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

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. :-)
  • getting a new ice maker for under 4 , appliance repair, appliances
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.
  • getting a new ice maker for under 4 , appliance repair, appliances
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.......
  • getting a new ice maker for under 4 , appliance repair, appliances
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.
  • getting a new ice maker for under 4 , appliance repair, appliances
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.........
  • getting a new ice maker for under 4 , appliance repair, appliances
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.
  • getting a new ice maker for under 4 , appliance repair, appliances
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. :-)
  • getting a new ice maker for under 4 , appliance repair, appliances
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

Got a question about this project?

  • Kathleen frostic
    Kathleen frostic Carsonville, MI

    Actually, I took out the ice maker itself. Left the bin in and grab a bag of ice on my way home from shopping. I just dump the bag of ice in the bin and then I can still use the dispenser for crushed or cubed. Works wonders. I can't stand having to

  • Jeannie Carle
    Jeannie Carle Parnell, MO

    I LOVE this. My neighbors (2 older bachelors) use a LOT of ice. Every time I go there, I have to refill the little bucket thingy they have - SO - THEY are gonna get a shoe-box! No dispenser - but this is a brilliant idea!

  • StormyDays
    StormyDays Stockton, CA

    Great idea... BUT... My concern would be with the chemicals in plastic, getting into the ice of which ends up in your body since this plastic is not made for foods/drinking water.

    • Kay p.
      Kay p. Cleveland, TX

      She mentioned this in the section called UPDATE:. She said to line it first with clear wrap,or aluminum foil,etc. if concerned about chemicals,etc.

  • Toddrsmith
    Toddrsmith Woodstock, CT

    I am so glad to hear from you about this problem. We got our first side by side frig and thought how cool.....wrong....nothing but probs with ice maker from day one. Our ice maker is still making ice but can't use the door so locked the door function

  • Lori Hennessy Lorton

    We have a stand alone freezer, likenothing is in it lol. Great idea. And to just keep the ice trays on top of the storage unit.

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