Tips Your Staff Should Know About Maintaining Your Ice Machines

Photo by Kike Salazar N

Chicago is a city full of cocktails, and one of the most important components, aside from the liquor is the ice! In this article, Brittney Shader from Empire Cooler is giving us 5 tips business owners and staff should know about ice machines.

Right ice for the right application

The right machine will increase efficiency, reduce energy costs, and minimize downtime. Consider your business’ ice usage, space limitations, budget, and desired ice type. For example, a small office or restaurant may only require a compact, under-the-counter ice machine while a busy bar or hotel may need a larger, modular ice machine. Having the right equipment can make all the difference! If your machine is too small, you risk running out of ice during peak hours, but if your machine is too large, it can drive up energy costs and waste valuable space in the kitchen. Investing in a high-quality commercial ice machine will not only benefit your customers but also your bottom line.

Ice is food

Avoid an issue on your next inspection and remember that ice is considered food by the FDA. Ice machines should only be used for their intended purpose of producing ice. Do not use the machines as a storage area for food or other items, as this can contaminate the ice and compromise its quality. 

Keep air flow to machine unobstructed to avoid unnecessary service calls

To maximize the lifespan and performance of your ice machine, it’s crucial to ensure proper air flow. One common cause of poor air flow is a dirty air filter. Over time, the filter can become clogged with dust and other debris, restricting air flow to the condenser. Regularly cleaning or replacing the filter can help maintain proper air flow and prevent issues down the road.

Another factor that can affect air flow is the location of the machine. It’s important to place the ice machine in a well-ventilated area, away from walls or other obstructions that can block air flow. Additionally, make sure the machine is not located near a heat source, such as a grill or oven, which can also impact air flow.

To avoid these issues, it’s important to regularly clean and maintain your ice machine’s air filters, condenser coils, and fan blades. This will help ensure that air can flow freely around the machine, allowing it to operate at peak efficiency.

Water Quality

The quality of the water used in your ice machine can affect the taste and quality of your ice. Poor water quality can have a negative impact on your ice machines, leading to decreased performance, increased energy costs, and even potential health hazards. You may need special filters added to your ice machine to prevent lime and scale build ups. Most filters use a reverse osmosis to trap those unwanted minerals like calcium and magnesium. Those minerals could potentially lead to buildups and cause breakdowns (which is a nightmare during busy season). Make sure to use a water filtration system to remove impurities and ensure that your ice is fresh and clean.

Clean more than just the outside of the bin

    It is necessary for your staff to follow the following guidelines to avoid cross contamination and break downs:

    1. Always wash your hands before handling ice or the ice machine.
    2. Only use clean and sanitized scoops or tongs to handle ice.
    3. Do not use your hands or any other utensils to scoop ice.
    4. If you notice any issues with the ice machine, such as low production or strange noises, please report it to maintenance immediately.
    5. Regularly clean and sanitize the ice machine and surrounding area according to your facility’s cleaning procedures.

    By understanding what ice machine is best for you, how it works and proper sanitation and maintenance, you will have one of the most important components for summer success: a clean, functioning ice machine!

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