12 Problems With the GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker – Read Before Buying!

The GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker is one of if not the most popular countertop nugget ice maker. But like all appliances this product isn't perfect and has it's own unique set of problems or issues.

While I don't believe any of these problems are deal breakers when it comes to whether or not to buy an Opal Nugget Ice Maker I think it's important to understand the issues before you spend hundreds of dollars on this product.

Below I've outlined 10 of the biggest concerns and problems people have had with the GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker that you should be aware of before buying.

See the latest price of the GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker at Amazon
(or compare to the price of the GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker at Walmart)

1. Loud Noises Coming From the Ice Maker

Loud noises are a common issue many GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker owners face. There are frequent complaints that the machine is irritatingly loud. 

Some reviews show how annoying these various noises can be. The noise can be highly irritating, and many people wonder why it is happening. 

The machine seems to make these noises for 15 minutes or longer, and some noises associated with this product indicate a maintenance issue. However– as GE points out– many noises are considered standard operating sounds of the machine. If a quiet ice maker is what you want, this isn’t the one for you. 

You should expect a low hum from your machine while it is running. Remember it is running a compressor to make the machine cold and it's running a auger which is constantly scraping off ice and compressing it into nugget shapes. Click here to learn exactly how the Opal Nugget Ice Maker works.

However, sometimes you can get loud whirring noises coming from the machine which could be a fault or other people have reported loud banging noises which is also an indicator that something isn't quite right.

Listen to the machine in the video below. Your Opal Nugget Ice Maker should NOT be this loud.

2. Machine Glitches Can Be Frustrating

The GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker is unfortunately prone to quite a few glitches.

Here are a couple of the most common bugs:

  • Empty water indicator turns on when it’s full
  • The ice maker turns off by itself

Let’s dive deeper into these issues.

Empty Water Indicator Turns On When It’s Full

Another common issue found by some Opal Nugget Maker consumers is that the blue light often comes on, even when the water reservoir is full. The light is only supposed to come on when you need to add water. If this happens to you, there is an error with the machine, and you will need to contact a maintenance professional from GE.

The Ice Maker Turns Off by Itself

A frustrating issue that some customers find with the Opal Nugget Ice Maker is that it seems to have a mind of its own, turning off at inopportune times. 

This problem can be caused by something as simple as the ice bin not being placed in the correct position, or it could be a deeper-rooted software issue that needs to be addressed. It can also signify mineral buildup.

3. The Ice Maker Is Making Slush

An additional issue found by GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker users is that it makes slush instead of ice. According to GE, this is part of the process and will resolve itself after approximately 30 minutes. 

However, this can also signify that you might need to clean the machine. It’s crucial that you understand how nugget ice makers works so you can stay on top of proper maintenance and avoid common user errors that can cause more severe problems to develop.

With slush it's likely that the walls of the metal cylinder (which freeze the ice) aren't quite cold enough yet and thus it's making slushy watery ice.

Don't worry though because this slush will simply melt in the ice bin and drip back into the machine where it will turn back into ice.

Usually the Opal Nugget Ice Maker takes 15-20 minutes to start making nugget ice. If it's making slush and it doesn't resolve itself within 30 minutes to 1 hour then there may be a fault with your machine.

4. Mold Buildup Inside the Machine

Another issue with this particular ice maker is that the reservoir is tough to clean. Mold buildup happens very quickly, even when using the cleaning solution. You can check out this video of one user that had extreme mold buildup after only a year of regular cleaning! 

The cleaning solutions do not seem to trick, and even bleach does not clean it effectively. 

Some people find that the only way to clean the reservoir is to open it up and physically scrub it out. Another helpful solution is to pour boiling water into the reservoir, but even then, you will need to scrub out the mold by hand afterward.

This is something you really need to stay on top of because consuming mold can be extremely harmful to your health. Many people get mold in their Yeti Tumbler cups and this can be harmful to their health and having mold in your ice machine is no different.

5. Intake Fan Collects Dust and Needs To Be Cleaned

Another thing to keep in mind with the GE Opal Nugget maker is that the fan collects dust and needs to be cleaned relatively often. Frequent cleaning is a part of standard maintenance for this machine, and if this habit isn’t kept, it can affect its overall performance

Ge recommends standard maintenance and cleaning weekly for the machine. You need to be prepared to clean the outside of the device weekly so the input fan does not collect dust.

6. It Requires Regular Cleaning And It Takes a While To Clean

That's another problem about the GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker that you need to consider before buying it.

It's not the type of machine that you can just purchase and leave running for a few years without ever having to think about it. In fact, GE recommend you clean your Opal ONCE A WEEK!

As you can see in the video below the cleaning cycle is also quite arduous. It can take approximately 24 hours to clean and descale your machine, meaning it'll be out of action for this entire time.

While this is how GE recommends you clean it many users have found that the machine actually requires an even deeper clean to remove mold that can build up in the reservoir.

