Preparing Your Ice Machine for the Summer Season
Published by Viktoria Brown on July 27, 2023
The British weather may be unpredictable, but that doesn’t dampen customers’ thirst for refreshing chilled drinks. As the summer season approaches, restaurants and bars gear up for increased customer traffic and higher revenue. However, it’s important to note that this time of the year can also bring about various issues for your ice machine.
Rising temperatures and heightened demand can put a strain on commercial ice machines, leading to potential problems. To avoid costly repairs or breakdowns during the peak summer months, taking certain steps to prepare your ice machine is crucial.
ICE4 supplies reliable and cost-effective ice machines to many businesses around the country. But, your ice machine should be cared for to ensure it remains efficient.
5 tips to keep your ice machine running.
Here are some simple tips to help you keep it in optimal condition.
Tip 1: Ensure a Cool Environment
All machinery requires specific environmental conditions to operate efficiently, and ice machines are no different. To achieve the manufacturer’s estimated ice production rate, the machine should be placed in an environment with temperatures between 7 and 32 degrees Celsius.
As temperatures rise, ice production decreases, so it is important to ensure that the ambient temperature around the ice machine doesn’t exceed 37 degrees around the ice maker. If it does, it may completely stop producing ice. Additionally, high room temperatures cause ice in the bin to melt faster, depleting the overall ice supply.
Aim for a room temperature well below the maximum limit for the ice maker, considering that the area around the machine will be even hotter due to the hot air expelled during the ice-making process.
Tip 2: Allow Sufficient Space
It is essential to provide at least one foot of space around all sides of the ice maker. Ensure your unit is not installed in a cramped space where ventilation could be compromised, leading to higher temperatures due to trapped hot air. Ice makers require a steady flow of cool air to produce ice effectively. Consider relocating the ice maker to a more suitable location to maximise its production during the busy summer.
If the ice maker is installed next to or near a heat-producing appliance such as a grill, it should be moved to a cooler area. Also, make sure that no boxes or crates are stacked around the ice machine, which could restrict airflow.
Tip 3: Monitor Water Temperatures
If you have already noticed reduced ice production during a quieter period, this will be worth looking at. An ice maker that fails to meet production needs during slower months can become a problem when demand increases.
Ice makers perform best when the incoming water temperature is around 10 degrees Celsius. If the water is too warm, the ice maker has to work harder to cool it, resulting in longer ice cycle times.
Water temperature can be massively affected by outdoor conditions. If you observe a slowdown in ice production as outdoor temperatures rise, consider checking this out.
Tip 4: Maintain a Clean Ice Maker
A clean ice maker operates more efficiently than a dirty one. The build-up of scale, mould, or grime not only affects the quality of ice but also hampers ice production.
There are two types of ice machine cleaning: daily and deep cleanings. Both are crucial for optimal performance. Daily or weekly closing and opening procedures should include wiping down high-traffic surfaces, such as the bin handle and scoop.
Deep cleanings, recommended by manufacturers at least twice per year, should be performed by an ice machine technician. These thorough cleanings, which involve descaling, disinfection, and sanitisation of the inside and outside of the ice maker and ice bin, should ideally be scheduled in the spring before the busy season. Professional cleanings usually take several hours but are well worth the investment.
Tip 5: Implement an Ice Management Procedure
Implementing an effective ice management procedure can significantly increase the amount of ice your business can access without incurring additional costs. Many people are unaware that the size of the bin underneath it can limit the ice production capacity of the ice maker. When the ice bin reaches full capacity, it signals the ice maker to slow down or stop ice production.
Ice shortages occur when the bin’s storage capacity is lower than the ice maker’s production capacity, and the business relies on the full ice machine production rate.
To keep optimum ice production, ice machines in bars and restaurants consider the following steps:
- At the beginning and end of every shift, fill every ice storage bin and drink station in the establishment, including areas behind the bar and anywhere else ice is typically used. This frees up bin space, allowing the ice maker to run continuously, 24 hours a day.
- Scoop ice from the back of the ice maker. When ice piles up at the front, it can prematurely activate the bin control, signalling the ice maker to stop. Train employees to use an ice shovel to pull ice forward as needed.
Look after your ice machine for better performance.
Taking proactive measures and showing your ice machine some tender, loving care is the best way to avoid repairs and breakdowns during the busy summer. By looking after your ice machine, you’ll increase the life span of the machine, which will save your business money. Following the tips mentioned above and promptly addressing any environmental or operational issues, you can ensure your customers enjoy refreshing, cool drinks all summer long.
If you need any information regarding ice machines for bars or restaurants, contact the friendly team at ICE4. We’ll help you find the right ice machine for you.