Informational Guide

Should You Turn Off Your Ice Maker Off?

We look at the reasons for & against it so you and your home can stay safe.

by Ian Haynes

Ice makers do cost more electricity to run continuously, and leaving the ice to build-up can cause more expensive repairs to the unit. So if you plan on going on vacation for more than four or five days, we recommend turning your ice maker machine off.  

Still wondering whether or not you should turn off your ice maker? Our guide will help you find out.  

Do ice makers turn off automatically?

Ice makers work efficiently and do shut off automatically once the ice storage bin is full. However, this isn’t always enough to protect your ice maker if you are going to be away for more than a couple of days.  

When ice is left in the storage bin, it can clump together and freeze together. This often happens when people leave their homes for long periods of time because the ice is never moved around or taken out of the bin. It all sits there and fills up to the highest capacity. This can also create damage to your ice maker that cleaning it alone won’t fix.   

Some ice makers do not turn off automatically and will continue to fill up the ice bin regardless of whether or not there is room. The ice maker can also create areas in your fridge that are too cold for foods and might freeze them.

This can happen even if your ice maker is located in your freezer. If you are going to be gone for four or five days, we recommend turning off your ice maker. 

Should You Turn Off Your Ice Maker

Other Times To Turn Off An Ice Maker? 

Should I Turn Off My Ice Maker

Other times that you might want to consider turning off your ice maker would be when your ice maker is making too much ice, and it is freezing into a lump. This can be frustrating, and not all ice makers turn themselves off before overflowing with ice. 

Another reason that you might want to turn your ice maker off is to avoid changing water filters.  

Sometimes people find that consistently changing their water filters and cleaning their ice maker bin is annoying. If you do not need ice regularly, then you might want to turn off your ice maker. 

Not cleaning your bin regularly will lead to moldy ice, which no one wants.  

Check out our favorite Ice maker brands here

Preparing An Ice Maker Before Leaving It 

If you are going to be leaving your ice maker while on vacation for more than a week, then we recommend not just turning it off but also preparing it to avoid mold.

We recommend switching the ice maker off right after the ice drops to avoid a build-up of ice in the water lines.  

Then, we recommend fully cleaning out the ice bin by dumping the ice and using a cleaning solution on the water bin. This will help avoid mold when you return and keep your ice maker from smelling.  

Bonus: How To Turn Off A Refrigerator’s Ice Maker 

How do I turn off the ice maker on my refrigerator? If you have a refrigerator ice maker and will be gone, then we recommend turning it off. Most refrigerator ice makers have two options: a refrigerator ice maker with on/off buttons and a refrigerator ice maker without on/off buttons.  

If you have on/off buttons, then the simple thing to do is to turn the ice maker off using the button. If you do not have on/off buttons, then you need to move the metal bar inside the unit. Most of these arms are on the side of the ice maker unit.

Feel around for it. Once you find it, move it up gently until you hear a click (not all arms will click, but most do). This lets you know that the unit has been turned off.  

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Why won't my ice maker shut off? 

If your ice maker will not shut off, it may not have an automatic shutoff timer. If it doesn't, then you will need to replace your ice maker with an ice maker that does have an automatic shutoff. If your ice maker does have automatic shutoff, then it may be that the arm isn't working correctly. Try cleaning your ice maker and restarting it. If this doesn't work, it is time to bring in a maintenance specialist.  

How do I reset my ice maker? 

The best way to reset your ice maker is to remove the ice tray and any plates covering the ice tray. Then turn the switch to the off position, unplug the ice maker, and wait twenty minutes. After you have waited, try plugging it back in. This should reset your device.  

Will an ice maker burn out without water? 

Yes. If you leave your ice maker on without any water coming into the unit, you can break the unit. Ice makers can overheat if they do not have enough water present.  

Do ice makers use a lot of electricity? 

Ice makers do use electricity, but it isn’t much in the scheme of your home’s electricity needs. When you are home, it shouldn’t be a problem to run your ice maker continually.  

How do I unfreeze my ice maker water line? 

If your ice maker water line has frozen, we recommend starting with a hairdryer. A hairdryer placed over the water line can sometimes thaw it out. If this doesn’t work, you can also try pouring ⅔ cup room temperature water into the water bin to help thaw things out. 


Turning off your ice maker if you will be gone for 4-5+ days is the smart move. It helps you save money and avoids expensive repairs to your ice maker in the future.  

Ian Haynes is an expert writer who has successfully deployed over 500 plumbing pages and other related content. He has an excellent understanding of home plumbing issues and translates his experiences via Plumbing Lab so readers can have a better understanding of common household problems. Outside of his work, Ian likes exploring Brooklyn with his Labrador.