FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT ICE MACHINES
Common Questions About Commercial Ice Maker Machines
When looking for the right ice machine, you may have some questions. Here you’ll find answers to the questions we get asked the most about ice maker machines, and answers to some questions you may not have thought to ask.
These ice maker questions are broken down into sections, to help make finding answers easy. Note that breakdown answers are a general starting guide only. If these actions do not solve your problem, then specialist service will most likely be required.
Ice Machine General Questions
Thinking about buying an ice machine and not sure where to start? Here are the answers to some questions we are often asked about ice machines.
What size ice maker do I need?
How much ice should I get in a day?
Check the ice maker specifications in our ice machine shop. These ice production esitmates are maximum amounts based on ideal operating conditions. Changes in water and air temperature will effect this number and can reduce the amount of ice your ice machine will make per day.
What type of ice do ice machines make?
What is the difference between ice production capacity and ice storage capacity?
Ice production capacity is the maximum amount of ice an ice machine can produce under ideal conditions and is usually measured over a 24 hour period. Ice storage capacity is the maximum amount of ice an ice storage bin is capable of storing for future use.
Should I use a gravity drain or a pump drain with my ice maker?
Gravity drains are simple and effective with no moving parts to break down. This makes a gravity drain the most popular type of drain fitted to ice machines and ice storage bins. Pump out drains are used when a suitable floor level drain point is not available in a chosen installation postion. Like any electrical appliance, pump out drains cost money to run and will eventually break down. Machines with pump out drains will be more expensive to buy too.
We believe in keeping things simple and reliable. So unless you need a pump out drain for a particular purpose, we recommend using a gravity drain for ease of use, cost and reliability.
Are ice maker water filters necessary?
No, ice makers will operate without a water filter. However they sre important for reliable, fresh, clean ice production, so they are very highly recommended. It should be noted that failure to install a water filter system to an ice maker may potentially void warranty. Don’t risk it. Install a good quality water filter and change it regularly to avoid problems.
Do ice machines cool the ice they produce?
No. Refrigeration technology is used to initially produce the ice. It is then dropped into a non-refrigerated storage container called an ice storage bin for future use. Larger modular ice makers are sometimes installed on top of walk-in cool rooms, where the ice maker drops ice into a storage area within the cool room.
What things should I consider when buying an ice maker?
There are several things to keep in mind when buying an ice machine.
- What you will use the ice for – Cooling drinks, food storage or display, medical purposes. etc. This will determine the type of ice and shape most suited to your intended use.
- How much ice will you need and over what time period – Knowing this will help you choose an ice maker with the right ice making capacity and ice storage capacity.
- Where do you intend to install the ice machine – Avoid installing an ice maker in direct sunlight and make sure there is adequate clearance around the ice maker for ventilation. Protect your investment by following all manufacturer’s installation instructions.
- Power requirements of the ice maker – Does your intended installation area have a power outlet within 1 meter? Make sure that the power outlet is big enough to power the size ice maker you intend to install. If possible install the ice maker on its own power circuit.
- Cold water supply – All commercial ice makers require a cold water supply line to produce ice. It is highly recommended that this water line has a water filter installed to protect the ice maker and the ice it produces. Rember ice is a food product. If you wouldn’t drink the water, why would you consume the ice?
- Water drainage – Ice makers require a floor level drain to remove excess water from the ice maker and melted ice from the ice storage bin. If a floor level drain is not available and cannot be installed, then a drain pump will be required.
Can I increase the production capacity of my ice maker?
Yes and no. Whilst you cannot directly alter the characteristics of an ice maker’s design to force it to produce more ice, there is still a way to increase ice procuction capacity of any ice machine. If you have a cool room adjacent to the ice maker’s installed position, re-route the ice maker’s water supply line through the cool room first, thereby pre-chilling water entering the ice machine. This will dramatically increase ice production capacity. A licensed plumber will be able to assist you to do this.
What is the lifespan of an ice maker?
Depending on the quality of the ice maker purchased and the amount/type of use it has experienced, a commercial ice maker should last between 10 to 15 years.
Ice Machine Installation Questions
If you want to install your own ice machine, there are a few things you need to know. To avoid common mistakes when installing an ice machine, we may have the answer for you here.
Can I install an ice machine myself?
Although we recommend using a licensed professional, ice maker installation is a straight forward process.
- Remove all packing material (including any internal protective sensor packing and transport packing tape).
- Install the ice machine level in a well ventilated area.
- Connect a cold water line (preferably filtered)
- Run the drain line from the back of the ice machine to a lower waste point (unless the machine has a pump out drain installed).
