All appliances, ice machines or otherwise, age out over time. So, when do you know it’s time for a new ice maker or whether you can get by with a repair?
At Easy Ice, we guarantee the performance of all our ice makers. Our Ice Machine Experts are not only factory trained, they also have years of specialized training and in-field experience. With over 25,000 ice machines under management, our expertise equips us with crucial knowledge to identify which ice machine repairs are worth the price – or when it’s time for a new ice maker.
In this article, we are passing that information on to you, so you don’t spend extra money on repairs that would outweigh the cost of a new ice machine.
How Can I Make My Ice Machine Last Longer?
It’s tough to say how long a new ice machine can last. It depends on several factors.
The make and model of the machine plays a major role in longevity. Easy Ice carries a full lineup of commercial ice makers from top-quality ice machine manufacturers like Hoshizaki and Manitowoc. We’ve seen Hoshizaki and Manitowoc models last more than 15 years – provided they receive routine maintenance and cleaning.
It’s also important to choose a machine that can meet the demands of your business in terms of size, production, and environment.
Overall, no matter what brand of ice machine you buy, an ice maker is only as good as the service it receives. We recognize this, which is why we include a minimum of two preventive maintenance and professional cleaning visits in our all-inclusive ice machine lease.
Even with the best equipment, ideal environment, and regular service, all ice machines will eventually age out. Below are some of the issues that can “total” an ice machine.
Sign Number 1: Severe Rust or Corrosion
If you notice your ice machine’s base is corroded or covered in rust, it’s time to consider buying a new ice maker.
This is often an indication of an internal leak within the unit. Water collects at the bottom of the machine and begins to eat away at the machine’s base.
It is a costly repair and often not worth the expense and effort to replace the ice machine chassis.
Problems like this are another reason why preventive maintenance is so essential in ice machines. A small leak (often an easy repair) can turn into a big problem if it persists.
If you happen to notice water leaking down the side of the machine or pooling on the ground, you should call an ice machine technician ASAP.
Sign Number 2: A Noisy Compressor
There are many important ice machine components, but core refrigeration parts tend to be the most expensive to repair. The compressor and condenser work together to transform and route the refrigerant through the ice machine to the evaporator, the platform for freezing water into ice.
Damage to any of these parts can cause your ice machine to break down entirely.
If you have a noisy compressor – one that is sucking air, rattling, or screeching – call your service technician. Compressors fail due to overwork, electrical issues, excessive heat due to poor ventilation, and/or from a build-up of dirt and dust in the condenser.
An out-of-warranty compressor repair will cost thousands to repair or replace. A new ice maker may be the remedy, depending on the state of your other components. Check with your ice machine technician to see if buying a new ice machine is the best course of action.
Sign Number Three: Condenser Fin Corrosion
If a condenser is challenged, the compressor is forced to work longer and harder, creating the issues above.
A dirty ice machine condenser is often the culprit (another reason for regularly scheduled cleaning and maintenance).
In water-cooled ice machines, scale build-up is a problem in areas with high mineral content water.
In air-cooled ice machines, condensers are housed behind a series of fins that allow air to pass through uninhibited. If these fins rust, corrode, or are flattened, it will impede airflow, wreaking havoc on your machine. Humidity and corrosive environments often creates this complication.
Condenser fins are typically located in the back of an air-cooled ice machine. Depending on the ice machine model, the fins require close inspection to identify any damage.
Sometimes, these condenser fins can be combed out. Regardless, condensers require routine maintenance to rid the fins of grease and dust, and for general sanitization.
If the condenser needs to be replaced, it’s very likely the harm has impacted other parts of your machine as well, which means it’s time for a new ice machine.
Sign Number Four: Evaporator Plate Separation
Ice is formed in the evaporator. The ice shape and size are dependent on the evaporator plate’s structure and dimensions. For example, Manitowoc evaporators are a series of horizontal and vertical metal grids which create a form for cubes to develop. The cubes are connected by an ice bridge and ice is released in a sheet that breaks apart as it falls into the storage area. On the other hand, Hoshizaki KM-series ice machine evaporators are uniquely designed to form their signature individual, crescent-shaped ice.
Evaporator plate separation on Hoshizaki machines occurs where the stainless-steel plate disconnects from the coils. This happens in machines that are poorly maintained. If your evaporator tubing or plates are loose from each other, or if you have abnormal ice formation, this is an indication there is separation.
On a Manitowoc, the cube grids can completely detach from the back of the plate. Not only could there be an issue with the grid breaking, but the nickel-plating can also flake off over time.
A simple inspection of the evaporator by removing the front panel and water curtain can allow you visual access to determine if you should call a technician for evaluation.
Routine maintenance is key in preventing these issues. Replacing an evaporator can cost thousands to fix. Particularly in a larger ice maker, the cost of a new ice machine may be less than repairing the old one.
Sign Number Five: Evaporator Plating is Worn Off
Many ice machine brands – Manitowoc, Scotsman, and Ice-O-Matic, for example – have nickel-plated evaporators that require special care. If the nickel-plating on these evaporators begins to wear off, ice will have a much harder time releasing from the plate and into your ice storage bin.
These types of evaporators require a nickel-safe ice machine cleaner to keep the plating intact. Harsh acids can severely damage and corrode the nickel. However, age can also play a factor in the plating’s deterioration.
Like the plate separation, this issue will require an evaporator plate replacement, an expensive fix.
Side note: Hoshizaki ice machines have stainless-steel evaporator plates that don’t require a nickel-safe cleaner.
Does It Look Like You Need a New Ice Maker? You Don’t Have to Break the Bank!
Honest ice machine service companies always have the customer’s business interests in mind. They can best tell you whether to repair or buy a new ice maker. However, commercial ice machines are not cheap.
If you do need a new ice machine for your business, don’t despair over the cost. Easy Ice can install a new ice maker for little to no capital upfront under our all-inclusive ice machine lease.
We also guarantee our commercial ice equipment’s performance by including two preventive maintenance and cleaning visits per year. If there is an issue with our equipment, we repair it for no additional cost. If the repairs are too extensive, you’re not on the hook for a new machine. We’ll replace the machine for free.
You get it all for a low monthly cost! Contact our team of Ice Machine Experts today!