If your ice machine consistently looks like this, it may be time to find a new one for your business.
If you own an ice machine, chances are you’ve asked this question at one point or another. Unfortunately, there is no simple, clear cut explanation for why your ice machine is not making ice. There are many factors that play a part in the ice making process, and there are a lot of things that can go wrong with your ice machine in its lifetime. Hopefully, with this guide, you will be able to identify the problem or problems facing your ice machine and you will be able to get your unit back to doing what it is supposed to do – making ice for you and your establishment. We separated these issues into two categories: External Factors and Human Errors. Some are easy to fix while some require additional time or resources, but with this list, you should be able to locate the problem and fix it accordingly.
Temperature / Weather
Temperature increases can kill your ice machine's production
This issue is faced by those who allow their ice machine to operate in a commercial kitchen or any other high temperature areas of your establishment. When forced to operate under these conditions, your ice machine may struggle greatly. In fact, most ice machines are rated by their performance in 90 degree heat, and some can lose up to 30% of their ice production when making ice in elevated temperatures. During my years of bartending, (although our ice machine made use of a remote air cooled condenser) we would always notice a dip in ice production when it became excessively hot (95+ degrees over a few days). When the air temperature is too high, water temperatures often increase, and your ice machine requires more time to bring the water to acceptable levels for ice making. This can slow ice making or bring it to what seems like a standstill. For this reason, it helps to purchase an ice machine that makes more ice than you will require on a daily basis.
Almost every air cooled ice machine head and undercounter ice machine requires six inches of clearance for optimum ice making. Manitowoc ice machines advise more, with eight inches as the recommended value. If your ice machine does not have the proper amount of room to operate, it will not be able to take in air to keep the condenser cool. If the condenser is not cool, your ice machine’s ice making power will suffer. Dust and dirt gathered on your condenser coils can also affect ice machine performance, but we will address this later at a greater length. You should always adhere to the minimum clearance recommended by the ice machine manufacturer to get the most out of your ice machine.
Ice / Minerals on Evaporator Plate
Sometimes, mineral deposits will affect the way ice is harvested after being created on the evaporator plate. Ice may continue to grow and thicken as your evaporator plate cannot warm efficiently enough to drop your ice into the bin. Generally, lower quality water can leave behind mineral or scale deposits, and those can build up on your evaporator plate. If these issues are left unattended, your ice machine may continue to produce ice, but it will often be thin, watery, and of low quality. In most cases, a thorough cleaning will solve these problems. If you haven’t already, you should consider adding a water filter to your ice machine, which will greatly reduce (if not completely eliminate) the amount of sediment and minerals in the water used for ice making. Your evaporator plate is one of the most important pieces of your ice machine, so it should be cared for accordingly.
As water travels from the clouds, through the soil, and eventually into your ice machine, it may pick up small, microscopic minerals along the way. When this water runs through your ice machine, these mineral deposits can be left along way, and can build up over time. In doing so, your ice machine will create ice less efficiently. Scale buildup is one of the most common causes of machine malfunction. Everpure provides more information on scale buildup, and details how to identify which minerals are most present in your water. Scale buildup can be minimized and prevented with a proper water filter, and it can be removed with any of the scale removal products found at Ice Machines Plus as well.
The dust on this condenser is inhibiting airflow to the ice machine
The condenser coils can be found behind the vents on the sides or top of your ice machine (air cooled models). Through these vents, warm air is filtered out and away from your ice machine to allow it to make ice with greater ease and to keep the unit cool. These coils however, can collect dust, dirt, and grease which can inhibit the transfer of heat away from the ice machine. In the case of dust and dirt, you can easily wipe them away with a moist towel with little effort. If it is grease buildup, a deeper clean may be warranted, usually one that makes use of a cleaning solution or chemical if the situation is exceptionally bad.
Obviously, water is required to make ice. So, if your ice machine is not making ice, you may need to check that your water supply is adequately connected and providing water to your ice machine. If the water is warmer, it may take longer for your ice machine to create ice. The optimal temperature for water used in your ice machine is 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ice Machine Programming or Settings are Off
While some of your problems can be chalked up to a faulty unit or other external problems, human error may also play a role in your ice machine’s performance. Some ice machines (notably Scotsman’s and Manitowoc’s) can be programmed to make ice on a schedule or to not make ice when it is not required. If your ice machine was set to rest or sleep for a certain amount of time, it is quite possible that someone forgot or neglected to adjust the settings back to ‘ice making’ mode. These settings can be adjusted rather simply however and your ice machine should get back to making ice in little time.
