How to Choose an Automatic Ice Maker for the Construction Industry
An automatic ice maker is the most cost-effective way to keep your workforce refreshed and productive throughout the day. Employees in the construction industry face long days in the sun. An automatic ice machine provides plenty of ice to construction sites so workers can stay cool. If you're looking for the best commercial ice machine for your landscaping, roofing, or construction business, our comprehensive guide is here to help!
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Choosing the Right Automatic ice maker for your Construction Business
Automatic ice machines come in a range of styles and sizes to meet the needs of any industry. For construction businesses, a high-volume ice maker that produces solid, slow-melting cubes is best. Your workforce can be sure to have plenty of ice that stays frozen when transporting it to construction sites. Here are some of the most popular automatic ice machines for the construction industry:
Modular Ice Machines
Modular ice machines are the most popular and flexible style of ice makers on the market. These machines only produce ice. They need additional storage, like an ice bin or dispenser, to store the ice. These machines come in a range of sizes to meet the ice needs of any sized business. We carry modular ice machines that range between 500 – 1800 lbs of ice a day.
Stackable Ice Machines
Stackable ice machines are a style of modular ice maker that you can install on top of one another. They are great options for businesses who need a large amount of ice but don't have extra room for another automatic ice maker. You can stack between 2-3 models on top of one another to double or triple your total ice cube production.
Countertop Ice Dispensers
Ice dispensers deposit ice directly into drinkware or buckets, so employees don't have to scoop the ice out of a bin and possibly risk contaminating the ice supply. Your ice stays safely in the built-in storage and is dispensed at the touch of a button or lever. There are countertop and hotel ice makers that can be equipped with a modular ice maker of your choosing. .
Countertop Ice Makers
Countertop ice machines are a great addition to waiting rooms within your transportation business. Visiting clients and salespeople can grab ice for drinks as they wait for appointments. These are also excellent for breakrooms for your clerical staff. Employees can grab ice during a lunch break or throughout the day to stay refreshed.
Types of Ice for Transportation Businesses
Automatic ice machines produce all different types of ice cubes to meet the needs of businesses. Here are the most popular ice shapes for the transportation industry:
What Size Automatic Ice Maker Do I Need?
Sizing an ice making machine is more difficult than it seems. Not only do you have to consider your average daily usage, but also how much ice your employees are pulling at once. Here are some factors to consider:
Daily Ice Usage
How much ice does your team use in a day? It's important to note that commercial ice makers take 24 hours to produce their maximum ice capacity. It will take a 600-lb ice maker 24 hours to produce 600 lbs of ice.
Condensers for Automatic Ice Machines
Your ice machine's condenser helps cool down ice refrigerant so it can be used to produce a batch of ice. Different systems are designed for different environments.
Installation Requirements for Automatic Ice Machines
Ice machines require proper installation requirements to run efficiently. Water and electricity are some obvious ones, but there are others as well:
When ice melts, that water needs to be drained away from the ice machine. Automatic ice makers need to be installed onto your business's drainage system to get rid of excess water. A floor drain is one common setup. A standpipe or wall drain are also common. Whichever you choose, virtually all cities require an air gap between your ice machine's drain and your drainage setup. You may need to contact a plumber.
All ice machines run on electricity, but each model has different electrical needs. Ice machines are commonly split into two voltage categories. Smaller ice machines require 115v of electricity. Larger ice machines require 220v. Ice machine models also have different amperage needs, so check your model's specifications for details. If you don't have the proper outlet to run your ice maker, you'll need to call an electrician to install one.
Clearly, you need water to make ice, but how much water is the question. Ice machines have different water needs, and you need a water line that can deliver the proper flow rate for your model. Depending on the size of the machine, ice machines need between 3-5 gallons of water per minute. If you do not have a water line that can deliver this amount of water, you'll need a plumber to install one.
Air cooled ice machines need plenty of ventilation to emit hot air far away from the machine so it can dissipate into the surrounding environment. When ice machines don't have enough space, the hot air lingers around the unit, causing it to overheat. You want to free up at least 1 foot of space on all sides of the machine – including the top.
We’ve serviced over 10,000 ice machines across the country. No matter the challenge, we know exactly how to keep your hotel ice machine running smoothly. Our pre-installation checklist shows you what you need to provide to install an ice machine at your construction facility. If you have a challenging environment, give us a call and we'll help you find a solution.
