Ice Machine Repair
Ice machines have a number of things which can go wrong with them. Most of the problems revolve around the water that has to flow through the machine to make it work. When water doesn’t flow correctly, or when deposits in water build up on parts, problems happens.
Here are some of the common problems that happen with ice machines.
Water leaking into the machine – This sometimes happen when there’s a leaky valve. When it does happen, you will get large cubes that block up the system. Check for loose connections and bad clips.
The room is too warm – When you’re using an air-cooled machine, you’re dependent upon the ambient temperature in the room to produce ice at optimum levels. The higher the temperature of the room, the more the machine has to work and the less ice that you’ll get. If it is too warm for a long period, you could see more frequent breakdowns.
The water temperature is too high – Sometimes, the temperature of the water is too high. Unfortunately, this sometimes makes the ice machine slow down or even shut off entirely. This shouldn’t be a problem with your system now, but a new system might run into this.
Low water flow – If you’ve got low flow of water, you will get uneven or small cubes. There might be a stoppage in the line or something else that’s blocking the system. Check the water flow from your plumbing and remove any blockages from the hose or from your filter.
There are many more things which can go wrong with your ice machine. Here are some more tips and ideas to help you troubleshoot your ice machine.
We recently went to a pizza restaurant that made me sad. It’s been in business for a few months and we were curious about it. That spot had seen a number of restaurants come and go in that location and we thought they must have been doing something right.
Unfortunately, the quality was so poor we’re not even going to return in another couple of months just to see if it’s gotten any better, assuming it’s still in business. There were a number of things wrong, but the real kicker was the ice machine. It looked like it had seen better days. It was an undercounter Scotsman ice maker. We have no problem with this brand, but this particular ice machine had seen better days.
There was a bit of water on the floor around it, like they had gotten ice out and some of it had spilled. That’s a contamination hazard, and a slip and fall hazard too. The other thing was that this undercounter Scotsman ice machine had almost no ice in it, meaning that there was a malfunction or that the machine had been turned off at some point earlier in the day.
I only got a few ice cubes for my drink which were quickly melted with tepid tea. This stuff was bad. I didn’t receive any ice with the subsequent refills, like the people there had just given up on providing reasonable customer service. When you’re pairing it with warm, weak tea then something’s got to give.
I’m not talking about this restaurant that we went to because I wanted to vent about bad service and a bad ice machine. I’m talking about this restaurant because it demonstrates that little things, even ice machines, can make an impact on the customer experience.
There are people who go to particular restaurants because of the ice. There are people who patronize certain gas stations because of the ice. A Scotsman ice maker might make the difference between someone ranting and someone raving, if it is taken care of properly.
Ice machines are often taken for granted, right up until they go on the blink. No ice can mean drinks aren’t served. No ice can also mean that a hospital patient might not get that soothing relief for their tonsillectomy. Ice machines need to be working at all times and any down time has to be minimized. Waiting for a repair person to come out can be excruciating. Companies like Manitowoc Ice know this and have come up with solutions to lower the down time and keep the ice flowing.
Commercial Ice Machines get an Upgrade
You have most likely seen the error messages on printers when they’ve run out of paper or are low on toner. Ice machines can be a lot more complicated than printers, so Manitowoc Ice has started installing diagnostic modules inside of their commercial ice machines.
These displays can do more than just tell you when ice is low in your commercial ice machine. The Manitowoc Ice Indigo mode can do things like:
Give diagnostic messages that not only tell techs what is wrong, but what parts are needed to quickly fix the machine.
Store service data and usage data to show trends over time.
Monitor energy and water consumption of your commercial ice machine.
With that usage data, it can generate the exact amount of ice you need, when you need it at peak times.
Have their service issues be remotely diagnosed, letting customers fix small problems with the Manitowoc Ice machine on site.
Some models even come with a built-in “safe mode” to allow ice production to continue until service can be restored, albeit at a lower rate.
Common Ice Machine Problems
Here are some issues you might run into with a commercial ice machine:
Low water flow – Could be a problem with the water supply or with the water filter. Will cause small or misshaped cubes, or freeze up the evaporator
Water leaking into the machine – Makes big cubes that the machine can’t handle.
Room is too hot – This is sometimes a problem in commercial kitchens. The Manitowoc ice machine has to work a lot harder to make the ice.
These diagnostic tools make the Manitowoc ice machines some of the best in the business. Minimized down time means more money in your pocket as well as in the pockets of your bartenders and servers.
