Monthly Archives: October 2014

  1. Outdoor Ice Machines

    Ice machines don’t have to be relegated to being trapped inside in the recesses of kitchens, at the end of the hall in hotels, or tucked away in hospitals.  They can be out in the open, front and center at luaus, barbeques, and other outdoor events. 

    One of our small ice machines, the GEMU090 by Ice-O-Matic, delivers enough pearl ice to keep plenty of outdoor party goers happy.  There are, however, some guidelines which must be observed when using an outdoor ice machine to make sure it can deliver the goods.

    Be Careful About Operating Temperatures

    If the machine gets hotter than the temperatures prescribed in the operations manual, the machine might not operate at its optimum efficiency. It’s actually more dangerous to operate them in cold temperatures. If the machine is allowed to freeze on the outside, damage can happen to the whole unit. 

    Make Sure Water Doesn’t Accumulate

    There are many people out there who believe that just because it can handle being outside that it’s like a superman of ice machines.  Unfortunately, the GEMU090 ice machine can’t operate in standing water, as it will serve well to damage the parts. Careful putting it on a bar with a patron that likes to spill drinks, or where one push could put it into the bar sink.

    Keep the Water Lines Short

    Getting all ‘countryfied’ and running a long water line across the patio and through the neighbor’s yard will only serve to damage the ice production of your small ice maker if you’re making ice on a sunny day. The sun will make the water hot in the line and force the machine to work harder.

    Be Smart About Drainage

    Don’t drain your ice machine into the pool, the toilet, onto the grounds, or some other jury-rigged way.  Yes, the outdoor ice machine is going to need some drainage.  No, the kiddy pool is not the place to do it.  There are better ways to drain your ice machine.

    Out of Season? Bring it Indoors

    If the time for outdoor ice parties is done, then it’s time to bring the GEMU090 inside.  That pearl ice can be used for patrons in so many other places.   Pearl ice is welcome anywhere – there are plenty of creative uses for it, enough so the machine doesn’t have to lay dormant during winter months. 

  2. Health Inspectors Report of Ice Machines

    Health inspections are part and parcel of any restaurant owner’s life.  At least once a quarter, inspectors come out to make sure that all of the food preparation is up to snuff, but they also make sure that all of the ice machines are safe as well.

    An inspector looking through your ice machine is looking for unclean components and dirty ice. Dirty ice is a huge magnet for bacteria that can infect workers and customers. It can also be a signal for inspectors to take an extra close look at the rest of the restaurant.

    Here are just some examples of what can go wrong with the ice machines.  These are taken from actual health inspector’s reports from all over the country.

    • Observed pink mold like growth on the deflector plate inside the bulk ice machine. Corrected on the spot.
    • Observed floor under ice machine and sink soiled with black slimy soot at the time of inspection.
    • The McDonald's in Albertville scored an 84. The health inspector reported they needed to clean the ice machine.
    • Observed no air gap on the ice machine drain line. A direct connection may not exist between the SEWAGE system and a drain originating from equipment in which food, portable equipment, or utensils are placed.
    • Noted were insufficient air gap for ice machines and ice buckets, waste lines from ice storage bins and water dispenser spill trays connected (which is against code)
    • Buildup inside ice machine and ice bins.
    • Clean interior of ice machine as often as necessary to prevent accumulation of soil and mold. Ice scoop not clean

    None of us like mold in our ice machines, but it seems to be present in a lot of cases.  Cleaning an ice maker isn’t a difficult process, but it must be done regularly. Otherwise you might get your own health report added to this list!

  3. Countertop Ice Machines and Break Rooms? The Perfect Match

    All of the major ice machine brands make countertop ice machines that might fit your needs.  Many companies use their countertop ice makers in self-service functions or in break rooms. Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the countertop ice machines that have caught our eye.

    We’re especially fond of the kind that have both ice and water dispensers. In break rooms, people like having the all-in-one unit. It saves space on the counter. Plus, these systems have water filtration units that can fix that nasty tap water.

    Most of the countertop ice makers are completely touch free. You can just put your cup against the lever and the ice comes out. Some models even use sensors to detect when a cup is available.

    Here are some countertop ice machines that you’ll want to put into your break room:

    Scotsman MDT5N25A-1 523 LB TouchFree Nugget Ice Machine and Water Dispenser

    Follett 7CI100A 125 lb 14.6” Wide Air-Cooled Nugget-Style Ice Maker and Water Dispenser

    Ice-O-Matic GEMD270A 273-LB Pearl Ice Machine and Water Dispenser

    Most of these machines are ready-made for putting in your favorite settings, be they in a hotel, a residence, or at your self-service convenience store. This is just a small sample of what we have in this category. Take a look through our full list by browsing to the product listing pages.   

  4. What is the Hotel Ice Maker Used For?

    Ice is so versatile, it’s curious that most hotels don’t have in-room ice makers to keep the guests happy. We’ve heard of a lot of strange and not-so-strange uses for ice in hotels from managers. Here’s a sampling of what we’ve heard.

    Guests Can Keep Coolers Cold

    Hotels that see frequent travelers sometimes carry coolers. While some guests may see it as an imposition, we’ve heard of hotel ice machines being drained of ice to restock coolers.

