As the summer heat continues, Ice-O-Matic is reminding operators about the importance of cleaning foodservice equipment, including ice machines, for increased performance and product life.
“This time of year we receive a higher volume of calls from customers experiencing slower production and they don’t know why,” said Ice-O-Matic’s Assistant Technical Service Manager Bob Bowyer. “The increased demand for ice combined with hotter temperatures is oftentimes the root of such efficiency problems.”
Some efficiency tips include:
Proper Installation: Hire a professional, factory-authorized service technician who understands installation requirements including maximizing airflow and reducing ambient temperatures in and around the machine.
Machine Placement: Keep the machine in a temperature-controlled environment with at least six inches of clearance on either side of the machine. If possible, keep away from other equipment that gives off heat.
Regular Maintenance: Create a maintenance schedule and perform routine cleaning. Maintenance should be performed at least once every six months, but the frequency of cleaning should be determined based on the look of the water system and condenser at time of maintenance. Dirty evaporators and condensers can decrease ice production making more frequent cleanings necessary.
ENERGY STAR: Consider investing in an ENERGY STAR-certified unit. The energy-efficient machines typically provide more water and energy savings than comparable, non-ENERGY STAR-rated units.
Rising heat may be a leading factor behind decreased ice machine performance, but failure to perform routine, preventive maintenance can also contribute to production inefficiencies.
“The frequency of cleaning and maintenance typically depends on usage, and application, but six months is the industry standard,” said Bowyer. “Dust, debris and scale build-up, especially during peak summer months, can all result in poor-quality ice where cubes are smaller, irregularly shaped, or not produced quickly enough.”
For complete cleaning and maintenance tips, a video tutorial can be found on Ice-O-Matic’s YouTube channel. Although routine, preventive maintenance is recommended, there is no substitute for regular inspections from a certified technician.