As a business owner, we realize it’s important that you get the most out of each of your assets. While most ice machines last around 7-8 years, we have learned some tricks to extend the life of an old ice machine. While proper maintenance is important for any ice machine, an older unit may need a little extra care.
With older units especially, it’s crucial that you:
- Clean Your Machine Regularly
- Provide Proper Space
- Routinely Check Water Flow Rate
Although routine service is most likely part of your ice machine maintenance procedures already, our helpful tips give you the confidence that your machine is in the best possible shape. Go from wondering “how long do ice makers last?” to knowing that you can depend on your unit for a long time. Extend the life of an old ice maker by utilizing our tips along with routine service.
Clean Your Ice Machine Regularly
Major ice machine manufacturers like Manitowoc and Hoshizaki recommend that their equipment is professionally cleaned at least twice a year. However, outside of these visits, it’s important that you regularly clean an older ice maker to keep it running as well as possible.
At least every other week, clean the air filters on your ice machine in order to keep it properly ventilated. On an air-cooled ice machine, especially, a clogged air filter can lead to poor production and overheating. To clean your air filter, simply use a damp cloth and a neutral cleaner (pH between 6-8).
Since ice is a food according to the FDA, cleaning your ice bin and the machine itself is crucial and keeps them free from contaminants. Use a food-grade, EPA-approved sanitizing solution to wipe down the surfaces of your ice machine and bin regularly. Schedule service with an ice machine technician at least twice a year so they can properly clean the inside of your ice machine as well.
During these visits, the technician needs to look at and clean your machine’s condenser. While it’s easy to have this done during your routine service appointment, your condenser may need to be looked at more frequently based on the environment. Have your technician clean the condenser with a vacuum or brush, depending on how greasy it is, being careful not to bend or smash the condenser fins.
Cleaning regularly is an easy way to give your old ice maker a leg up so it can keep providing you with a consistent supply of ice. Check out our Ice Machine Cleaning Schedule for more information.
Provide Your Old Ice Maker with Proper Space
Outside of your older unit becoming a dirty ice machine as well, space and ventilation can also affect your machine’s longevity. As talked about above, air cooled units need plenty of ventilation since they produce hot air during their production cycle. But besides that, ice machines need space so they can be properly serviced and are easier to clean regularly.
Per manufacturer recommendations, your ice machine needs to have space around the sides, back, and top. Providing at least one foot of space on all sides ensures that during service, your technician will be able to easily clean and service everything they need to on your old ice maker.
Without at least one foot of space, not only will your machine be hard to maintain, but it’ll easily overheat during production. If the air filters and vents on your ice machine are blocked, hot air can’t be expelled, and your unit will overheat, potentially damaging vital internal components. Keeping the area around your machine clear allows for proper airflow and ventilation, reducing the risk of overheating. These ice safety solutions are easy to follow and help the overall function of your machine.
To help your old ice maker from overheating, it’s also important to keep the ambient air temperature around your machine as close to 70°F as possible. With hot air being emitted, your machine needs to be able to suck cool air back in. Keeping air temperatures at the right level ensures your ice maker’s working in ideal conditions.
Routinely Check Your Water Flow Rate
All ice machines need the proper amount of water to function since, after all, you can’t have ice without water. However, if the water flow is restricted, it affects the unit’s ability to make the right-sized and the right amount of ice cubes.
Most machines require a flow rate between 1-3 gallons per minute (gpm). Depending on size, they may require more, with larger ice machines needing up to 5 gpm. When the flow rate isn’t sufficient, your machine’s freeze and harvest cycles won’t function properly. You’ll notice small, malformed cubes or even larger ice clumps that result from an incomplete harvest cycle.
Checking your old ice maker’s water filters regularly helps to keep your flow rate where it needs to be. Manufacturers recommend that water filters are replaced at least twice a year, but it may need to be done more frequently in challenging environments.
Reliable Ice Machines for Every Business
Follow these basic steps along with what your owner’s manual recommends to keep your old ice machine in the best possible shape. Remember, keep your unit in a climate-controlled environment, clean it regularly to avoid ice contamination, service it professionally at least twice a year, and use it properly. We make it easy to extend the life of your ice machine so that you don’t have to worry about your business’ ice supply.
When you’re ready for new equipment, though, we’re here to help. Just give us a call on our 24/7 customer service line, and our team of experts will find you the perfect solution. Easy Ice has a variety of affordable options to meet all your ice-related needs!