Commercial Ice Machine Maintenance Checklist

Your commercial ice machine is a critical part of your kitchen, and in the summer, it’s working as hard as it can to keep up. Without proper maintenance, mold, slime, grime, and other health hazards can collect within, negatively impacting not only your food product but your customers’ health. 

The experts at Commercial Restaurant Service in Springfield, Missouri, help you avoid all that by providing excellent commercial kitchen equipment repair services.

The consequences of a malfunctioning or poorly-maintained ice machine prove how important it is to keep a maintenance checklist on your commercial ice machine

If you don’t have one, now is a great time to start using one.  

Why is Maintaining Your Ice Machine Important? 

Properly maintained, well-functioning commercial restaurant equipment prepares you for a better result once the local health inspector comes by to look over your restaurant. 

FDA requires that ice be stored and handled to the same standard as perishable food. To ensure this, most manufacturers recommend your ice machine be cleaned at least 2-4 times a year. Proper cleaning is essential for prolonging the equipment’s longevity and performance. 

Descale your machine every 4 months (if you don’t have a water softener or ScaleX water filter system – anything that removes lime from the water). 

“Nine times out of ten, ice machine problems are due to lime. Just putting a water filter on the machine is not gonna do it. You have to have a ScaleX system.”

Dan Patrick, CEO of Commercial Restaurant Service.
Check your ice machine’s user manual to find out how often your model requires cleaning. It’s often between 30, 60, and 90 days. 

What Makes Commercial Ice Machines Different? 

Unlike the ice machine in your freezer at home, a restaurant’s ice machine is connected to the restaurant’s electrical system. Like a dishwasher, there is an ongoing flow of water that is supplied to it. 

Commercial ice machines have more components: water hoses, thermistors, distributor parts, the evaporator, water pump, valve, sizing controls, and more. 

The Most Common Issues on Commercial Ice Machines

  • Bacteria build-up (anything from mold, lime, or scale contaminating the machine)
  • Leaking refrigerant or low-refrigerant charge
  • Not making enough ice or no ice at all
  • Smelly ice cubes being dispensed (a sign of an old water filter) 
  • Broken Expansion Valve (this component releases the pressure in the refrigerant through rapid expansion) 
  • Overheating (a sign of a broken evaporator fan or damaged condenser)
  • Loud, unusual sounds (a sign of a worn-out compressor)
  • Low, insufficient water flow (mineral deposits build up and block the lines) 
  • Short cycling (turning off and on many times) 

Commercial Ice Machine Cleaning Checklist:

  1. Turn the machine off, and disconnect the water supply.
  2. Remove the ice and drain excess water.
  3. Disassemble the unit’s primary components.
  4. Clean your water system according to the user’s manual, using the right cleaning solution (deliming agents for mineral deposits or lime).
  5. Flush the cleaning solutions through your water system, and flush it out.
  6. Use a soft cloth for rubber parts, and a non-corrosive cleaning brush to remove debris from the condenser coil.
  7. Pressure clean the drain and use a cleaning solution to wipe down the storage bin.
  8. Inspect and replace bad water filters (standard time: every 6 months).
  9. Any parts that come into contact with water have to be air dry before reassembling.
  10. Wipe down the exterior and reconnect the water source and electrical outlet. 
  11. Adjust the ice level sensor and thermostat.
  12. Let it cycle through one batch of ice. Throw out the first batch. There may be cleaning solution residue left over. 
  13. Observe and take note of the first two cycles; see how long it takes to freeze and generate ice. 

Commercial Ice Machine Inspection Checklist:

  • Are the controls and wiring undamaged and properly functioning? 
  • Is the unit’s temperature too warm or not working at all? 
  • Does the external filter system need a cartridge change? 
  • Does the inlet water valve screen have blockages? 

If you find that there are larger issues with your ice machine, it’s better to call an experienced technician that can ensure your machine is meeting regulatory requirements and functioning to its maximum efficiency. 

Commercial Ice Machine Maintenance Tips & Suggestions 

As per federal law, you should get your ice machine inspected by a professional at least four times a year (depending on how heavily you use it). 

Similar to an HVAC air filter, your water filter should be replaced fairly frequently depending on the use. Normally, it’s at least every six months. 

Our suggestion? Enroll in a preventative maintenance service agreement plan to ensure that your ice machine stays in a high-performance state all year long. 

Looking for Ice Machine Maintenance in Springfield, MO.?

Commercial Restaurant Service has years of experience troubleshooting, maintaining, and repairing all manner of commercial-grade restaurant equipment. We’re here to keep your restaurant up and running. Contact us today to schedule your inspection and service.