatures to reach their maximum output. Ideally, the surrounding air around your commercial ice equipment should be close to 70-degrees. The incoming water should be close to 50 degrees. If those temperatures begin to rise, you’ll find your ice maker will begin to slow down. Accounting for temperature is a challenge for most business owners when trying to pick the right size ice maker and ice storage bin.

AHRI capacity is another measurement you’ll find in an ice machine’s spec sheet. This measurement rates the ice machine’s production when the temperatures are raised to 90-degree air and 70-degree water.

Oftentimes, when a business’s ice maker is not filling up all the way it’s due to rising temperatures that have occurred without the user’s knowledge. Temperatures can rise because of summer or because the ice machine is not getting enough ventilation to release hot air.

If your ice maker is not making ice like it used to, try lowering the thermostat to around 70-80 degrees. Make sure to clear out any boxes or other clutter around the machine as well.

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Low Water Flow

Commercial ice machines need specific volumes of water to produce a full batch of ice.

Depending on the model, commercial ice makers require between 3-5 gallons of water per minute. Low water flow can lead to small ice cubes or an ice maker that stops working altogether.

There are a few reasons why your ice maker might not be receiving enough water. They include:

  • Your ice maker is leaking
  • Your water line is frozen or plugged shut
  • Dirty Water Filter
  • Faulty Water Inlet Valve
  • Another appliance pulling water from the ice machine (dishwasher, sink, etc.)

If you believe the problem might be with your ice maker due to a dirty water filter or faulty water inlet valve, you should call an ice machine technician.

For problems not related to the machine, like water line issues, other appliances, etc., you will need a plumber.

Freeze Ups

Freeze ups occur when ice sticks to the evaporator plate and continually builds until it’s frozen over the entire evaporator plate. When this happens, it can cause an issue where your ice maker is not filling up all the way or stops producing altogether.

An ice maker freeze up that results in low ice production is often caused by:

  • Scale buildup on a dirty ice maker’s evaporator plate
  • Low water flow to the ice machine
  • Component failure inside the ice machine
  • Improper setup or installation

It’s possible to melt the ice off the evaporator plate to get the machine running again – but that won’t solve the underlying issue.

An ice machine technician in Kansas or Missouri can help with scale buildup or repairs needed.

If your water line is not delivering enough ice and causing a freeze up, you’ll need a plumber.

Bin Control Issues

Bin controls are designed to monitor the amount of ice in your ice bin and shut the machine down when the bin is close to full.

If the bin control fails for any reason, it can shut down the ice machine prematurely and leave you with no ice.

There are two main types of bin controls, mechanical and thermostatic.

Mechanical bin controls consist of a hinged door that depresses when ice touches it. When the door is pressed shut, it sends a signal to turn the machine off. If the door, for whatever reason, gets stuck your ice maker will not produce ice.

Thermostatic bin controls are common on large ice makers. These systems use temperature to monitor when your bin is close to full. Ice touches the bin control, a thermostatic bulb senses a drop in temperature and sends a signal to the ice machine to shut down. Thermostatic bulbs can have a hard time registering temperature drops if they are placed in rooms below 50 degrees. When this happens, they can shut down prematurely and won’t turn on until the temperature rises.

If you encounter an issue you believe to be a faulty bin control, contact an experienced ice machine service company.

Being Attentive Can Keep Your Ice Bin Full

There are many problems that can cause an ice maker to not fill all the way. If your ice machine is not filling all the way, inspect the machine and the surrounding area. Your ice maker might be working just fine, but environmental factors could be the cause.

Often, simply lowering the thermostat or removing clutter around the machine can get it producing ice at peak capacity. Paying attention to these factors can help save you money on a service call.

If you’re looking for ice machine maintenance in Kansas or Missouri, give Ice-Masters a call! Our team of Ice Machine Experts has been servicing Hoshizaki and Manitowoc ice machines since 1951.

Our team is available to help you get started today!

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