Ice Machine Not Plugged In
Well, this one is a head slapper. You checked all of the previous problems we listed and then you saw the plug resting on the ground behind the ice machine, or that the ice machine was simply turned off! Whether someone tripped over the cord and it was pulled from its socket or your ice machine was unplugged or turned off by someone with malicious intent is for you to find out, but for now, plug it back in and get back to making the ice that your customers need!
Hopefully, upon finishing this list, you will have found the cause of and solution to your problem and your ice machine is once again making ice. If the problem was internal, you may want to consider a water filter from our water filter store, or any of our scale reducing products. If your ice machine is still not making ice, you may have to search locally for a repair person, which may cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. In these cases, it is best to assess your options and consider the cost of repairs versus the cost of a new ice machine. In that latter case, we will be able to provide you with the ice machine that best suits your business, so do not hesitate to give us a call!
Water filtration is essential for making the best ice possible, whether you’re making ice at home or in your commercial restaurant. Many restaurant owners use sophisticated water filters in order to prevent contamination and bad taste finding its way to the drinks that they offer.
As a restaurant owner, you or your plumber can easily set up an Everpure water filter on the water line. What this will do is keep out most of the solids and some of the bacteria that may get into the drinks. Add to that the fact that certain combo ice machines already have antimicrobial measures in the bin, and you’ve got an excellent defense against bacterial contamination.
Make sure that when you’re choosing a water filter for your commercial ice machine that it’s the right size for the volume that you are expecting. If it isn’t, think about it like trying to stop a waterfall with a ceiling tile: it will work for a moment, but then it will quickly become overwhelmed. The little expense can lead to a lot of good.
When you first get a commercial ice machine, think about installing the filters on it right off. That way, you don’t have to think about whether you’re getting all of the protection that you need.
For more information about how to remove the odor from tap water, see our article posted on Water Tech Online.
We’ve been talking a bit about water filtration, contaminated ice machines, and other items this week. We’ve seen several reports of places around the country who are experiencing difficulties with their water lines, and broken pipes. In order to prevent contamination, it’s sometimes necessary to flush your plumbing system to get the potentially contaminated water out – whether you’re in a restaurant or at home.
The easiest way to start flushing these is to turn them on full blast for at least fifteen minutes. There are both hot water and cold water lines. Run the hot water line first, emptying the hot water tank of the old water. Then, you want to tackle the cold water line. This includes all fixtures, including the kitchen and bathroom.
After the hot water has run out, then it’s time for the cold water. Since there has already been a bit of a cleansing, you don’t have to run it for as long, maybe five to ten minutes. But, when you’re flushing the system, it’s good not to forget the ice machines in the process. You can check out your owner’s manual for instructions on how to flush the water lines of your ice machines.
While you’re at it, we’d also suggest that you take the time to clean and sanitize the ice machine bin – that cleaning will go a long way.
Certain types of filters are considered high flow. Unlike a traditional filter system, these systems need extra sanitizing. That’s what the Everpure High Flow System Sanitizing Kit is for.
This system should be used every time you change out your Everpure filter. As filters age, more contaminants slip through the filters. This can lead to problems in your lines, filter housings, and other filter components. The kit has the parts and instructions to sanitize these parts to make sure your water is in tip-top taste and has no biological contamination.
High flow filters usually have a reserve tank called a surge tank that holds extra filtered water for when demand is high. This component is prone to contamination if a filter doesn’t get changed in time. It’s an ideal breeding ground for bacteria since it is a tank of mostly-standing water. The kit has special components to sanitize surge tanks.
If you use Everpure filters, don’t forget to pick up a sanitization kit. It’s an extra layer of protection that we recommend to all of our customers. Your filtration system owner’s manual will tell you whether you need this kit and how often you’ll need to sanitize the system.
At Ice Machines Plus, we sell a wide variety of filters for your ice machine. Many of the filters can also be used for your sink.
Your drink dispenser may have a filter on it, but it may not be trustworthy to a picky customer. Often the water line runs through the lemonade line so a bit of lemonade syrup gets mixed in with the water. You may have a good filter in the back, but the customer might be dubious about getting water from the back. What can be done? Install a filtered water faucet for your front sink.
These faucets are meant to connect with water filters. Just flip the tab up and you’ll have all the filtered water your health-conscious customers crave. Filtered water tastes far better than tap water and is also healthier for you. Why settle for inferior tap water if you don’t have to?
Consider picking up a water filter faucet today for your sinks. Your employees will appreciate good filtration on their water too.
How do you know if you need to test for water hardness? If you’re using an ice machine, you should! Water hardness causes scale buildup in your ice machine. Scale buildup leads to corrosion, malformed ice, water clogs, and in severe cases will make your machine break down. The key to stopping scale buildup is to know you have hard water and to install the proper filter to remove it from your water supply before it hits your machine.
