Expectation vs. Reality
The answer may shock you.
Installing commercial ice equipment means meeting various installation requirements such as drainage, space, and connecting the unit to the correct ice maker water line. One other thing you’ll need to provide is an outlet that has the proper voltage to meet your ice machine’s electrical usage.
An ice machine’s power consumption differs between models. Most smaller machines require less voltage than a larger ice machine. Let’s discuss the different ice machine electrical requirements you’ll need to provide for your model.
115v Ice Machine Models
Generally, most small commercial ice machines that produce below 800 lbs are 115v models – with a few exceptions. These machines only need a 110v outlet to deliver the proper amount of power to meet the ice machine’s electrical usage.
These outlets are the same type you see in virtually all US households. They consist of two parallel slots. These slots can be the same length or have one larger than the other.
One of the slots, the largest on most outlets called the “hot,” delivers electricity to the machine.
The shorter slot is the “neutral,” which completes the circuit by delivering energy back into the outlet.
Finally, there is a small, round hole called the “ground.” This sends electrical currents into the ground as a safety measure to protect users from shocks. Some older homes and businesses have outlets that don’t have a ground.
115v models also have amperage needs. The amperage in your standard outlet amperage typically 15 amps and the breaker is typically 20 amps. For these models, you need a dedicated circuit, ideally a 20 amp outlet, and 20 amp breaker.
When installing an ice machine to a 110v outlet, check to see if they have a GFCI breaker attached. A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, or GFCI, is a safety measure installed on many 110v outlets. They come with two buttons labeled “test” and “reset.” Essentially, these outlets act as an added safety measure to prevent accidental shocks. Unfortunately, they can cause many commercial ice machines to shut down when the compressor kicks on, which can leave businesses without ice until the machine is reset.
Manufacturers like Hoshizaki recommend you never install your ice machine on a GFCI outlet.
220v Ice Maker Models
Large ice makers that produce over 800 lbs generally require a 220v outlet to deliver power to the unit.
220v outlets are not as common in households and businesses as 115v outlets. You’ll likely find some kind of 220v outlet in the area where your washer and dryer are located.
Unlike 110v outlets, you can’t just plug a 220v ice machine into any 220v outlet.
For instance, 220v outlets come in three-wire and four-wire setups. Three-wire setups have two hots and one ground. Four-wire setups have two hots, one neutral, and one ground.
220v outlets also come in 20-amp and 30-amp outputs. Generally, ice machines that fall between 800-1200 lbs of ice a day require a 20-amp, 220v outlet. Ice machines that produce over 1200 lbs of ice a day typically require a 30-amp, 220v outlet.
There are many other 220v outlets, and different brands of ice machines may use different 220v setups. You’ll have to check the type of model to find the outlet that you need to provide.
You’ll likely need to contact an electrician to install the right type of 220v outlet for your ice machine.
3-Phase Ice Maker Models
3-phase ice makers are only compatible with businesses that have a 3-phase electrical setup in their building. Typically, larger ice machines come in a 3-phase version to accommodate businesses wired for 3-phase. These setups also make for a slightly more energy-efficient ice maker.
3-phase ice makers are typically a few hundred dollars more expensive than single-phase models.
3-phase ice machines need a dedicated circuit, with 3 hots legs and 1 ground.
Note that a single-phase outlet can’t meet the needs of a 3-phase ice machine’s electrical usage, because you’re missed the extra hot leg to run.
Ice Machine Installation Made Easy
Installing an ice machine is no easy task. If you make a mistake, it can lead to machine breakdowns, lower ice production, and expensive repairs. You’ll want to hire a professional ice machine technician to install your ice machine for maximum efficiency.
With an Easy Ice subscription, we follow strict guidelines to make sure your ice machine is installed correctly. For more information about our installation requirements, see our Pre-Installation Checklist.
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