- Connect an appropriate power source, and you are ready to go. Remember, always follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions, as installation requirements may vary between different ice makers.
Does it matter if my ice machine is not level?
Yes. Commercial ice machines will need to be installed level to avoid operational problems. Many ice machines have adjustable feet to allow you to compensate for an uneven installation surface to level the machine. We recommend the use of a spirit level when installing an ice machine rather that relying on guesswork. If an ice machine fault is attributed to the equipment being out of level, it is classed as installer error and warranty may be void.
Can I remove the legs from my under counter ice machine?
Your ice machine should operate properly without legs. Make sure that the ice machine is level and the drain still runs downhill. Check local laws which may require legs for cleaning under your ice machine.
How much space do I need around an ice maker?
Space requirements differ between ice maker models. Ensure there is always an uninterrupted cool air supply to the air inlet and the hot air exhaust is not restricted or blocked. Make sure condenser air cannot be recirculated causing overheating and low ice production. Remember, always follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions, as installation requirements may vary between different ice makers.
Do I need a drain line for my ice maker?
Yes. As ice slowly melts in the ice storage bin, it needs to drain to somewhere. Remember water cannot run uphill, so a floor level waste water drain line will be required within 1 meter of the installed location. Ice machines can also discharge water as a normal part of the ice production process, so a bucket or tray will not be adequate. A drain line is a must.
Note: If the ice maker has a pump out drain fitted, then this drain line can be higher than floor level.
Do I need a dedicated power supply for my ice maker?
Whilst it is desireable, depending on the current load on the existing circuit, you may not need a dedicated power supply for your new ice maker. Smaller ice makers will generally not need a dedicated power supply, whereas larger ice makers likely will. If in doubt, contact a licensed electrician for advice.
Note: All 15 amp single phase, 20 amp single phase and three phase ice makers will require a dedicated power circuit to be installed.
Do I need a water line for my ice maker?
Yes, all commercial ice makers require a dedicated cold water line (preferably filtered). Remember ice is a food, so installation of a water filter is not only highly recommended to protect the ice machine, but also the ice it produces.
Ice Machine Maintenance Questions
A common cause of ice machine failure is lack of proper maintenance. Here’s what you need to know to protect your investment and enjoy clean, clear, delicious ice.
How often should I have my ice maker serviced?
The condenser on your ice machine (and any air filters fitted) should be cleaned monthly. We recommend that you should have your ice machine professionally serviced at least annually (once per year) for optimum performance. The water filter should also be changed yearly.
Can I maintain my own ice machine?
Yes, and it is advisable to do so if possible. Following manufacturer’s instructions you can keep you ice machine running reliability with a few simple tools and some common sense. If you are not confident to perform your own maintenance or do not have the time, don’t neglect upkeep. Poor ice machine performance, costly breakdowns and contaminated ice are the result of poor or no maintenance.
What is a condenser and how often should it be cleaned?
A condenser is a refrigerant cooling device fitted to all ice machines. Air cooled condensers are often similar in appearance to a car radiator and is usually silver or black in colour. Condenser blockages are a major cause of refrigeration system and ice maker breakdowns, so it is very important that they be kept clean. We recommend that you clean your condenser monthly, to avoid costly breakdowns and maximize ice production. Whilst condensers can be cleaned with a brush or a vacuum cleaner, this method is not always effective. Cleaning a condenser with compressed air is usually the best way to clean the condenser on an ice machine.
Note: Condensers can be effectively cleaned using a hose or water pressure pack, however extreme care is required to avoid damage, water entry into electrical components and serious injury or death. Do not try this method unless you have been professionally trained in this proceedure and always disconnect electrical power source before cleaning a condenser with water. This method is definately not recommended and is best left to the professionals.
How do I clean my ice maker?
All ice makers will include cleaning instructions in the owner’s manual. Always follow the manufacturer’s cleaning and sanitizing instructions, as requirements may vary between different models. A basic ice maker cleaning proceedure is to:
- Unplug the ice machine and discard any ice that remains inside.
- Remove all internal parts from the ice machine that come into contact with ice, then wash them using an approved ice machine cleaner. Rinse off all cleaned and sanitized parts in warm water.
- Clean and sanitize the ice storage bin.
- Reassemble the ice machine.
- If fitted with clean mode – Pour the correct amount of ice machine cleaner in the water trough and allow to circulate for 15-30 minutes or as per clean cycle.
- Clean the ice maker condenser and filter (if fitted).
- Clean all external surfaces with suitable stainless steel safe cleaner/polish.