Automatic Ice Maker Water Filters
Sediment and mineral deposits in the water supply can enter your ice machine and cause damage. Ice machine water filters are the best way to combat these particles. Here are some common types:
Sediment filters help trap unwanted particles before they enter your ice machine. Water molecules can travel through these to allow clean water to enter the machine without limiting the flow rate. These filters can clog if they are not replaced. A clogged filter can hinder the flow of water and lead to smaller, malformed ice cubes. You should replace sediment filters every 6 months.
While not technically a "filter," these water treatment systems are installed alongside sediment filters to hinder scale formation. Scale is the result of calcium and magnesium particles binding together into a hard, chalky substance that clings to vital ice machine components. Phosphate filters need replacing around every 6 months, or when the phosphate in them has depleted.
Carbon has been used as a filtration method since ancient Egyptian times. Carbon filters reduce the amount of sediment and minerals that enter your automatic ice maker, but they also reduce chlorine, which can affect the taste of water and ice. These are popular filters for many countertop ice makers. These filters also need replacing every 6 months.
Cleaning and Maintaining Automatic Ice Makers for Your Construction Business
Maintaining a clean and safe ice supply should be at the top of any business owner's list of responsibilities. Dirty ice can make people sick. Also, a dirty ice machine will not produce as much ice.
While regular, light cleaning is certainly important, professional cleanings will help keep your automatic ice machine sanitary inside and out. A qualified ice machine technician will disassemble the machine and disinfect and sanitize each part to ensure you have a clean and safe ice supply.
Mold and Slime
Ice machines are dark and damp environments that can attract mold and slime growth without proper cleaning. While mold and slime are not particularly dangerous, it can lead to a health inspection violation.
Ice Bin Cleaning
Ice bins can also attract mold and slime because they are damp and dark. Transportation businesses should pay attention to their ice bins since that what holds your ice supply. Light, weekly cleaning by your staff is the best way to prevent mold and slime.
How the Environment Affects Automatic Ice Machines
Ice machines require proper conditions to perform at maximum efficiency. Temperature, water flow, and ventilation can affect your ice machine's performance and lead to less ice or expensive repairs.
Air cooled ice machines require proper air temperatures to stay cool. Since these systems use the outside air, you need to make sure that air stays cool. These systems work best when the surrounding air is 70 degrees. A temperature-controlled room is the best way to maintain these temperatures.
Air cooled ice machines also release hot air as they produce ice. The machine is designed to release the air through vents and disperse it into the environment. You need to make sure there is enough space around the machine for the air to escape. Make sure you free up at least 1 foot of space on all sides of the unit.
Poper water temperatures are a must for any ice machine system - water cooled or remote included. When hot water enters your ice machine, the unit has to work harder to produce a batch of ice. Water temperatures should stay around 50 degrees to produce the maximum amount of ice.
Sediment or minerals in your water supply can damage your ice machine. Your area's water quality will determine the best type of filtration your ice machine needs. High-sediment areas may require more than one sediment filter. High-mineral water may require phosphate.
A clean automatic ice maker produces more ice than a dirty one. Dirt and dust can surround your condenser and reduce its ability to cool down refrigerant. Other particles can contaminate your ice supply and make employees sick.
How Much Does an Automatic Ice Maker Cost?
The output of the machine will greatly determine the overall cost. Smaller ice machines can run as low as $1,500. Larger ice machines can run over $10,000. There are hidden costs associated with automatic ice machines as well.
Maintenance and Cleaning
Ice machine cleaning and maintenance costs around $300 per visit.
Automatic ice machine manufacturers recommend at least two maintenance and cleaning visits a year. During these, an ice machine technician will optimize your machine and check for potential problems. Technicians will also clean, disinfect, and sanitize the ice machine inside and out.
Water filters help eliminate sediment and dirt that can harm your ice machine. Water filters range between $15 - $100, depending on the type of filter you buy. Filters eventually need replacing. Each filter is rated to perform for a set time, but on average, it's best to replace water filters every 6 months.
Ice making machine repair costs are dependent on the type of damage to your machine. Costs run between a hundred dollars to well over a thousand. Here are some of the most common repairs and their costs:
- Hot Gas Valve Replacement - $600
- Expansion Valve - $600
- Compressor Repair - $1500
- Evaporator Repair - $2500
Save Money and Skip the Stress of Automatic Ice Maker Maintenance
Commercial ice equipment can be expensive, but with our all-inclusive subscription, you get a top-of-the-line automatic ice machine for your construction business for no upfront capital. Our ice machine subscriptions include professional cleaning, maintenance, and repairs. We also maintain a 24-hour ice machine service line you can call if there is ever a problem with the equipment. We’ll even provide breakdown ice if your automatic ice machine goes down for extended repairs. You get it all for a low, monthly rate!