Restaurant equipment is a major investment, one in which you should investigate all potential options. One option a lot of restaurateurs consider, especially new restaurant owners, is buying used equipment. You can save a lot of money this way. However, when buying a used commercial ice machine, you may just be buying someone else’s problems and be saddled with expensive repairs or a unit that just doesn’t operate as efficiently as a new machine.
If you’re going to buy a used commercial ice maker, there are a few things to keep in mind so you make purchase the best unit possible.
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- Thoroughly inspect the unit. This requires you to actually see the unit firsthand, as opposed to buying one online. Pictures of a used ice machine can only show so much. Specifically look for signs of corrosion on the stainless steel or excessive wear and tear on the other components. Also look at the condenser coils to make sure they are not bent or corroded themselves.
- Make sure the capacity suits your needs. Since you are at the mercy of whatever the used equipment dealer has in stock, be sure to know how much ice your establishment needs before you go shopping, and find an ice machine that will meet those requirements. >> Learn More about Choosing the Right Size Commercial Ice Machine
- Call the manufacturer with any questions. After you’re done inspecting the unit, call the manufacturer if you have any questions or doubts. The salesperson’s job is to sell you the machine and may try to explain away any of your doubts, but the manufacturer should be able to offer suggestions about what (if anything) may be wrong and how costly potential repairs will be.
- Routine maintenance. Whether you buy a used or new commercial ice machine, following a routine maintenance schedule is the best way to assure years of trouble-free service.
Is it Safe to Buy a Used Commercial Ice Machine?
No. Commercial ice machines are not a safe item to buy used. There are too many things that can go wrong, like the compressor, evaporator or condenser failing. Each of these components can cost upwards of $1,000 to replace, each. Sure, the same components can fail in new machines, too, but at least then you have the benefit of the warranty if it happens within the first five to seven years, which is typically how long warranties last for new commercial ice machines.
Benefits of Buying a New Commercial Ice Machine
Aside from the warranty, there are several other reasons why it is better to buy a new commercial ice machine.
- They come with the newest technology. Commercial ice machine manufacturers are constantly developing new technologies to make freezing water more efficient. There are also technologies that can automate some or all of the cleaning process or allow for easy diagnostics. For example, the Prodigy Line from Scotsman has a built-in computer that tells the user what is wrong when something is malfunctioning.
- They have built-in antimicrobial protection. Older commercial ice machines required the use of chemical packets or pouches to be placed in the interior to fight bacteria and mold growth. All new commercial ice machines have antimicrobial protection built directly into all of the components that contact water.
- You can save money on utility costs. Another thing technology does for a new commercial ice machine is make it more energy efficient. An energy-efficient commercial ice machine can save around $700 a year in energy bills. Plus, several municipalities offer mail-in rebates ($50 – $600 depending on the area) for buying Energy Star qualified ice machines.[i]