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How to Get A New "Ice Maker" for Under $4!

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Oh those ice makers are a life saver if you love having ice in your cold beverages! But when they clog up or quit working, and if like us, you're tired of the "fixing", you start looking for other ways to have ice .... without buying a new appliance. (Average cost to have a new ice maker installed is about $200-$300 depending on model of frig and labor fees.)
Yes, an automatic ice maker is essentially another appliance that works inside (or you could say is installed inside) your frig's freezing compartment.
This is a photo of one that's similar to the one we have...or I should say "had". Now if you're looking for a rocket science approach to a 'fix', this isn't that post. ;-) But if you're looking for a very simple and inexpensive "fix", do read on.
UPDATE: For those who are concerned about your plastic being food grade or not, you can line the container with Saran Wrap or other plastic wrap or line it with aluminum foil. Both options are food safe. Others comments have addressed this issue as well, if you're looking for more answers to this concern.
SECONDARY UPDATE: We've been using this little ice "bucket" now for several months with happy success! No smelly ice cubes, no problems with ice cubes all sticking to each other, only a little 'frosting over' on the cubes occasionally. It may not be everyone's perfect solution, but it worked great for us. :-)
This shows the ice maker unit. Underneath is the 'bucket' that holds the cubes as they're made. Ours initially worked fine but seemed to get clogged frequently with ice in the water tube. We learned via YouTube videos how to fix it ourselves and save a ton of money on repair costs. But then one day.....{sigh} it started leaking onto the floor from the back and we'd had it! After trying a few DIY fixes again, we thought "Well, what did we do in our former house where there wasn't an auto ice maker? We used ice cube trays!" But we like a lot of ice so we needed something more than just 3 or 4 trays in our little side by side frig/freezer. We needed something that we could store more ice at the ready.
This is our side by side frig/freezer. Loved having the ice maker and water dispenser but when it quit working, and at the cost of getting a new dispensing unit, we thought there must be another way. :-) And we can get cold water from bottles stored in the frig so.......
This is the cover that hid the automatic ice maker inside the freezer. That unit has already been removed and you can see the ice trays sitting inside on a shelf.
After the ice maker unit was removed, we simply took a piece of 1/4" plywood and made a shelf that fit on the already existing brackets. We used white high gloss spray paint on the shelf making it easy to clean if necessary. As you can see, there is still room for a couple more trays. Though this works well, we wanted to have room for more ice cube storage.. So.........
To hold the ice cubes, I bought a plastic shoe box which fit on a lower shelf perfectly. I also now have 'created' another shelf where I can put things on top of the shoe box. Before we were just storing the cubes in a plastic dish but it wasn't feasible to store more things on top of it.
The shoe box works like a drawer making it easy to put the cubes into it and also easy to have cubes at the ready :-) Now we have almost as many ice cubes available as we had with the auto ice maker.....and no worries about leaking. :-)
And when you open up the freezer, it looks as good as it did with the ice maker in it....not that a 'decorative looking' freezer is all that important. LOL!
If your ice maker has quit working and you're looking for a simple yet very workable way to have lots of ice, this idea may be for you too!

Materials I used for this project:

  • Sterlite plastic shoe box   (Walmart or most big box stores)
  • Ice cube trays   (Walmart or most big box stores)
  • 1/4" plywood scrap piece   (Left over from previous project)
See all materials
  • Cori Widen
    Cori Widen
    on Oct 5, 2016

    Really clever idea!!

  • Christy bellinger
    Christy bellinger Suffolk, VA
    on Oct 5, 2016

    Good idea, thanks for sharing!!

  • Debra Ellis
    Debra Ellis Canada
    on Oct 6, 2016

    super smart, great job

  • Heather Quinton
    Heather Quinton Riverton, UT
    on Oct 6, 2016

    Brilliant

  • CK
    CK Mandan, ND
    on Oct 6, 2016

    Thank you ladies for your kind words. I think sometimes being just a little on the 'stingy' side makes us think about options that are rather 'old-fashioned'. But in today's world, we call it recycling or being thrifty :-D

    • CK
      CK Mandan, ND
      on Oct 7, 2016

      Super idea B. Enne!

Inspired? Will you try this project? Let the author know!