A Guide to Hospital Ice Chip Makers in Chicago

Chicago hospitals and other healthcare facilities need ice for patients and treat sprains and other injuries. Cafeterias within healthcare facilities serve plenty of drink throughout the day. A hospital ice chip maker is the most cost-effective way to provide ice to your patients and employees. This helpful guide can answer all your questions about hospital ice machines and dispensers.

Need help choosing an ice machine for your Chicago hospital?
Call us today!


A Guide to Hospital Ice Chip Makers in Chicago

What Types of Hospital Ice Chip Makers Are There?

Hospital ice machines come in different shapes and sizes to meet your needs. The type of hospital ice chip maker or ice dispenser you choose can help to treat your patients better as well as make things easier for your staff. Below are some of the types of ice makers for hospital needs:

  • Modular Ice Machines

    Modular Ice Machines

    Modular ice machines only produce ice and require an ice bin for storage. Ice bins require that an employee scoop ice out into glassware and other containers. In hospitals, modular ice machines are popular in cafeterias with a serving staff. The size of these hospital ice makers range from 50-3000 lbs of ice a day.

    Learn More About Modular Ice Machines

  • Countertop Dispenser

    Countertop Ice Makers

    Countertop ice makers are a popular choice in hospitals because they don’t require an employee to scoop ice. Dispensers drop ice at the press of a button which limits the chance of accidental contamination. Less human interaction with the ice supply means less of a chance of contaminating the ice supply.

    Learn More About Countertop Ice Makers

  • Undercounter Ice Machines

    Undercounter Ice Machines

    Undercounter ice makers are a useful in small cafeterias or coffee shops within a hospital. They are a real space saver and allowing staff to quickly serve ice to medical practitioners and visitors. Undercounter ice machines produce between 50-300 lbs of ice a day.

    Learn More About Undercounter Ice Makers

What Are the Best Hospital Ice Types?

Hospital ice chips (also known as nugget ice or flake ice) were designed with hospitals in mind. Nugget ice is soft and chewable, so patients who have a hard time swallowing liquid can chew on ice to hydrate without harming their teeth. A nugget and flake ice has a texture that makes it easier to ice injuries because they provide a more even cooling surface than rigid cubes.

Nugget Ice Machine in Chicago

Nugget Ice

Nugget ice (also known as cubelet ice) has a soft texture that allows patients to chew on the cubes without harming their teeth. This allows patients to stay hydrated, even if they have a hard time swallowing liquid. While not as moldable as flake ice, nugget ice is soft enough to mold around hard to cool spots like elbows, knees, and ankles.

Flake Ice Machine in Chicago

Flake Ice

Flake ice has a texture similar to snow. It’s also a great option to treat injuries or hydrate patients who have difficulty swallowing. This ice is softer than nugget ice - and just as chewable. Flake ice is moldable, so it provides a very even cooling surface around elbows, knees and ankles. Best yet, flake ice won't cut through cold compress bags.

What Type of Ice Machine Condenser Do I Need?

Condensers give off heat as your commercial ice machine runs. Each ice machine has a cooling system that works to make sure the inside of the machine doesn’t overheat. There are three common types.

Air Cooled Ice Machines

Air cooled ice machines are the most common type of cooling system because they are simple and cost-effective. A fan inside the ice machine works to cool condenser coils and force hot air outside of the machine and into the surrounding environment. To allow hot air to escape, these systems need plenty of space (at least a foot of space on all sides).

View Our Air Cooled Ice Machines

Ice Machine Cleaning and Sanitization

Ice machine cleaning, including disinfecting and sanitizing, helps limit the growth of mold, slime, scale, and germs in your ice maker. Mold and slime can cause a health violation. Scale buildup can damage your ice maker, by clinging to vital ice machine parts which result in expensive repairs. Germs such as Norovirus and Legionnaires Disease are particularly dangerous to people with immune deficiencies.

  • Hospital Ice Makers in Chicago

    Regular Cleanings

    Commercial ice machines require professional cleaning every six months. The need for a clean hospital ice chip machine is even more dire around patients with weakened immune systems.

