Commercial Ice Machine Guide
Choosing a commercial ice machine is not as easy as it looks. The size of the machine, ice type, and daily production are just some of the factors to consider. When choosing an ice machine, you also need to factor in the care. Commercial ice machines require preventive maintenance, cleaning, and repairs to keep them performing in top shape. Our commercial ice machine guide is here to help!
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How Do I Choose the Right Type of Commercial Ice Maker for My Business?
Commercial ice makers come in all shapes, sizes, and styles to meet specific business needs. Whether you run a restaurant, hotel, clinic, or manufacturing plant, there is an ice machine that is perfect for you. Below are some of the types of ice makers for different business needs:
Modular Ice Machines
Modular ice machines only produce ice. They require you to purchase an additional ice storage bin or dispenser to store the ice. Modular ice makers offer the largest amount of options for businesses. No matter the ice shape, there is a modular ice maker that produces it. Our modular ice machines produce between 500 – 1800 lbs of ice a day.
Stackable Ice Machines
Stackable ice machines allow you to install 2-3 units on top of one another, to double or triple your daily ice production. These machines still require you to purchase an additional ice storage bin or dispenser to store the ice. Stackable units can be great option for high-volume businesses that don’t have a lot of extra room to fit two ice makers. Keep in mind, multiple stackable ice makers are much harder to service than a single large ice maker.
Undercounter Ice Machines
These small ice machines measure below 40” high to fit underneath counters and bar tops. They produce between 50-350 lbs. of ice a day. They are particularly popular behind bars, so bartenders have access to ice without having to grab additional ice from the kitchen. Undercounter ice makers come with built-in storage, so you do not need to purchase an additional ice storage bin or dispenser. Many undercounter ice makers are also ADA compliant to accommodate people with disabilities.
Commercial Ice Dispensers
Commercial ice dispensers can produce their own ice or require an ice maker installed on top. Produce between 500-800 lbs. of ice a day. Some dispensers also dispense water as well. Commercial ice dispensers are popular in a number of industries. Hotels use standup dispensers so guests can fill buckets of ice for their rooms. Office break rooms and wait rooms use dispensers so staff and visitors can fill drinks with ice without assistance from additional staff.
Countertop Ice Makers
Countertop ice makers are designed to fit on top of a counter for self-serve use. Countertop ice makers either produce their own ice or require an ice machine installed on top. Ice production ranges between 500-800 lbs. of ice a day. These are particularly popular in office breakrooms and healthcare clinics. They don’t take up a lot of space and reduce the chance accidental contamination for your ice supply.
How Do I Select the Right Type of Ice Cube?
The shape of an ice cube is not just aesthetic. Each ice shape provides a different business need. Choosing the right type of ice can help to elevate your drinks, treat ailments, or even save you money.
What Type of Ice Machine Condenser Do I Need?
Your ice machine condenser helps to cool refrigerant and emit heat away from the ice machine so it can run smoothly. There are three main types of ice machine condensers.
Commercial Ice Maker Water Filters
Ice maker water filters help to trap contaminants, sediment, and mineral deposits that can hinder the effectiveness of your ice machine. Without regular water filter replacements, ice machines breakdown due to several issues. We install water filters on every commercial ice machine we service. There are three main types of ice maker filters we recommend:
Standard Sediment Filters
Sediment filters trap particles that can harm your ice maker while allowing water molecules to pass through unhindered. These are great for all water conditions, but particularly necessary in hard water conditions. Standard water filters need replacement every few months. If filters are used past their replacement date, dirt and sediment can plug up your filter and restrict water flow to your ice machine. This results in smaller, malformed ice cubes.
Phosphate filters are used in addition to a standard sediment filter. These filters prevent minerals from forming into scale by satisfying the ionic binds between calcium and magnesium deposits. Phosphate filters technically treat the water. They won’t plug up like standard sediment filters, but they still need replacement every few months before the phosphate in them runs out.
These are often used in nugget and flake ice machines and some countertop ice machine models. Carbon filters trap harmful particles that can damage your ice machine. These filters also trap chlorine, which affects the taste and odor of ice. Carbon filters are often used in place of phosphate filters in ice machines that use an auger system where phosphate isn’t effectively flushed out of the ice supply. Carbon filters also need replacing every few months.
Ice Machine Cleaning and Sanitization
Ice machine cleaning and sanitizing is necessary to reduce the growth of mold and slime in your ice maker. A professional ice machine cleaning can also remove scale from vital ice machine parts. Mold and slime can lead to a damaging health violation, while scale buildup can damage your ice maker, requiring expensive repairs.
Commercial ice machines should receive professional cleaning at least every six months. If your ice machine is in a challenging environment, like a bakery or brewery, you'll likely require more cleanings.
Mold and Slime
Mold and slime feed off particles in the air that enter your commercial ice maker. They congregate in moist, dark areas in your ice machine and bin. Health inspectors look for excessive mold and slime growth during inspections.
Don't Forget About Ice Bin Cleaning
Your ice bin is one of the most popular places for mold, slime, and scale to form. Its dark, wet, and open to the environment when many employees scoop ice. Cleaning your ice bin is just as important as cleaning the machine itself.
How Much Does an Commercial Ice Machine Cost?
A commercial ice machine can cost anywhere from $1,500 for a small commercial ice machine to well over $10,000 for a high-volume ice machine with a high-capacity bin. Modular and stackable machines will also require an ice storage bin or dispenser to store the ice. There are a couple of hidden costs involved with properly caring for an ice machine as well. Here are the most common:
Ice machine preventive maintenance costs around $300 per visit.
Manufacturers recommend two maintenance visits per year. During a preventive maintenance visit, ice machine technicians will work to optimize your machine, so it runs smoothly and continues to produce the maximum amount of ice. Preventive maintenance also alerts owners to potential problems that can lead to machine breakdowns and expensive repairs.
Depending on the problem, ice machine repairs can cost anywhere between a few hundred dollars to a few thousands. Here are some examples of some common ice machine repairs and their estimated costs:
- Hot Gas Valve Replacement - $600
- Expansion Valve - $600
- Compressor Repair - $1500
- Evaporator Repair - $2500
Our All-Inclusive Commercial Ice Maker Program is the Way To Go
Our commercial ice equipment program is more than just an ice machine lease. We include maintenance, cleaning, and repairs into one low monthly payment. We know that ice machine issues happen at any time of day and that’s why we include 24-hour customer support. No need to keep track of your next ice machine service or cleaning. We do it for you! We'll call you when your machine is due for its next service and find the best time that works for you! We'll even supply your backup ice if your machine is down for repairs.
Our job is to make sure your ice production stays at the manufacturer’s specifications – whether that’s today or 10 years from now. With an Easy Ice subscription, you don’t even have to think about your ice machine, just the benefit of a guaranteed supply of ice.
Our team of Ice Machine Experts is ready to help you size the perfect commercial ice machine for your business. We have experience providing ice machines for virtually every industry.