Three Basic Steps to Maintain Ice Machines
Like everything else on your menu, ice will be ingested by your customers. Surely the ice is of high quality and the ice machine is kept sanitary and clean, right? Unfortunately, the sanitation and water filter replacement done as a part of ice machine preventative maintenance is commonly “out of sight, out of mind.”
There are three basic steps to maintaining your commercial ice machine, which has three basic outcomes on your equipment – stay cleaner, run better and last longer.
- Replace Water Filters
Both the evaporator where the ice is formed and the bin where the ice is stored dictate the quality and efficiency of how well an ice machine performs. They are prone to scale, corrosion, and microbial growth. Neglecting to clean and sanitize an ice machine can result in poor quality, cloudy ice. This leads to decreased ice production and more frequent equipment downtime.
Water Quality and Environment Impacts
Water conditions and equipment location in your kitchen ultimately determine how often you have to clean and sanitize your machines. Twice a year is a minimum. In foodservice kitchens where an ice machine is left to share a room with empty beer bottles, breading stations or dough machines, it can all but ensure mold and microbial growth. Additionally, water with 15-20 grains of hardness can increase the likelihood of scale buildup on evaporators. This can greatly decrease ice production and water efficiency.
Know Your Commercial Ice Machine
There are important reasons to follow the manufacturers’ guidelines for cleaning, sanitizing and descaling machines. Some machines use nickel-plated evaporators, which can be more susceptible to damage from stronger cleaning solutions than stainless steel or copper-tin evaporators. Some machines use a mechanical float shut-off valve, which can be more likely to leak due to scale buildup on the seals. Therefore, it will be important to incorporate a swift check of this valve when performing a routine cleaning.
While it is easy to discuss how simple it is to ensure your foodservice operation has a clean and efficient ice machine, we also know it’s always easier said than done. We offer blogs to keep you informed, and even a filter management program (FilterTrak) that helps manage filter replacement and service.
Here is another great resource from Foodservice Equipment Reports