    See Our Ice Machine Cleaning Schedule

  • How To Clean A Ice Maker

    Mold and Slime

    A commercial ice maker is prime spot for mold and slime growth. Mold and slime thrive in moist, dark areas like your ice machine and bin. Excessive mold and slime growth can quickly lead to a damaging health inspection.

    How to Clean Your Ice Machine from Slime and Mold

  • Hospital Ice Making Machine Chicago

    Don't Forget About Ice Bin Cleaning

    If you own an ice machine with a bin, your ice bin can house mold, slime, and scale, as well. Hospital cafeterias need to make sure they are practicing proper ice handling techniques when they scoop ice.

    Simple Steps for Cleaning Your Commercial Ice Bin

Hospital Ice Machine Cleaning and Sanitizing

Cleaning Your Ice Bin

Cleaning Tips

Mold and slime can grow in your ice bin over time and can pose a risk for people with compromised immune systems.

Learn More

Ice Machine Sanitization

Sanitization Schedule

Mold and slime can infect your ice machine. You should have your ice machine professionally sanitized twice a year.

Learn More

Ice Machine Cleaning Schedule

Cleaning Schedule

Routine cleaning can keep your ice machine free of mold and slime and protect your ice supply from contamination.

Learn More

Staying Sanitary with Ozone

More About Ozone

Ozone works 3000 times faster than chlorine and helps our ice makers stay sanitary between professional cleanings.

Learn More

How Much Does an Ice Machine Cost?

Generally, smaller ice dispensers are popular on each floor of a hospital to meet patients’ ice needs. Cafeterias with a staff may require a larger hospital ice maker, depending on how many visitors and staff they serve. Small ice dispensers cost around $1,500, while a large ice machine can cost over $10,000. If you’re purchasing a modular ice machine, you’ll need to buy an ice storage bin to store the ice. Buying an ice machine is only the start, there are also hidden costs to take into account:

Maintenance and Cleaning

Maintenance and cleaning are a vital part of keeping a sanitary ice supply. Healthcare facilities need to be particularly wary of a dirty ice machine because mold, slime, and other microorganisms can harm patients with weakened immune systems. Preventive maintenance is essential to keeping the machine in working order. Manufacturers suggest 2 preventive maintenance and cleaning visits a year. Both run around $250 per visit each.

Water Filters

Water filtration keeps particles and sediment from entering your ice machine, which can cause damage to the unit. They require changing around every six months. When filters clog, they can cause your machine to produce smaller ice cubes. Ice machine water filter cost between $15-$100 depending on the brand. Ice machines in challenging water environments may require additional filtration.


Depending on how severe the damage is, ice machine repairs can cost between a few hundred dollars or a few thousand. Here are some examples of common ice machine repairs and their estimated costs:

  • Hot Gas Valve Replacement - $600
  • Expansion Valve - $600
  • Compressor Repair - $1500
  • Evaporator Repair - $2500

If repairs take too long, it may force you to buy extra ice at retail costs. A 20 lb. bag of ice costs about $4.50.

All-Inclusive Hospital Ice Chip Maker Program in Chicago

At Automatic Icemakers, we know how to keep hospital ice chip makers running clean and efficiently. The healthcare industry is a highly regulated industry, which is why we take cleaning and sanitizing hospital ice machines seriously.

Our commercial ice equipment lease program comes with more than your standard ice machine lease. We include maintenance, cleaning, and repairs for one low monthly cost. We also include 24-hour customer support in case anything goes wrong with your ice machine. No need to keep track of your next ice machine service or cleaning. We do it for you! We'll call you when your machine is due for its next service. If your machine is down for repairs for an extended amount of time, we’ll credit you backup ice for each day you’re without ice.

There’s a lot to take into consideration when choosing a hospital ice chip maker, and we are here to help! Our Ice Machine Experts are happy to help you determine your ice needs for your Chicago hospital.

Contact our team!

How do I choose a Hospital Ice Chip Maker in Chicago