Here in the US, by the time water reaches our sink, it’s generally safe to drink. That’s because water treatment facilities clean and filter water of harmful bacteria or protozoa. Although safe to drink, treatment facilities can’t filter everything out of the water. Truth is, tap water still has particles in it. These particles aren’t harmful to people but can mean bad news for your ice machine. That’s why ice machines have their own water filter that traps deposits that can clog up a unit. Knowing how to clean an ice maker’s dirty water filter can keep your machine in working condition.  

Here’s what causes an ice machine water filter to clog and how it can affect your ice production.  

What Your Ice Machine Water Filter is Fighting Against 

how to clean an ice maker water filter

Water is known as the universal solvent because it dissolves more substances than any other liquid. As water dissolves solids, it carries tiny particles along with it. Over time, as water flows to your ice machine, these particles can accumulate and cause blockages in your unit. Some of these particles include: 

    • Calcium  
    • Chlorides 
    • Sodium 
    • Iron 
    • Magnesium 

Your water filter’s job is simple – prevent particles from entering your machine.  

What Happens When an Ice Machine Water Filter Gets Dirty? 

Your ice machine’s water filter guards against a lot, but it isn’t a perfect defense. As time passes, minerals and particles accumulate and eventually plug up the water filter.  

Without proper cleaning, a dirty water filter can clog up with so much debris that water can’t get through it. When this happens, your machine can freeze up completely, meaning your ice machine won’t be able to produce ice.  

This ultimately results in an ice machine shutting down into its fail-safe mode until the water filter is clear and water can flow back to the machine.  

How Can I Make Sure My Ice Machine Water Filter Doesn’t Clog? 

What’s the best way to keep your ice machine water filter clear? Clean it! Before we tell you how to clean an ice maker water filter, though, it’s important to know what type of filter you have.  

Pre-filters are simple in design. Normally made of a mesh-like material, they filter out larger particles and debris, so they don’t enter the machine. Cleaning these filters is easy enough, simply rinse them with water. Eventually, you’ll have to replace these filters. Each filter has its own lifespan (normally labeled on the box it came in). It’s important to know how long your pre-filter is rated for, so you know when to replace it.   

Treated filters are infused with chemicals like phosphate, which break down particles further, so they don’t cause buildup in the machine. After a while, they also need replacing, as rinsing them won’t replenish the treatment.   

Finally, a reverse osmosis system can also help in keeping your water filter clear. These systems use a membrane with small pores that only allow water molecules to pass through. Reverse osmosis is a great way to treat your water, but you need to replace membranes every few months as well.   

How Often Should My Ice Machine Water Filter Be Cleaned? 

Knowing how to clean an ice maker water filter is one thing, how often is another. Manufacturers measure the lifespan of a filter in PPM (Parts per million). This determines the particle to water ratio your filter can handle.   

The only thing is, different areas have more particles than others. In places like Chicago, the water is soft, meaning it has less mineral content. Businesses in these areas have to clean their filters less.   

Areas like Phoenix, Arizona have a high concentration of minerals in their soil. Water with high mineral concentration is known as hard water. In these areas, more particles pass through a filter, clogging them faster – which means more frequent cleanings.  

So how can you find out your water quality? That’s a job best left for professionals… 

Why You Should Have Your Water Filter Professionally Cleaned 

Getting an ice machine cleaning from a professional comes with a lot of perks. Along with planned preventive maintenance that comes with a cleaning service, a trained professional can determine your area’s:  

  • Ph Level 
  • Hard vs. Soft water 
  • Flow rate 
  • Water Temperature 

This information is useful in creating a routine cleaning schedule which  can ensure proper cleaning frequencies and techniques specific to your area’s water supply.

If you’re an Easy Ice subscriber, we’ll do all this for you and set up a no-hassle, planned preventive maintenance schedule. Our technicians identify your area’s specific water challenges and schedule cleanings accordingly.   

If you are interested in an Easy Ice machine subscription, complete with routine preventive maintenance, give us a call at 866-easyice.