Your Commercial Ice Machine – 5 Things That Will Save You Money
A commercial ice machine can cost a lot in repairs and maintenance. Several of the most common and most expensive problems can easily be avoided.
You will learn what these problems are and how you can avoid them and deal with them if they have already happened. Chances are you can do the first two things right now. If you have already made the third mistake, tips will be given to help keep you from spending more money.
Prevent Service Calls by Learning to Clean Your Commercial Ice Machine
The most common repair is actually not a repair. It is only preventive maintenance that hasn't been done. All ice machines will eventually stop working if the water circuit is not cleaned. You can either do it yourself or pay a refrigeration technician to do it on a service call.
The owners manual has cleaning instructions in it. There are usually cleaning instructions on the inside of the front cover. If the instructions say to use nickel safe cleaner, then you must use it. Using regular cleaner can ruin the machines evaporator.
The easiest way to learn how to clean it is to wait until you have a technician there for another service call. Have him show you how to clean it. You will be amazed at how easy it is. You will also save the money you would have spent on the service calls. A clean water circuit also allows the machine to make more ice.
Prevent One Of the Most Expensive Repairs by Cleaning the Condenser Coils
Ice machine maker owners hate to hear that their unit has a bad compressor. That's because it is a major expense. Often compressor failures could have been prevented.
Overheating is the number one cause of compressor failures. Overheating is commonly caused by dirty condenser coils. Dirty coils coils can be brushed or blown out with air or CO2. If they are greasy, they will need to be washed with condenser coil cleaner while the unit is unplugged.
These things are easy DIY projects. Once again you can have a technician show you how to do it when he is there for another service call. Keeping the condenser coils clean can prevent compressor failures, increase ice production and extend the life of the machine.
Avoid Having to Buy a Second Ice Maker by Getting the Right Size
commercial ice machines make less ice on hot days that on cooler days. They make more ice with cooler watter than warmer water. First determine the amount of ice you need. Then determine the hottest ambient temperatures and the warmest water temperatures the machine will have to operate with. Finally chose a machine that can make enough ice.
This will save you expense of buying additional ice during the summer months and perhaps a backup commercial ice machine. If your machine is undersized a larger bin can store the ice from low demand days so that it can be used on high demand days.
Cooling the water before it reaches the commercial ice machine and lowering the ambient temperature will increase ice cube production. Keeping the water circuit and condenser coils clean will help your machine make the maximum amount of ice possible.
Throw Away Your Extension Cords
Extension cords can cause voltage drops that damage motors and compressors by over-amping them. Ohms law shows that as volts decrease, amps increase. That means the motors are overworked and this can shorten their lives.
If the cord of any refrigeration equipment or commercial ice machine doesn't reach, the best idea is to have a longer one of the appropriate thickness installed. This protects the equipment and avoids a potential safety hazard.
If extension cords must be used, keep them as short as possible, do not coil them and make sure the gauge of the wire is more than enough for the load. Plugging an extension cord into another extension cord is often a violation of local fire codes.
The One Thing You Must Never Do
The evaporator plate is the part of the ice machine that gets cold and makes the ice. A dirty evaporator can cause the ice to stick to it and not drop off. It is less likely but also possible a refrigeration problem can cause this. Then another slab of ice is made on top of it.
If you let it melt off on it's own everything will be fine. Then you can clean the water cicruit and turn the machine back on. If it drops ice normally everything is fine and you saved the cost of a service call.
If the evaporator freezes up again, let it melt off without rushing it. Then call your refrigeration service company. The thing you must never do is try to force the ice off. Using a tool to do could nick the evaporator and ruin the ice machine.
Now you know five ways to save a lot money with your ice machine. Every article on this site provides equally useful tips on commercial ice machines or other refrigeration equipment. The navigation bar on the left will lead you to collections of articles on different topics.