Ice is the backbone of the foodservice industry. There is not a bar or restaurant in the United States that cannot go about their day to day operations without a properly working ice machine. Unfortunately at times, your ice machine may not want to cooperate, can shut down, or malfunction, leaving you and your customers without ice for an extended period of time. While this is never ideal, there is no need to panic! Keep a level head, and follow these instructions to get yourself out of this unexpected predicament. Temporarily losing your ice machine does not mean your business must suffer over the next few days.
Call an Ice Machine Technician
While we are in the business of selling ice machines, we unfortunately do not make house calls or perform repairs, so the first thing that you should do is call an approved ice machine technician. Some ice machine issues are no more serious than a dirty or dusty condenser. Ideally, the problem and the labor will be covered by warranty, and will not be too costly to repair. Either way, you will need a technician on the scene as fast as possible. Some ice machines like Manitowoc’s Indigo and Scotsman’s Prodigy units feature onboard computers and added technology which can provide you with the exact information required to solve your ice machine’s problems. This allows for repairs to be completed in a timely fashion, and eliminates any guesswork that would otherwise be involved. The operating data of Manitowoc’s Indigo ice machine is constantly stored and can be remotely monitored too, so any problems can be resolved quickly. To find an approved repair person, here are the technical support phone numbers of the major ice machine companies offered at Ice Machines Plus:
Scotsman- (800) 726-8762 Scotsman website
Ice-O-Matic- (800) 423-3367 Ice-O-Matic website
Manitowoc Ice- (920) 682-0161 Manitowoc website
Hoshizaki- 800-233-1940 Hoshizaki website
U-Line- 800-779-2547 U-Line website
Cornelius- 800-238-3600 Cornelius website
Follett - (877) 612-5068 Follett website
Plan on Being Without Ice
If you have an ice bin that holds 1,000 pounds of ice, and your business uses only 100-200 pounds per day, you have a bit of time to find someone to repair your ice machine or to buy a new ice machine. But, if your ice storage bin only holds 400 pounds of ice and your business uses 200 pounds per day, the situation is far more urgent. In this case, you have a few options to consider in order to acquire the ice you need:
-Shut down your business for a few days while you wait to have your ice machine to be repaired.
-Get to the nearest grocery or convenience store and buy enough ice to get you through each day.
-Ask around locally to see if a bar or restaurant nearby will let you borrow ice until your machine is back in operation.
While the last option may seem unrealistic, many businesses (even your competitors) will be apt to help you out with ice, especially if they’ve been in the same situation in the past. If not, you may be forced to buy bags of ice where you can find them. You can always resort to shutting down your business for a few days too, but this option often ends up costing the most money, since your income will remain stagnant.
Prepare for the Worst
More often than not, it will take a bit of time (from hours to days) for a service technician to arrive at your business and resolve the problem with your ice machine. It may take even longer to get your ice machine working again, especially if it requires a replacement part, or extensive repairs. If you know your ice machine will be down for a few days, make arrangements ahead of time. Be sure all managers, bartenders, and servers are knowledgeable of the situation, so they can inform your customers if required. Also, be aware of at least two places where ice can be purchased quickly, so if you end up running low on a busy night, ice can be replenished easily. Those same bars and restaurants that leant you ice on a Monday afternoon may be less inclined to offer you use of their ice machine on a Saturday night, when they are running at full capaity.
Call Ice Machines Plus for a New Ice Machine
Sometimes, not all that is broken can be fixed. If your ice machine has faithfully produced ice for your business for 10 years, it may be time to move on. Thankfully, Ice Machines Plus has a selection of the newest, most technologically advanced ice machines available to date- and these ice machines are covered with excellent, extended warranties. If your ice machine is over ten years old, you can find a new ice machine that is more energy efficient, and will operate at a lower cost than your antique unit. Some new ice machines from Manitowoc and Ice-O-Matic are available with a “Quick Ship” option, where we can get your ice machine to you within 48 hours. Read our press release regarding the Quick Ship Program for more details. We can also offer detailed advice to make sure you get the most out of your new ice machine over its lifetime, with proper care and maintenance. Our Ice Expert Center provides the latest in product reviews and ice machine information, so check it out to stay up to date with all the latest ice machine happenings.
We know that it can be tough to operate your business without ice. That’s why at Ice Machines Plus, we do everything in our power to get your new ice machine to you as quickly as possible. Without it, your business will inevitably suffer, and you will not be able to survive over a long period of time. Take the first few steps into consideration when your ice machine goes down, and if there’s no chance that your ice machine can be repaired, give our Ice Experts a call at Ice Machines Plus at (877) 900-4423 and we'll help outfit your business with a new ice machine right away.