At Ice Machines Plus, we have many different types of scale filtration. To know how much filter you need for your line, we suggest using the Claris water testing kit. This simple kit will tell you how hard your water is. With that information, you can speak with our team members to figure out which filtration system will work best with your water and with your machine.
You don’t want to have too little protection or too much protection. Either will cost your company money. Get the right filter for your needs by getting your water tested. The Claris test kit is all you need to find out your water hardness. For more information about our water filtration options, check out our water filters page at this link.
Have you ever taken a drink out of a mountain lake or stream? Nowadays, it’s not the safest thing to do, but hikers are dipping their canteens and water pouches into streams all the time. One of problems they have to contend with besides microbes is sediment. Invisible bits of sediment can make water very gritty and unpleasant to drink.
Sediment can also end up in tap water depending on how sandy your local area is. Technically, scale compounds could be also considered a form of sediment, but a scale stick alone may not be enough to filter out larger particles. That’s why Everpure also sells sediment filter wraps for their scale sticks.
These filter wraps can screen out larger particles that could clog or corrode your ice machine. They are transparent so you can see how much sediment has been filtered out. This makes it easy to know when they need to be replaced. If you think you need a sediment filter, you’ll need to purchase a scale stick as well to use this item. Scale sticks provide scale protection and corrosion protection to your ice machine.
For more information about Everpure’s sediment filters and what they can do, visit our page on them at this link.
Yesterday we talked about the evils of scale buildup in an ice machine and what makes water hard. Scale buildup is a problem in ice machines, but there are other pieces of kitchen equipment where it can get much worse. How? Heat.
Heating water causes mineral ions in hard water to precipitate faster. This makes scale build up quicker and lead to breakdown. One machine that is notoriously sensitive to scale is the espresso machine. Espresso machines use steam all day long to make those perfect cups of coffee. If the water in the area is too hard, then it will also make perfect limescale deposits in the machine.
Espresso machines need special filters to get rid of as much scale as possible. The best solution is to get a water softening filter that has been specifically made for espresso machines. These special filters will ensure that there is enough water flow to the machine for continuous operation while also removing as many mineral ions from the water as possible.
It is essential that your filters are regularly maintained and changed to prevent scale buildup. Too much scale will break your espresso machine, or any other device that requires water to run. Follow the instructions in your owner’s manual on how to remove scale deposits if they do build up and keep those filters changed!
Most of the United States has to deal with hard water. Hard water is water that has mineral deposits dissolved in it. These deposits cause certain changes to the water that aren’t good for ice machines and other industrial processes.
The primary compounds that harden water are calcium compounds and magnesium compounds. When these compounds enter water they split into various ions. These ions are what cause hard water’s negative effects. For instance, excessively hard water will make soap less effective by preventing lather and creating soap scum.
For ice machines, the trouble is scale production. These ions can react to the metals in plumbing and other internal components to create tiny deposits of minerals. These deposits are called scale. Over time, these deposits become thick. This blocks water flow and causes damage to internal components. Scale builds up faster on warmer surfaces.
To keep scale from building up, a water softener can be installed on your intake line. These use chemicals to capture the troublesome ions before they reach your machine. However, almost all machines will need to be descaled at some point. Checking for scale buildup during cleanings is a good practice, especially if you live in an area where the water is harder than most. Your owner’s manual will show you the procedures and tools you’ll need to descale your machine.
This process shouldn’t be ignored. Too much scale can damage your machine to the point that a service technician must be called. Test your water for hardness and watch for scale buildup. You’ll save a lot of money in the long run.
Water filtration systems are responsible for taking out the mineral deposits and filter out impurities. Having pure water in the kitchen heightens the flavor of the food and also lowers the corrosion on the parts.
For instance, one machine that bakeries use often is a steamer oven. By introducing steam at the right time in the baking process, loaves puff faster and get a good crust. But if those steam vents start to become blocked, the oven won’t get steam and the loaves could burn. It could also create a dangerous situation if the relief valve is also clogged.
What could clog these vents? Mineral deposits in your water, that’s what! If you live in an area with hard water, mineral deposits will start to build up on the surfaces anywhere they can get a foothold. This is called scaling. Over time, the scale will get large enough to slow the flow of water and damage whatever device is using the water. Ice machines also have this problem.
That’s why good scale filtration and water purification are so necessary in your kitchen. Be sure to change your filters regularly and that your filters are strong enough to handle your water supply. You don’t want to use sub-standard water in your food! We can help you find a water filter at our water filtration store.