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Why your ice maker is making hollow ice cubes and how to fix it

Here's what you can do to make your ice cubes solid again.

CNET

Have you ever wondered why some ice cubes come out hollow? Of course you have. It's frustrating.

Not only do hollow cubes melt almost instantly and shatter when they hit the bottom of your glass, but your ice maker is functioning properly otherwise. The ice bin is seemingly full but all of the ice disappears quickly.

Here are the most likely reasons that ice is forming into hollow cubes, and what you can do to fix it.

How to stop your freezer from making hollow ice cubes

There are two main reasons your refrigerator might be producing small or hollow ice cubes: improper temperature or poor water flow. Fortunately, most of the fixes are easy and cost-effective.

Temperature

If the temperature inside the freezer is not properly regulated, some of the ice cubes may not have a chance to fully freeze before the ice maker ejects them into the bin. But, hollow cubes may also occur if the freezer is too cold, according to GE.

Cause: The internal temperature inside the freezer being set too low or high.

Fix: This is one of the first things you should check, because a freezer that isn't set to the correct temperature isn't just a nuisance, it's a health hazard.

To check the temperature of your freezer, place a thermometer in ice cream or between two pieces of already frozen food. Close the door and wait at least 12 hours before checking the thermometer. Adjust the temperature, wait 12 hours and check again. Repeat this process until the freezer is set to 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius).

Cause: A bad ice maker thermostat, which can trigger a cycle too soon, causing some of the ice to not freeze fully. (Some ice makers run on a timer, instead of having a thermostat trigger the cycle. If your ice maker doesn't have a thermostat, which you can find in the manual, skip this step.)

Fix: The fix for this is to replace the thermostat module, which varies by refrigerator model and brand. In many cases, it requires removing the ice maker from the freezer altogether and disassembling it.

If you're not comfortable with making the repair yourself, consult with a professional.

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Water flow

Poor water flow will greatly affect how your ice maker produces ice cubes. Too little water can cause the cubes to come out too small or hollow.

Cause: A water filter that needs to be replaced can restrict water flow.

Fix: This is a simple fix. Purchase a replacement water filter for your refrigerator, rinse the new filter and allow the ice maker to produce multiple batches of ice. Inspect the ice to make sure they're the proper size and solid, then dispose of the ice.

Water filters in your refrigerator's water supply should be replaced at least once every six months.

Cause: Another innocuous cause for poor water flow is a kinked or frozen water line.

Fix: If you've recently moved your refrigerator, double-check to make sure the water supply line doesn't have any kinks in it.

While the refrigerator is out from the wall, also visually inspect for clogs. A translucent clog is likely frozen water in the line. To fix this, you simply need to defrost the water line.

Cause: A refrigerator that isn't level may cause the ice cube mold to fill unevenly. If some of the molds aren't fully filling, it can cause cubes to come out small or hollow.

Fix: To fix this, use a level to check that the refrigerator is sitting level. If it isn't, make the proper adjustments to the feet of the refrigerator to ensure it's level both front-to-back and side-to-side.

If you're still having issues with your ice maker after going through these tips, here's what you should do when your ice maker stops making ice.

To ensure everything keeps operating smoothly, consider these tips for cleaning and maintaining your ice maker.