What Happens to Your Ice Machine When Your Room Hits 100 Degrees?
Ice machines work best in optimal temperatures of 70-degree air and 50-degree water. If you plan on installing your ice machine in a hot kitchen, those are tough temperatures to maintain. When you install commercial ice equipment in a hot room forces the unit to work harder to produce ice. When a room gets too hot (over 100 degrees), you could easily end up with an ice maker not making ice altogether.
The Effect of Heat on an Ice Maker
All kinds of issues happen when the room your ice machine is in heats up to 100 degrees or more. Ice in your bin will melt faster, you could end up with an ice maker not making ice, or cause damage to the unit!
Many people have a hard time believing air temperatures can climb as high as 100 degrees in their establishment and not notice it. The truth is, ice machines can develop a microclimate where the temperature around the machine is much higher than the rest of the environment.
Easy Ice studies have shown that the air recirculating through the ice machine can be up to 25 degrees hotter than the ambient room temperature when measured at a point less than 5 feet away from the ice machine!
Hoshizaki Ice Machine Production Index
We’ve included a chart that details the amount of ice various Hoshizaki ice machines produce in different air and water temperatures.
Although this table is specific to Hoshizaki ice machine models, higher air and water temperatures negatively affect all ice machines on the market. In short, ice production goes down as the temperature goes up.
(This Hoshizaki ice machine index assumes infinite storage ability, so that the machine will run continuously during a 24-hour period.)
|Model||Air/Water 70°/50°||Air/Water 90°/90°|
*Data does not account for increased clarity & dimple settings
What about the Ice in Your Ice Storage Bin?
A hot environment can also affect the ice in your ice storage bin.
Once the harvest cycle is complete, ice remains in the bin until it gets scooped away or eventually melts.
While the ice bin is insulated, it is not a freezer. It’s more like those hard-plastic coolers you take along on picnics. If it were a freezer, your ice would be a solid block and not the cubes you need.
You can reduce the amount of ice that melts by keeping the bin door closed whenever possible.
The longer the bin door stays open, the more your ice is exposed to warm air, and the more quickly the stored ice will melt.
Now that you understand the effect heat has on an ice machine, let’s identify what can cause the temperature around an ice maker to reach 100 degrees.
Temperature Around the Machine
The most obvious problem that causes ice machines to overheat is warm air in the room. Warm air from the environment can mix with heat from the machine can cause big problems!
As we mentioned above, you want the room temperature to be in the 70s to help control the temperature immediately surrounding the machine.
Whether it’s rising temperatures in the summer or heat-generating appliances like an oven heating the environment, installing the machine in a room with central air conditioning will allow you to control the temperature in the room.
Keeping the room around 70 degrees will ultimately increase your ice production, reduce your energy costs, and prolong the life of the ice machine.
Ventilation Around the Ice Machine
An air-cooled ice machine uses a fan to suck air in the front of the ice maker and across the condenser to cool (i.e. remove the heat) from refrigerant, that’s used to produce ice.
The machine vents hot air through the rear of the ice maker, which is usually 6-8 inches away from the wall.
When the warm air slams into the wall, it will try to move in all directions.
However, if the air is restricted by the ceiling, walls, or other equipment, it will drift back towards the fan that’s sucking air in.
The hot air then reenters the ice machine. It’s this “hot air recirculation” that ends up causing a microclimate.
We have seen this scenario occur in 85-degree kitchens. The ice machine continually recirculates the air, which forces the machine to work longer and harder to create the ice. All that work causes the unit to generate more heat, which results in an ice maker not making ice.
To prevent this, make sure that your ice machine is in a space with enough ventilation. If the ice maker is too close to the wall or installed in a cabinet or cubby, the lack of airflow can lead to an overly hot microclimate.
Boxes and clutter can also block airflow above, below, or around the machine, so don’t store anything on top or around the unit.
Other Heat Generating Appliances
If the ice machine is located next to another heat-generating appliance, like a furnace or oven, the air around the unit may reach 100 degrees or more.
During the planning phase, it is common for business owners to draw up a floor plan where every appliance in the room gets its own special location.
Unfortunately, floor plans do not typically account for cumulative heat. The room may be “room temperature” on paper, but add appliances, equipment, and people, and temperatures can rise quickly.
Location, Location, Location.
Given all we know about how placement factors into ice machine performance, here are 5 tips to keep in mind when choosing a location for your machine:
- Choose a climate-controlled room so you can maintain an ideal temperature.
- Ensure there is proper airflow and ventilation in the room to maintain a steady, room temperature consistent with the rest of the building, even when the ice machine is running non-stop!
- Pick a space with a minimum of 6″ wall clearance, 12″ side clearance, and 18″ overhead clearance.
- Avoid enclosed areas like closets or cubbies.
- Whenever possible, place the ice machine a good distance away from other heat-generating appliances.