A high-volume ice maker can give off a lot of heat. Ice machine ventilation is an important part of the machine’s performance. Placing a high-volume ice machine in a small room can lead to lower ice production, longer harvest times, or even complete shutdown.
For workplaces that lack the space to support a large ice maker, there is another option. Stackable units can be placed on top of one another, increasing your ice cube production. So, are stackable units the best ice machines for small rooms?
A High-Volume Ice Maker Solution for Small Space
If you need more ice, you’ll need a bigger, high-volume ice maker. If you’re a business with limited space, it’s understandable you’ll want to get most ice in the smallest package.
Stackable ice machines, like the Hoshizaki IM-500SAA ice machine, are stackable, which allow you to install up to three units on top of one another. These machines work together to produce extra ice, which they deposit into a single ice bin or ice dispenser. If you have limited side-to-side space with a high roof, stackable units promise to be the best solution.
The Pros and Cons of Stacking
It’s true that Hoshizaki stackable ice makers will boost your ice production rate, but the way they are engineered creates some key downsides. You need to consider a few things before running out and buying additional units to stack on top of one another.
If you’re looking to create a high-volume ice maker by stacking another unit on top of your existing machine, you’ll need to increase your bin space. Ice bins have a switch that stops ice production (along with connected stackable units) when ice begins to reach the top. This mechanism stops your ice machine from continually producing ice, so it doesn’t lead to an ice maker freeze up.
Doubling your ice production with another stackable ice machine is pointless if you don’t have a bin to accommodate all that ice.
Say you buy a stackable ice maker that produces 500 pounds of ice a day with a 400-pound ice bin. One day you install an extra unit that also produces 500 pounds of ice. Both machines will shut off when the ice level begins to reach 400 pounds. If you don’t double your bin size, you’re not getting the benefit of an extra 500 pounds of ice.
Stacked machines make it difficult to perform some ice machine maintenance procedures. Ultimately, this can limit the lifespan of the bottom machine in a stacked set up.
Stacking ice machines makes it near impossible to service the bottom unit. The units on top block evaporator plates and drop zones making ice machine cleaning a real chore. The only way to reach these components is if you remove the top stackable unit. Afterward, an ice machine technician must reinstall the machine which takes extra time and costs a lot more money.
Finally, a commercial ice maker releases a lot of heat, and stackable machines are no exception. The more stackable units you add, the hotter the room will get, and you’ll need to cancel out that extra heat. That may mean lowering the temperature or increasing the air flow by installing extra fans in the room. Overly hot rooms cause ice machines to work overtime, causing lower ice cube production or machine breakdowns.
Need a High-Volume Ice Maker for Your Business?
If you own a small restaurant and your ice maker is not keeping up with your needs, you have options.
The best ice machine for any room is a single unit, so check to see if your space will allow for a larger, high-volume ice maker. One ice machine is much easier to service than one with a stackable ice maker on top.
You’re second best option should be finding space for another ice machine. It may be more of a hassle, but again, two separate ice makers are going to have a longer lifespan than stacking units.
Finally, a stackable ice maker can deliver the ice your business needs at a smaller footprint, just understand there are downsides. Make sure you have enough bin space and ventilation to support the additional units. Serviceability may become an issue, but getting routine preventive maintenance is still necessary to keep stackable ice makers running smoothly.