Don’t Waste Money On Your Commercial Ice Maker

The manager doesn’t think the commercial ice maker is working the way he thinks it should. He just started paying attention to it and is noticing all kinds of new things.

Hopefully the technician will check it out and write you a bill for the minimum he can. He probably also knows things will go smoother if he fixes something. No one gets blamed or feels stupid.

Understanding the sequence of operations is the first step to fixing anything. If you don’t know what is supposed to be happening, it is hard to figure out what is not happening.

You have already learned the typical sequence of operations of an commercial ice maker. Let’s review it. I’ll add a little more detail to it.

1) The machine is turned on. It may go into harvest to make sure there is no ice on the evaporator.

2) Purge/ Fill The dump valve opens and the old water is pumped out. The water inlet valve opens and lets water come in. When a sensor is activated or a predetermined amount of time has past the valve closes.

3) Freeze The evaporator starts getting cold. Then the water pump starts running water over it. The ice starts forming. It may crack right before harvest.

4)Harvest When the ice reaches the proper size, a refrigerant valve opens and the evaporator starts warming. The ice starts to fall off, into the bin.

5)Purge The old water is pumped out of the reservoir.

6)Bin Full If the bin is full, a sensor signals the machine to shut down.

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Common Ways Money Can Be Wasted On a Commercial Ice Maker

Now let’s look at actual false service calls I have been on. I will give you one complaint for each step in the sequence. In every case the machine was operating normally.

1) The machine is turned on. “Every time I turn it on, it gets hot”

2) Purge/ Fill”This thing is leaking a lot of water.”

3) Freeze “Every once in a while I hear plastic breaking inside the machine.”

4)Harvest “Sometimes when I go by it, I hear a leak. It needs Freon.”

5)Purge ”This thing is leaking a lot of water.”

In all of these cases nothing was wrong. There was no reduction in ice production. The machines had not shut themselves off. The manager just didn’t understand the machine. The owner had to pay for that lack of understanding.

Electronic Safeties

Hoshizaki, Scotsman and Manitowoc commercial ice makers all have electronic controls and safeties. If something is wrong, the machine shuts down. The purpose of this is to prevent compressor damage before you notice the ice is low.

These electronic boards give error codes too. The description of the codes should be on the inside of the front cover of the machine. They are also in the manual that came with the machine. The codes give you an idea of what caused the shut down.

You need to learn how to reset the machine. If all else fails you can unplug it and plug it in again.

Do you remember the first thing you do when the commercial ice maker goes down? We have talked about most of this. You should do 3 things.

1) Clean the water circuit.

2) Clean the condenser if needed.

3) Make sure water and electricity is getting to the machine.

Then start it up again. If the machine shuts itself down again, it is time to call a technician. You can be sure there is a real problem or at least an adjustment you don’t know how to do.

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