The KitchenAid ice maker is one of Whirlpool Corporation’s products. KitchenAid is an American appliance brand which was later bought off by Whirlpool. It’s a very useful appliance in the kitchen especially in places where the weather is warm and you need cold drinks to cool you down.
The first ice maker recorded was made by John Gorrie, an American physician. He built a refrigerator to cool the air for his patients who had yellow fever. In 1851, he was awarded a patent for an ice machine. Followed in 1853, Alexander Twinning was awarded a patent for an ice maker and two years later, James Harrison was awarded a similar patent in Australia.
How does a KitchenAid ice maker work?
A fridge usually comes with a built in ice maker. Although you can also find products that perform only one task and that is to make ice. For the fridges which have ice makers though, this is how it works.
A fridge with an ice maker is connected to a water source during installation. The water source is then connected to the ice maker through a hose. There’s a valve that can be manually closed and opened to control the water. Some fridges have an automatic valve response. When the ice maker is empty, the handle inside falls then triggers a switch. Via an electric current, the switch sends a message to the valve. This opens the valve and allows water to flow into the ice molds. When the molds are filled, the switches lifts back up and the water valve is closed.
With the temperature in the fridge, the water gets cold then freezes in the molds. The thermostat in the fridge senses the temperature of the water and knows that it is frozen enough to be ice. What confuses other people though, is why ice makers have a heating capability as well.
To allow users to remove the ice from the molds, the ice maker heats the underside of the ice molds. Done through electric currents, heat is applied for just a few seconds to prevent the ice cubes getting stuck in the molds.
Manual ice cube trays require a person to empty the ice from the molds. In an ice maker however, the molds move like a conveyor belt. When the thermostat feels that the water is cold enough to be ice, metal or plastic tabs pop up under the molds and shove them into a catching bin for ice. These mechanism works so that ice is shoved outside at the same time without blocking the opening.
When the ice is out, the cycle starts over. The switch lifts up and triggers the opening of the water valve. When the ice maker is full of ice, it blocks this switch and effectively stops the signal to produce more ice. However, when ice doesn’t fall properly and the switch isn’t blocked properly, the ice maker keeps producing more ice. So, when you open the door of your KitchenAid ice maker and an avalanche of ice falls on you, you know why.