Many times, maintenance of a commercial ice machine in a restaurant or other business is overlooked for more pressing tasks. There are a few simple procedures that can keep a commercial ice machine functioning for much longer than when left alone.
Replace water filters every six months.
Water filters are extremely important to extending the life of your machine and should be replaced every six months. A water filter performs three tasks:
- Removes sediment from the water, keeping ice clean and clear in appearance
- Inhibits scale, which can build up in the machine over time and drastically reduce ice production
- Removes odor and bad taste, keeping customers happy
Although the filter may not appear to be blocked with sediment after six months, the scale inhibitor and carbon elements (which prevent odor and bad taste) are usually depleted and no longer effective.
Since using a water filter on an ice machine is so vital, some ice supplier manufacturers, like Supera, actually include a free filter with your ice machine purchase. Others, such as ICE-O-Matic, offer extended warranties at no extra charge when customers replace the filter in their ice machines every six months.
Invest in antimicrobial protection.
Slime and mold growth are another concern with regards to commercial ice machines. Many commercial ice machines have antimicrobial protection built-in to the plastic used in the food-zone areas of ice production and are guaranteed to inhibit the growth of slime and mold for the life of the machine.
Sanitize your machine regularly.
By regularly changing the water filter and using antimicrobial protection, you are on the right path to keeping your ice machine in good working condition for longer, but there is still no substitute for regular cleaning.
Your ice machine should be emptied and thoroughly sanitized every six months. Clean the machine using a nickel-safe scale remover and an ice machine sanitizer. Some companies, such as Manitowoc, sell automatic cleaning systems that can be set to sanitize your ice maker every two, four or twelve weeks.
Additionally, condenser fins or air filters should be cleaned or replaced every six months. Failure to keep the condenser free from lint and grease build-up will decrease the machine’s ability to breathe and operate at peak capacity, thus reducing the ice production.
By taking the time every six months to clean your machine and change filters and antimicrobial devices, you can greatly increase the life of your machine and drastically decrease the cost of owning an ice machine over time.