Can You Run an Opal Nugget Ice Maker Without the Filter?

The Opal Nugget Ice Maker comes with a water filter that slots into the bottom of the water tank – helping to filter your water and make your ice taste better.

You're supposed to replace the water filter every 3 months, but whether you forgot to order a replacement or want to save some money by not using it you might be wondering whether or not the Opal will work without the water filter and what exactly the water filter does.

The Opal Nugget Ice Maker will run perfectly fine without the filter installed. In fact, when you purchase your machine, the filter isn't included and it runs fine without the filter. The filter simply helps to make your ice taste better, but it isn't required.

If you don't use a filter then you should place the mesh screen over the water intake valve to stop sediments getting into your ice.

The Opal filter is a carbon filter which will remove certain chemicals, such as chlorine, from the water. However, it does not remove dissolved minerals or reduce lime-scaling.

Installing the filter is easy to do and will ensure that your ice is pure and has no chlorine taste. You can purchase Opal branded filters for around $20 or you can get generic branded filters for a fraction of the cost that will fit perfectly and work just as well.

I recommend this Glacier Fresh 4 pack of filters from Amazon as it'll give you a full 12 months of filtration for close to the cost of one single branded Opal filter.

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Why pay full price for branded water filters when these compatible water filters fit perfectly and work just as well. The 4 pack provides you with 12 months of carbon filtration which removes 97.9% of chlorine and improves water smell and taste.

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If you decide to install a filter, you should know that this is a carbon filter and will only remove certain chemicals from the water, such as the taste of the chlorine and any other odors. 

The filter won't prevent hard water deposits from building up in your ice maker (which could affect the running of the machine).

What Happens If You Run an Opal Nugget Ice Maker Without the Filter?

If you're worried that your ice maker won't work without a filter, don't be. According to the instruction manual, The Opal Nugget Ice Maker is designed to work with and without the filter. 

The ice maker works (without a filter) by putting water (I prefer to use filtered soft water) in the reservoir and/or the side tank. The water is pumped through a metal cylinder, which is freezing cold. Ice forms on the cylinder walls as the water freezes, and an auger scrapes the ice off.

For this process to happen it doesn't matter if the water is filtered or not and nothing is stopping the water from entering the freezing chamber if the filter isn't on.

The freshly made ice is pushed upward, compressed, and forced through a metal cone, shaping the ice into a nugget. The ice falls into the ice bucket and keeps making ice until it's full. 

If you don't remove the ice, it will start melting into the drip tray, and the ice maker will recirculate the melted ice through the system.

Your ice maker would only stop working if the water in the reservoir and side tank runs out, or if the ice bucket is full the machine will automatically switch off until some ice melts or is used.

What Exactly Does the Filter in the Opal Nugget Ice Maker Do?

GLACIER FRESH Replacement for P4INKFILTR Ice Maker Water Filter, Compatible with all GE- Opal Nugget Ice Maker Water Filter, 4 Pack

The filter fits snuggly into the drip tray (where the water intake is). If you don't have a filter there then you may have a mesh screen which helps to stop sediments getting into your machine and into your ice.

As the water fills the reservoir and drips into the drip tray, the water passes through the filter as the machine pumps the water toward the freezing metal cone. 

Some people complain that the filter makes the machine work harder as it restricts the flow of the water.

This Opal carbon filter is only designed to improve the quality and taste of the ice by removing the taste of chlorine and any other odors. 

This isn't a full water purification system, so it won't remove hard water deposits that cause limescale buildup in your machine.

If you want to avoid mineral buildup in your machine then you should use filtered, mineral, or pure spring water in your Opal from the get-go.

However, this does add to the cost of running the Opal Nugget Ice Maker compared to regular tap water. I estimate purchasing distilled water vs using tap water increases the costs of running your Opal by around $150/year. However, it does mean you will need to de-scale your Opal less often.

You will still need to clean your machine regularly to descale and remove any build-up, even if you use the filter. Your ice will just taste better than it otherwise would.