- Replace the water filter (if fitted).
- Restart the machine and discard the first two batches of ice produced after cleaning.
Note that this proceedure is a general guide only and the proceedure will vary between ice makers according to the model.
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How often should I change my water filter?
The purpose of a water filter is to protect both the internal components of the ice maker as well as the ice it produces. How often it needs to be changed depends upon several factors.
- The size and type of water filter installed.
- The capacity of the ice machine.
- How often the ice machine is used
- The quality of the incoming water supply.
Generally speaking an ice maker water filter should be changed yearly at minimum. It will require changing more regularly if conditions are not ideal.
Ice Machine Fault Questions
There are so many things that can go wrong with all the various brands and models of ice machines, that we cannot cover everything in detail. Here are some simple common faults that can occur with ice machines and their remedies. Remember safety first when dealing with electrical appliances.
Note: We recommend to always call a licensed professional when removal of ice machine covers are required and never work on live equipment unless you are trained to do so. Injury or death can result.
Is my ice maker under warranty?
Check your purchase documentation for date of purchase. Check the model of the ice maker and refer to the warranty period for that model of machine as warranty period varies between brands and models. All warranty claims must be refered to the manufacturer / importer for verification. They will organise warranty service for you.
Note: Warranty service may be subject to terms and conditions regardless of age. Check with your supplier or warranty agent.
Conditions that may void warranty can include but are not limited to:
- Installation errors such as ice maker dropped or mis-handled, not installed level, installed with inadequate clearances, drain line insufficient fall, installed in too hot or cold location, etc.
- Water filters not fitted to the ice maker or not changed regularly.
- Condenser not cleaned monthly.
- Ice maker not serviced regularly by qualified technicians.
My ice maker is not making ice.
There are many possible causes for this general fault. Before calling a technician for service, try checking these common causes:
- No power to socket outlet/power point. Check for a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker at the power distribution board.
- No power to ice machine. Check that the ice machine is plugged in and switched on (you would be suprised to learn how often we are called out for this fault).
- Ice machine is in cleaning mode. Switch to ice making mode.
- No water supply. Check the water supply line for water pressure at the tap and also at the entry connection to the ice machine.
- Blocked water filter. Replace.
- Electro-mechanical fault with the ice maker. Call an experienced techincian for repair. Best Ice Machines are available to repair all brands and models of ice makers in the Central Coast, Newcastle and Hunter Valley regions on 1300 237 842.
My ice maker is not making enough ice.
If your ice machine is working to maximum capacity and still not producing enough ice for your requirements, before buying a larger capacity ice machine, try these steps:
- Have the ice maker serviced to ensure the equipment is operating at peak effeciency.
- Re-locate the ice maker to a cooler location.
- Bag ice and store in freezer so ice machine can make ice overnight.
- Run water supply line through adjacent cool room if possible to increase ice machine production.
- Replace modular ice storage bin with larger unit to hold more ice.
My ice maker is not making as much ice as it used to.
There are many possible causes for this fault. Before calling a technician for service, try checking these common causes:
- Dirty ice machine or blocked water filter. Clean the ice machine and change the water filter.
- Blocked condenser. Clean condenser as described and make regular condenser cleaning a priority.
- Installation environment has changed. Determine why the ice machine area has become hotter and rectify.
My ice maker is not getting water.
Before calling a technician check these common causes:
- Water supply line disconnected. Reconnect.
- Water supply line turned off. Turn on.
- Blocked water filter. Replace.
My ice cubes smell bad or taste bad.
Check these common causes of bad smelling or bad tasting ice cubes before calling a technician:
- Dirty ice machine or blocked water filter. Clean the ice machine and change the water filter.
- Water supply line not suitable for potable water. Replace water supply line with suitable supply tubing.
- Contaminated water supply. Seek professional assistance.
My ice cubes will not drop from the mold.
This fault can be attributed to several factors:
- The ice machine is not installed level. Re-level the ice machine using a spirit level – yes you do need to use a spirit level.
- The evaporator plate is dirty. Follow the cleaning instructions applicable to your ice machine model. If cleaning the ice machine doesn’t work, call a technician for diagnosis and repair.
- The evaporator plate is worn. Have a technician replace the evaporator plate or replace the ice machine.
My ice storage bin is full of water.
There are several possible causes for an ice bin not draining water:
- The drain on the ice storage bin is running uphill. Lower the drain line and ensure it has a downward slope towards the main drain tundish.
- The ice storage bin drain is blocked. Clear the drain using a plunger, hose or compressed air.
- The pump out drain pump motor/control has failed (if fitted). Replace.