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.
Does slightly imperfect sound perfect to you?
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.
- 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.
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.
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]
[i] “Commercial Food Service Equipment Incentive Finder,” ENERGY STAR, accessed May 16, 2011, http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=CFSrebate.CFSrebate_locator_submit.