7. The Interior Lights Are Not Turning On

One feature related to the smart functions of the GE Opal Nugget Ice Machine that has confused some users is when the interior lights are not turning on. 

Depending on which model you have, this could be either because you are in the wrong mode or the lights are simply turned off. If you can not troubleshoot this by resetting the on/off switch or changing the power mode, you will need to contact the maintenance support team. 

8. It Only Makes One Type of Ice

The Opal Nugget Ice Maker functions to make one specific type of ice, and that is small chewable nugget ice. It is a popular style of ice because it is a manageable shape, and the texture is medium-firm, but it is the only option you have. 

If you need a variety of ices for your kitchen or bar, then this machine would not be for you. If you need a variety of choices made, you would have to consider a different option. However, it makes ice rather quickly since its only job is to make this one type of ice. 

For such an expensive machine this could be limiting for some people. But due to the way to Opal Nugget Ice Maker makers ice it is really limited in the type of ice it can make. Most machine are like that though and are really designed to do one type of ice well.

9. It Is Relatively Large and Takes Up a Lot of Bench Space

If you live in a smaller residence or have limited space in your kitchen, it is essential to keep the dimensions of this product in mind.

If you have lower clearance with cabinets, keep in mind this machine stands over 16 inches (40.64 cm) tall.

It is also over a foot wide and deep, when you have the side water tank attached, so you will need a relatively large space on your countertop to store it. 

10. It Is Expensive

An obviously and significant problem for many people with the GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker is that it’s very expensive.

You can buy cheap silicone ice cube trays (at Amazon) that can make nugget ice for just a couple of dollars. The GE Opal on the other hand will cost you hundreds of dollars. However, for many people the GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker is 100% worth the cost!

While the machine itself can cost several hundred dollars, maintenance is also costly. If you find yourself facing any of the issues on this list, you might have to pay for mechanical assistance or cleaning solutions designed specifically for this machine.

Additionally, this ice machine uses a lot more energy than several of its direct competitors.

At an average of 300W consumption, when operating, it is close to double that of some other countertop ice maker brands. This is something to keep in mind as different brands offer models that use under 200W.

If energy is expensive where you live then not only could this machine cost you a lot to buy but it can also cost you a lot to run.

However, the Opal Nugget Ice Maker is still a great machine. It pumps out 1 pound of premium quality nugget ice every hour that is on par with the ice you'd get from commercial machines at places like Sonic (which have made the nugget ice so popular).

If you love nugget ice, you will use a lot of it and you have the budget then this machine can be a great purchase.

See the latest price of the GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker at Amazon
(or compare to the price of the GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker at Walmart)

11. Poor Insulation Causes Ice To Melt and Stick Together

Another common problem people complain about with the GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker is that poor insulation often causes ice to melt and stick together. This is especially an issue if you live in warmer climates.

The ice bin where the ice is collected and stored is made of plastic and isn't fully insulated. This will cause the nugget ice to melt over time and then begin to stick together. This is part of what happens when an ice cube melts. Some of the water will refreeze on other ice cubes which causes them to fuse together.

The ice collection bin can hold 3 pounds of ice, so it'll fill up in just 3 hours. The longer the ice is in there the more it'll melt and the more it'll all become one big clump of ice not nice individual nugget ice cubes.

A lot of people will empty out their ice tray and place the nugget ice in large freezer bags and place in their freezer or in a deep freezer. This will keep the ice frozen and fresh and will stop it from clumping together as much. You can also try some of these tips on stopping ice from sticking together in an ice maker.

If this problem doesn’t sound like something you want to deal with, then this machine might not be the best option for you.

12. Issues Can Be Difficult To Diagnose and Fix

The Opal Nugget Ice Maker is a complex machine and thus complex issues can arise in this machine making it difficult to diagnose the problem and fix it.

Hear a strange noise coming from your machine? Opal no longer making ice?

There could be so many reasons this is happening.

Opal Nugget Ice Makers come with just a 1 year warranty and GE do NOT offer an extended warranty. However, some third parties offer extended warranties and a lot of people opt for this as the machine can break easily and be so complex to fix.

It's Still a Great Machine and Well Worth The Money For Some People

I made this list of the problems with the GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker not because I believe you shouldn't buy it, on the contrary I believe this is an incredible machine and I would rate it as THE BEST home nugget ice maker on the market.

I just think it's important to be aware of the potential problems or imperfections in a machine so you aren't shocked when you buy it and you can make an informed decision.

Many customers own and love this machine and use it daily to create premium and delicious nugget ice that they enjoy in their water, soda, ice coffee or any other beverage. Some people even just enough chewing on the ice.

If you're interested in getting an Opal Nugget Ice Maker check out the latest prices by clicking on one of my affiliate links below:

See the latest price of the GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker at Amazon
(or compare to the price of the GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker at Walmart)