Want to know how to get your ice maker to make more ice? Many business owners call us stating that their commercial ice maker just isn’t producing like it used to. It’s a common problem we see here at Easy Ice, but 90% of the time, it’s not the machine that’s broken.
Many environmental issues can lead to a decrease in your ice supply. Neglect is also a major factor that can reduce the performance of your commercial ice equipment.
Below or some of the main things you can do to get your ice maker to make more ice for your business.
Don’t Neglect Preventive Maintenance
Preventive maintenance is one of the best ways to ensure your ice machine’s performance and get your ice maker to make more ice.
Ice machines are complicated pieces of machinery. There are a lot of issues that can cause them to lose performance.
During a preventive maintenance call, an ice machine technician will check the machine inside and out. They’ll also run diagnostics to ensure the machine is running according to specifications.
If the technician notices something wrong with the machine, he can alert you before that problem becomes more severe.
Often, business owners don’t know something is wrong with their machine until it’s too late.
Preventive maintenance is not only how you get your ice maker to make more ice, but it will also save you money in repairs. And as far as ice makers go, the more severe the problem, the more expensive the repair.
We include two preventive maintenance visits in all our ice machine leases. We find that this keeps ice machines in peak condition and extends the machine’s life well past its estimated lifespan.
Don’t Neglect Professional Cleaning Either
A dirty ice machine produces less ice than a clean one. This is especially true with air cooled ice machines (the most common type).
As these machines run, they will pull in air to cool the internal workings of the machine. Any particles, like dust, dirt, grease, yeast, or flour floating in the air, will enter the machine. Eventually, that dirt will collect around vital ice machine components, insulating heat within the machine and lowering your ice production rate (more on that later).
Cleaning your ice machine’s air filter about every two weeks is your first line of defense against airborne particles and how to help your ice maker make more ice.
Professional cleaning is also incredibly important. Ice machine technicians will clean the machine inside and out to make sure dust and debris are free from vital ice machine components. This also helps keep your ice supply safe and sanitary for your customers and employees.
Easy Ice subscriptions include two professional cleanings per year to keep them in the best working order.
Check Your Air Temperature
This is one of the most common reasons why ice makers start to slow down. Ice machine manufacturers rate their ice machine’s ice production based on the temperature of the air and the water the ice machine uses.
Air cooled ice machines pull in air to help cool down condensers and force heat out of the machine. If the air around the ice machine is already warm, it will take the machine more time to cool down and produce a batch of ice.
Ideally, commercial ice machines should operate in temperatures between 70 and 90 degrees. Any higher, and you’ll notice the machine begin to produce less ice. This is a very common problem for business owners who install ice machines in hot kitchens or near heat-producing appliances like ovens or radiators. Ice machines installed in factories with little air conditioning also face this problem.
So how can you get your ice maker to make more ice if it’s in a hot room? If the machine is in a temperature-controlled room, lower the thermostat to get the temperature between 70 and 90 degrees. If the machine is near a hot appliance or in a room with no air conditioning, you might want to call a qualified ice machine technician to install the machine in a cooler area.
Check the Space Around Your Ice Machine
Just because the air in a room is between 70 and 90 degrees doesn’t necessarily mean the air directly around your ice machine is as well. Air cooled ice machines give off heat as they run. If there is not enough space around your ice machine, heat can get trapped directly around the unit. Hot air that’s trapped around the ice machine will make its way back into the unit when the machine draws air in to cool down. Here at Easy Ice, we call this phenomenon a microclimate, when hot air continually recirculates throughout the machine.
So, how much space should you free up to get your ice maker to make more ice? We recommend freeing up at least 1 foot of space on all sides of the machine – including between the top of the machine and ceiling. If you can provide more than one foot of space, even better!
This includes clutter such as boxes or other fixtures. If you have a bunch of containers near or on top of your ice machine, it’s a good idea to move them somewhere else.
Check your Water Temperature
This is a little harder to do than checking your air temperature.
High water temperatures can also significantly lower the amount of ice your ice machine produces. The hotter the water, the longer it will take the machine to freeze it into ice. Also, many ice machine components measure the temperature of the water before moving on to the next cycle. The longer it takes for the water to cool down, the less ice the machine will produce.
Checking your water temperature is easy. Find a water supply on the same line as your ice machine, like a sink. Run the water for about a minute to purge any remaining warm water out of the pipes. Using a meat thermometer or simple common probe thermometer, run water over the probe for about a minute.
You want the temperature of the water to be between 50 and 90 degrees. Any warmer and you might want to consider calling a plumber.
Areas with naturally hot climates will see warmer water. A plumber can sometimes insulate the lines or move them if they are exposed to direct heat.
Hot water migration is another situation that can cause hot water to enter your ice machine. We see this a lot when an ice machine is installed on the same water line as pre-rinse sprayers used in commercial kitchens. If an employee accidentally leaves the hot water on in a pre-rinse sprayer, the water can make its way over the ice machine. Again, a plumber is the best person to call if you suspect high water migration.
Want an Ice Machine that Makes More Ice? Call the Ice Machine Experts.
We designed our all-inclusive ice machine subscriptions so ice machines stay in peak performance year-round.
We offer the best commercial ice equipment from the leading brands in the country. We guarantee their performance by including maintenance and cleaning, as well. If there’s ever a problem with our equipment, we’ll repair it for no additional cost. We do it all for a low, monthly cost you can afford!