Ice Machine Cleaning – 2 Totally Different Ways To Do It
Ice machine cleaning prevents many service calls. Pushing the clean button doesn't clean the machine. In fact there are two totally different ways to clean the water circuit and they are not interchangeable. The right one needs to be used in the correct circumstances.
Descaling the Water Circuit
Water contains minerals that are left behind when the ice freezes. The minerals stick to the ice making plate that is called the evaporator. This makes it harder for the ice to be released during the harvest cycle when the evaporator warms up. The build up is called scale and causes the ice to stick. The ice slowly melts itself off the plate until it takes so long the machine shuts down on a safety alarm.
There are instructions for this type of cleaning inside the front panel of the machine. The correct gce machine cleaning cleaner is important so call the manufacturer if you are unsure what to use. The wrong one can ruin the machine. Most cleaners contain the acids that are in cola drinks and orange juice. The cleaner is run through the water circuit with the refrigeration system off. Then it is rinsed out with several more cycles.
Desliming the Water Circuit and Whole Machine
The ice machine cleaning process above with remove pink slime from the machine but it will quickly be back. The icky stuff is yeast and the cool, dark, moist environment inside the machine is ideal for it to grow in. The cleaner will not kill it.
Sanitizer that is approve for the machine will. A combination of bleach and water will work also. The water circuit can be cleaned using sanitizer as above. But all the slime must be cleaned from the machine. This includes in the bin and under the ice machine itself. If any is left, it will come back.
There is always yeast in the air. But it is a particularly bad problem where baking is done or beer is served or brewed. Some ice machines have silver ions added to the evaporator plate to help reduce yeast slime. You can attach a pouch of chemicals to the front cover to reduce it. You can also have a special light installed under the head in the bin to retard growth.
Descaling should usually be done first. Then the water circuit can be de-slimed. Finally everything else should be wiped down with a spray bottle of sanitizing solution. It is important to cover all of the area. Imagine the coverage you would get if you submerged the machine. That is what you want to get with the spray bottle and cloth.
Ice machine cleaner will not kill slime, but it will remove scale. Sanitizer will not remove scale but it will kill slime. The two methods of cleaning are not interchangeable. Now you know which one to use for which problem.
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