A savvy business owner knows ones of the best ways to stretch a business dollar is to prolong the useful life of assets. We don’t know how to coax more sheets out of an office copier or how to convince a dishwasher to keep churning out sparkling glasses. But we are the Ice Machine Experts, and we know how to extend the life of your ice machine.
The average life of an ice machine is seven to eight years. Automatic Icemakers has been known to keep ice machines producing at capacity for twice that long. Our lease customers are frequently amazed at the way our machines continue to produce ice and require few repairs, even after years of use. But we won’t hoard all the ice machine secrets for ourselves. Keep reading this blog to learn how you too can extend the life of your industrial ice machine.
Keys to Caring for an Ice Machine
These high-use appliances, like a Hoshizaki ice maker, from leading manufacturers are even more likely to last, but business owners can take steps to prolong the life of any ice machine. A quality ice machine will take care of those who take care of it. Especially as your ice machine ages, it’s important to:
- Clean Your Ice Machine Regularly
- Provide Ample Space
- Routinely Check Water Flow Rate
Alongside routine service, these three powerful factors will help you to get the most out of your ice machine. Let’s dig into them.
Regular Cleaning Prolongs Your Ice Machine
A dirty ice machine will not perform well or last. There are two types of cleaning that need to be performed on an ice machine. One is deep cleaning, which is recommended twice per year. Ice machine deep cleans and service should be performed by a technician. In this case, more is not better, and following the industry standard of biannual cleanings should set your ice maker up for a nice, long life.
During this service, your ice machine technician will inspect and clean the machine’s condenser. Be sure to inquire with your technician if your environment is such that your condenser might need to be inspected more than twice per year.
Additionally, a key factor to maintaining a healthy ice machine is frequent light cleaning. This can be performed by employees as part of shift jobs or by a dedicated maintenance worker. Here’s what the cleaning should entail:
Exterior of Machine: You are likely aware that the FDA considers ice to be a food. As such, an ice machine is held to the same high cleanliness standards as other food-related surfaces. The good news is that when you clean the ice machine and ice bin, you’re not just meeting FDA standards, you’re giving the ice maker a shot at a long life. A food-grade, EPA-approved sanitizer solution should be used regularly to wipe down the surfaces of the ice machine and ice bin.
Air Filters: Air filters should be cleaned using a damp cloth and a neutral cleaner with a pH between 6 and 8. This keeps the machine properly ventilated and prevents ventilation-related repairs, poor ice production, or overheating from a clogged air filter. This step is especially important for air-cooled ice machines.
There may be brand-specific suggestions too, so check out our cleaning guides for the two manufacturers Automatic Icemakers carries:
Major ice machine manufacturers like Manitowoc and Hoshizaki recommend that their equipment is professionally cleaned at least twice a year. However, outside of these visits, it’s important that you regularly clean an older ice maker to keep it running as well as possible.
Regular cleaning and biannual deep cleans are integral parts of maintaining the vitality of your ice machine.
Maintain Space Around Your Old Ice Maker
Nobody likes to hear someone ask for space, but if your ice machine could talk, that’s exactly what it would ask for. Proper space and ventilation are critical to your ice machine’s ability to maintain expected ice production. This is most important for air cooled ice machines, which produce hot air as part of their production cycle. They need space for the hot air to dissipate, so it doesn’t build up around the ice maker.
All ice makers require space and easy access for cleaning and servicing. If it’s a struggle for employees or maintenance staff to access the ice maker, it is less likely they will give the ice machine the thorough cleaning it requires. Manufactures recommend that your ice machine has one foot of space on both sides, behind and above the unit. Failing to provide at least one foot of space around your ice machine can result in overheating. Overheating can damage internal components, leading to expensive ice machine repairs.
While we’re on the topic of overheating, the goal is to keep the general air temperature around your ice machine as close to 70°F as possible. Your machine needs access to cool air to suck back in after emitting hot air.
Check Your Old Ice Maker’s Water Flow Rate
Even the biggest ice machine novice knows that the most important ingredient for making ice is water. However, how much water your ice machine gets can be affected by water flow. If water flow is constricted, the ice machine will fail to make ice in the right size and the expected amount.
The majority of ice makers require a flow rate between one and three gallons per minute (gpm). Your machine may require more, depending on its size. The largest ice makers usually require a flow rate of up to five gallons per minute.
What happens when flow rate diminishes? The ice makers freeze and harvest cycles won’t function right, and the low flow rate will cause it to produce small, malformed cubes or even larger ice clumps.
The biggest factor in low flow rates in old ice makers is the water filter. These should be checked regularly to make sure they’re clean and unblocked. Your technician should also replace the water filter twice per year at those biannual service and cleaning appointments.
Automatic Icemakers clients appreciate that they never have to worry about finding a qualified ice machine technician or scheduling those biannual appointments. It’s all included in their low ice machine lease rate in addition to repairs and (as needed) back-up ice. We take responsibility for responsibly extending the life of their ice machine and guaranteeing their consistent ice supply 24/7/365.
Your Business Deserves a Dependable Ice Machine
Thank you for the chance to pass along some of our extensive expertise on commercial ice equipment. We hope you’re able to get most out of your ice machine asset. When your old ice maker can no longer be relied upon, considering leasing from Automatic Icemakers instead of considering an ice machine for sale. That way you can simply call our 24/7 customer service line with questions instead of having to read articles on the Internet. Imagine having a guaranteed supply of ice when you need it without the hassle of maintaining, repairing or setting up servicing on your ice machine.
Until then, refer to the recommendations in your owner’s manual to learn what your specific ice maker requires. Keep it clean, keep it cool, and give it space, and even your old ice maker may surprise you with how long it lasts. (Just know, they usually ask for a birthday party when they turn 10).
And when you’re ready for new equipment, we’re her to supply it. Call and our team of experts will help you select the right machine for your needs and arrange for it to be delivered and installed. You need ice, and we can help!