Funny Ice Cubes
July 23, 2004 2:29 PM   Subscribe

My ice cubes taste funny [more inside]

I have a fridge with an automatic ice-maker. It's about 7 years old. Recently, my wife noticed that the ice cubes it makes taste bitter (sort of like aspirin) once they've melted down a bit. Ice cubes made the old-fashioned way in an ice tray don't taste this way, so it's not the ambient freezer environment, I reckon.

Any ideas why this is happening or how to fix it?
posted by adamrice to Food & Drink (8 answers total)
It's likely to be the plumbing that's bringing the water into the icemaker. It's very possible that the little pipe or tube bringing water into the freezer is affecting the taste--it could be either detiorating over time, or if it's not plumbed correctly, there could be something growing in it. It should be easily correctable by a plumber, and so it might be something you replace just to eliminate it as an option.
posted by LairBob at 2:43 PM on July 23, 2004

Do you have a copper or a plastic line running to the icemaker? Used to be they used copper tubing, but now it's almost exclusively plastic. I think that there's some concern about copper oxidation, or lead from the solder. Anyhow, you might upgrade if that's your problem.

Also, I installed an in-line filter on my icemaker supply line. I replace the filter once a year, or whenever the icemaker starts making hollow cubes (indicating a restricted water flow) and it's been working well for over ten years.
posted by Daddio at 3:21 PM on July 23, 2004

If the water is filtered before going into the icemaker, mold can begin to grow in the icemaker itself, due to the lack of chlorine.
posted by planetkyoto at 3:28 PM on July 23, 2004

You might try checking with folk in the homebrewing circles for suggestions with this. They are all meticulous about not contaminating any water or ice they use with foreign flavors. I don't actually have an icemaker so I haven't addressed it myself.
posted by scarabic at 5:15 PM on July 23, 2004

Do you have a box of baking soda in your refrigerator or freezer for handling odor problems? Could be baking soda you're tasting, as that's happened to me.
posted by emelenjr at 6:53 AM on July 24, 2004

Have you taken an ice cube to a lab?

There are water testing labs which will tell you *exactly* what is wrong (or, at least, what's in the water) for a reasonable fee. Since they'll probably only charge a little more for other tests, take two more: One straight from your drinking water tap, and also one of your manually made ice cubes.

You may find out there's something wrong with all your water. If you do, those lab results will be invaluable to the city in fixing it.

BTW: A metallic taste like that could be copper.
posted by shepd at 10:35 AM on July 24, 2004

If it's filtered water coming into the ice-maker, it might be time to change the filter. Also, as happened to us recently, if you don't use as much ice as your ice-maker creates, it will tend to sit around for a while soaking up any ambient odors, flavors, etc. from the freezer. In short ... it just gets stale. We now empty our ice receptacle out about every two weeks, and haven't noticed that odd taste anymore.
posted by Orb at 2:51 PM on July 24, 2004

Response by poster: 1. It's a plastic tube connecting the freezer to the house plumbing, new with the fridge. There's no filter on the tube, except maybe a particle-trapping mesh screen.

2. This happens with fresh cubes from the ice maker, and as I said before, does not happen with cubes made in ice trays.

3. Not sure what the cold-water plumbing in this house is, but I'm pretty sure it isn't copper.

The idea of getting the water tested sounds interesting. I might look into that.
posted by adamrice at 2:59 PM on July 24, 2004

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