If you plan on buying an air cooled ice machine (the most common type of ice machine on the market), you’ll need to give it plenty of space. An air cooled ice machine’s ventilation needs directly factor into how much ice that machine will produce.
Why is Ice Machine Ventilation Important?
As refrigerant makes its way through the ice machine, it absorbs and releases heat. Refrigerant is at its hottest as it leaves your ice machine’s compressor, where it’s in the state of a highly pressurized gas.
As it moves its way through the ice machine condenser, condenser coils absorb the heat in the refrigerant. As the refrigerant cools, it converts to a liquid.
Once the heat transfers to the condenser, the ice machine has to get rid of it, otherwise the ice machine will overheat. A fan inside the air cooled ice machine pushes heat out of the machine and into the surrounding environment through a vent.
This process keeps the inside of your ice machine cool so it can more easily produce a batch of ice. Overall, the closer the interior stays to 70 degrees, the less it will cut into your ice machine’s electrical usage. This makes for a more energy-efficient ice maker, which saves your business money in utilities.
How Much Space Do I Need for Proper Ice Machine Ventilation?
As your ice machine emits hot air out of its vents, that air needs somewhere to go. If a wall or some other object blocks those vents, the air will recirculate back into the machine.
When hot air reenters your machine, you can expect a lower ice production rate. The ice machine will also wear out sooner, as it will have to work harder to produce a batch of ice.
An ice machine requires at least 1 foot of space on all sides of the machine. This includes a foot of space between the top of the ice machine and your business’s ceiling.
A foot should be the bare minimum amount of space you free up. If you can provide more space, that’s even better. Keep in mind that a small commercial ice machine will put out less heat than a large ice maker. So, you may want to free up more than 1 foot of space with bigger units.
More Space Equals Easier Service
While a foot of space may be enough for your ice machine to emit hot air into the environment, there are other reasons why you should look to provide more space.
Ice machines need regular cleaning and preventive maintenance to maintain their efficiency. An experienced technician will provide professional ice machine cleaning and maintenance, but to do that, they need space to work.
Professional cleanings differ from the light ice machine cleaning from you and your staff. Technicians need space to access the top and sides of the ice machine so they can deep clean vital ice machine components.
Preventive maintenance also requires space to access the inside of the machine.
When technicians don’t have enough space to work, they’re forced to do what they can with the space they’re given, or uninstall the machine, which is not cost-effective.
Overall, the more space you provide for technicians, the more you’ll get out of your routine cleaning and maintenance visits.
When Installing Your Ice Maker Don’t Forget Ice Machine Ventilation
Space is just as crucial to your commercial ice equipment as choosing the right ice machine drain or ice machine water line. It will help your ice machine run smoothly, increase your ice output, and prevent costly repairs.
We’ve provided a Pre-Installation Checklist outlining all the ice machine installation requirements your model needs to stay in working condition. With an Easy Ice subscription, we follow strict ice machine installation best practices that we’ve perfected over the 20,000 ice machines we’ve installed. We also take care of cleaning and maintenance to keep it running in top condition!