Friday, July 20, 2012

The Ice Machine War

It is most definitely summer out here, and it has been brutally hot this month. Until yesterday, the only break we have had amidst this scorching heatwave was one quick but vicious thunderstorm that knocked the sweet little robin chicks right out of our maple tree and the power right out of our house for about 12 long, hot, sticky hours. 

No big deal, right? We made it through the night without the air-conditioning and although we were a bit, um...ripe upon awakening, the power had returned so we had no problem showering away our (cough) rustic coating. In other words, we were funky. And, of course, the heat resumed as soon as the clouds passed and we were in store for ANOTHER miserably hot day. 

Now that the Red Sea had parted and the coffee machine was working again, we brewed a big pot. Naturally, it wasn't the kind of morning for hot coffee, so we let it cool down before we planned to add ice ice ice to make a refreshing treat. 

I grabbed my big glass, headed over the ice dispenser on my freezer door and pressed down. It gurgled. It groaned. It coughed...but nothing came out. I tried again. Still no luck. Ugh. It was too hot for these antics. I opened the freezer, reached in, grabbed a handful of ice and dumped it into my glass, forgetting that blasted machine. Just another thing to add to the list, right? Pfffft. 
Come ON, ice machine! Why weren't you working?!?
Well you know how it goes. This ice machine wasn't fixing itself. The heatwave blazed on and every time I tried to add some cubes to a glass I was met with the same agonizing moaning from the freezer door. My husband has enough on his plate when it comes to house projects, and I am in a pro-active phase of do-it-yourself-dom, so I hit my threshold and decided I was going to fix this thing if it killed me.

I shoved my hand up inside the pour spout and couldn't feel any small ice blockage like I'm used to clearing out when the machine jams. What was WRONG with this thing? I sat down and assumed my "Thinker" pose, and then, imagining a cartoon lightbulb going on above my head, it hit me. Electricity! The power outage!
To start, I had to remove the entire ice drawer to investigate.
Channeling my Rosie the Riveter again, I grabbed my camera, threw open the freezer door and pulled out the entire ice drawer. Everything looked normal on top, but just as I suspected, once I started digging toward the bottom of the drawer, I hit the iceberg. Aha!
To start, the entire ice drawer had to be removed in order to investigate. 
I grabbed a bowl and tossed in all the loose ice cubes. Now, I was left with a solid lump of ice that had melted together while the power had been out.
I separated the normal cubes from the blocks of ice.
Removing massive ice blocks so that the motor inside could turn.
Next, I started hammering away at the blocks of ice stuck underneath the normal cubes that were made after the power returned. After a few minutes of grunt work, I busted the large pieces of solid ice apart and was able to remove them. 

I am woman! Hear me roar!
After tossing the largest ice blocks into the sink, I could actually begin to see how the machine works and why it was making such terrible sounds. The fan-like turning wheel inside the machine couldn't rotate at all with such massive ice blocks in its way, so it was groaning in a failed attempt to move. I'm pleasantly surprised that the inner mechanisms didn't break from my efforts to use the machine while it was in such a state prior to removing the blockage. 
Serious ice blocks

The blades of the motorized churning device in the bottom of the ice drawer need to be unblocked to spin.
And there you have it! Once those chunks of solid ice were removed, I dumped the normal ice cubes back into the drawer, replaced it in the freezer and grabbed my glass. The machine happily began spitting out cube after cube, working perfectly!
Here you can see how the machine works. This mechanism needs to be able to turn through loose ice. It was seriously STUCK with those chunks blocking the blades.
After completing such a menial task, I was surprised to be filled with quite the gamut of emotions- relief that I didn't have to annoy my husband about fixing the dang ice machine, joy that the inner workings of the device had not broken and wouldn't need to replaced, and pride that I had logically solved the problem on my own.

Back in business
Always inspired by my own Mr. Fix-It, I have learned how satisfying it feels to foster the ability to take care of problems on my own. How silly would it be to call someone in to fix such a trivial problem, and how crazy would it make me to have to pay someone to do it? It might take a bit more time and effort to figure things out on my own, but it's well worth it in the end when that "YEEHAW" gratification waves its lasso in the air.

Three FROSTY cheers for victory, and to the end of the heatwave! I'll drink to that!
Now THERE'S a workin' ice machine!
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

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ggg said...

You are most amazing

Unknown said...

Do you know any ice machine repairing service like commercial air conditioner repair service in new jersey?