I was thinking back the other day to when I first got into the trade. There was a time that I can remember as a 1st or 2nd year apprentice running into a commercial ice machine was a pretty scary thing. As far as commercial packaged refrigeration units go they are the most complex by far, with multiple pumps, valves, sensors and control boards.
Well it’s been many years since an ice machine has been a scary thing! My train of though now switched, I’m thinking to myself: geez for such a complex and expensive piece of equipment they very often get overlooked.
In Calgary we have very hard water and the calcium wreaks havoc on the many moving parts and multiple sensors in these machines. Over time, and not that much time; due to Calgary water’s crazy high calcium content (threw that in twice to make a point: crazy high content). Anyhow, the deposits build up quickly and will eventually down the machine. If your business has an ice machine, then we know you rely on it to be operational at all times.
Why do ice machines get overlooked so much?
Well that’s simple! They are expensive to purchase and expensive to maintain. Some things that can help this equipment to function correctly with less downtime include:
- GOOD – (4x/yr) cleaning and sanitizing or depending on how heavily the machine is used.
- BETTER – Ice machine pre-filter and twice/yr. Cleaning and sanitizing.
- BEST – Reverse osmosis conditioner (removes impurities in the water). Also once per year cleaning and sanitizing.
Regardless of which option you choose, all are adequate and all have pros and cons. As far as cost goes, it kind of works pay now or pay later. The best way being more upfront but cheaper in the long run and vise versa.
That being said, choosing no option will lead to the very quick deterioration of the machine and greatly shorten its overall life span. The other concern with ice machines is mold/bacteria growth (an important subject for a future post). Standing water always allows this to occur. This concern is actually more important than the cost of a machine or machine longevity; after all ice is food, and our health is at stake!
Cleaning and sanitizing a machine is the right choice and the cost effective choice in the long run.