    Guests Adding a Boost to AC

    Sometimes a guests gets an AC unit that won’t blow cold, but will blog a fan. A traveler trick is to fill up the ice bucket, wrap the ice in a towel, and set it over the fan exhaust. We don’t really recommend this, since dripping water could damage the unit further, but it will cool a room if you’ve got enough ice stacked in front.

    Sports Oriented Guests Can Chill Injuries

    As you know, ice can keep the swelling down for any injuries that one has sustained. A sprained ankle from a slip at the pool or a trip in the fitness room could lead a guest to hobble over to the ice machine for some first aid.

    Of course, the old standby for ice is to cool down a glass of whatever beverage the guest wants. No matter what the use for the ice is, guests are glad for ice. So why not consider putting an in-room dispenser to make it that much easier for them? 

  5. In-Room Hotel Ice Machines Make Perfect Perk for Guests

    A high-end perk for some hotels is to give each room a small and quiet ice machine. A broken or noisy ice machine can be a hotel worker’s worst nightmare. Consider these two reviews from TripAdvisor from real customers who had problems with an ice machine.

    “Our biggest disappointment was the ice maker across the hall. It was used several times after midnight and later around 3:00AM it decided to make ice with no one around.”

    “Here's something everyone who has the misfortune of staying in this hotel should do just for their amusement: ask them about their ice machine and see how many different answers you get.

    Here are all the ones I've gotten from the different people who have manned the front desk:
    - It's being fixed
    - It will be fixed tonight
    - You will have ice tomorrow
    - There is no ice
    - You can get ice from a local restaurant”

    One of the most common complaints at hotels are ice machines going off in the wee hours of the morning. As a hotel manager, one of your top priorities should be to make sure that the customers are happy with the service.  No customers, no service, right?

    Plus, an in-room hotel ice machine can easily justify a price increase. A small countertop ice machine that makes pearl ice is a huge benefit for guests who don’t want to stumble around the halls looking for the big ice machine stuck at the end of the hall.

    Speaking of wandering around the halls, if all the rooms have a countertop ice machine then there’s fewer people wandering around. This can increase security in the hotel, since there will be fewer rooms left unoccupied with guest valuables. Consider how long it takes to walk from the furthest room from the ice machine and back.

    Another benefit is the reduction of illness. Most cold germs survive outside the body in water and don’t mind the cold. It takes just one sick person handling an ice bucket to infect other guests and workers in the hotel.

    While there is an initial investment in buying countertop hotel ice makers for your rooms, there are great benefits. Improved customer experience, increased security, and less chance of illness are just a few. Try installing a few of these machines into your suites and see how your customers react. We think you’ll like the response. 

  6. Choosing a Church Ice Machine (Part V - Wrap Up)

    This week has been devoted to choosing the perfect ice machine for your church and church functions.  Finding the right one requires that you answer several questions while you’re doing your research, including how much does it cost, how easy is it to use, and how efficient do I want it to be.  I wanted to bring it all together for this post and give a little bit of insight as to where we’re going for next week.

    In case you missed it, here are the links for the posts this week.

    Choosing a Church Ice Machine Part I

    Choosing a Church Ice Machine Part II

    Choosing a Church Ice Machine Part III

    Choosing a Church Ice Machine Part IV

    What you’ll find as you search for your church ice machine is that there are plenty of models out there from which to choose.  You’ll have options like whether you want more of a hotel ice machine or an undercounter ice machine, whether you want air-cooled or water-cooled, and how much ice capacity you’d like to have.  

    You’ll find that after you select the perfect ice machine for your church, you’ll not have to worry much about issues for a while, as long as the machine itself is well maintained and cleaned on a regular basis.  We’ve sold a lot of ice machines to churches and would love to answer any questions that you might have. Contact our help line if you are having ice machine trouble, or read our blog. We may have the answer to your question already.

  7. Choosing a Church Ice Machine (Part IV)

    This week, we’ve been talking about the type of ice machine that you should get for your church.  We’ve put together a list of questions and considerations that you should make, spreading them out through the entirety of the week.  Today, we’re going to talk about ease of use.

    Let’s get this right, there are two things that people who go to church love to do: be in fellowship and celebrate.  Spaghetti dinners, fish fries, ice cream socials – you can find them all at church along with prayer and worship. Depending on the size of the church, you can find a fully stocked kitchen as well with an ice machine.

    Since many of the functions within a church are run by the volunteers, you’re going to find lots of people back in the back with the ice machine.  And, while you don’t need everyone in the congregation to know about the inner workings of the ice machine, it works out easier if there’s something for them to read if the ice machine is on the fritz. So, here’s the most important question:

    How Easy Is Your Church Ice Maker to Use?

    Getting ice from the machine is easy enough, but do your volunteers know when it needs to be cleaned or serviced? This is another part of ease of use. Simple, easy to read displays, indicator lights, and automatic cleanings might be what you want when it comes to your church ice machine. The more advanced ice machines are all about simplicity and clear diagnostics.

    We hope that your quest for the perfect ice machine is going well.  Tomorrow, we’ll have a recap of this week, as well as talk a little about what’s coming for next week. 

  8. Searching for a Church Ice Machine? (Part III)

    Over the past two days, we’ve been talking about finding the perfect church ice machine.  In several ways, it comes down to cost and the answer to the question, ‘does this do what I need it to do?’ Here is another consideration that you should make when you are searching for that church ice machine.

    Efficiency.

    Here’s where a lot of folks just roll their eyes and say, “I don’t really care about saving the planet, I want an ice machine that works.”  We’ve seen it happen, though cannot really fathom the reasons why.  Your church ice machine’s efficiency will affect how much you pay in power and water bills to support it.

    One of the best suggestions that we can make for your church ice machine is to select an ENERGY STAR Certified ice machine.  These machines have been certified by the EPA for their water and their energy efficiency.  The ENERGY STAR Certification process requires that the specific appliance rises to a set of specific standards.

    As far as cost savings to you, the newer ENERGY STAR Certified machines can save hundreds of dollars a year over the old, more inefficient appliances.  The major brands, like Hoshizaki, Ice-O-Matic, Scotsman, and Manitowoc have divisions devoted to making their machines work more efficiently for church and non-church uses.

    Some ENERGY STAR Certified models include:

    Scotsman CU3030MA-1 Air-Cooled 250 lb Medium Cube Undercounter Ice Machine

    Ice-O-Matic ICEU150A Air-Cooled 185 lb Full Cube Undercounter Ice Machine

    Manitowoc Neo UD-0140A Air-Cooled 129 lb Full Dice Cube Undercounter Ice Machine

    There’s one last thing about ice machines that we’re going to be discussing tomorrow.  We hope that you tune in, and make sure to ask any questions in the comments. 

  9. Searching for a Church Ice Machine (Part II)

    We talked a little bit yesterday about choosing the best ice machine for your church functions. We’ve talked about space, volume, and cost in the search for a new church ice maker, and now we’re going to take a second to look at functionality.

    Are you going to be connecting this ice machine to a soda machine or are you planning on having it stand alone?  Answering this question will determine whether you should get a combo ice machine or just the ice machine head.

    Both types work quite well, with each of the models having a wide array of features.  The combo ice machines tend to be a little bit more user friendly, as they’re more designed for the hotel-goer and the ‘outsider’ rather than the industry pro.

    A combo ice machine is an ice machine which has both the ice making head and a storage bin in one unit.  These are usually tall machines where you open up the middle and scoop out the ice from the inside. If you buy just the head, then you’ve got to purchase the bin separately.  This might be necessary if you’re filling the ice into a separate soda machine.

    We’re going to continue the discussion about ice machines tomorrow and we look forward to answering any questions that you have in the comments. 

  10. Searching for a Church Ice Machine? (Part I)

    Yes, even churches need ice for functions. Ice machines for churches are much like ice machines for clubhouses and meeting halls. They need to be small enough to be unobtrusive, quiet, yet still provide enough ice for the needs of the congregation. That makes it absolutely necessary to pick wisely.

    Considerations for church ice machines

    Space

    Even though you might be in a gargantuan megachurch, you still might be running short on space.  You might want to choose something that’s got slim features, something that will easily fit into the corner and be present for both the parishioners and those who are running the events.

    Some models to consider:

    Scotsman CU2026MA – It’s only two feet wide, has a long power cord, and is user-friendly with indicator lights and front-located air intake and exhaust.

    Manitowoc NEO UY-0310A – Keeps out a lot of the grease and dirt with a removable air filter. The machine itself is Energy Star certified, fairy economical with the usage of power and water.  It’s got a timer that produces ice when you want it, so it can remain quiet for most of the week.

    How Much Ice Do You Need?

    When selecting your ice machine, it’s necessary to be aware of how large your gatherings are.  If you’ve got only fifty people who come to any one event, you probably don’t want to have an ice machine that produces 1100 pounds over the course of the night. 

    The output of ice machines is measured in pounds.  We’re going to make the assumption that any of the church functions that you have are somewhere between a restaurant and a hotel.  Let’s say that it’s 2.5 pounds per person. So, calculate the amount of ice you need by multiplying the number of people at the event by 2.5. 

    You’re going to probably have some left over, which gives folks a chance to take some of the ice home.  This makes it perfect for consecutive events.

    Cost

    We’d love to believe that all faith organizations have plenty of money to do the great works that they want to do.  In reality, working expenses can sometimes be a factor when it comes to finding the best church ice machine for your needs.

    A good ice machine starts around $1500 and goes up from there, depending on the size, the power, and the capacity that it has. 

    Here are some ice machines for churches based on price:

    Scotsman CU0415MA-1 Air-Cooled 58lb Medium Cube Undercounter Ice Machine - $1489

    Ice-O-Matic ICEU150FA Air-Cooled 185 lb Full Cube Undercounter Ice Machine - $1599

    With the right research, you can find the ice machine that works the best for your church.  Take a few moments to look at the choices out there, talk with your friends and HVAC specialists, and you should be able to find something that totally suits your needs. 

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