Tips for Maintaining your Commercial Ice Maker
Whether your business is a bar, fast food restaurant or sit-down restaurant, there is a great chance you own a commercial ice maker in your establishment. Businesses that are not a bar or restaurant, but own a commercial ice maker, should still follow these important tips for keeping this equipment maintained and running efficiently. There are two main reasons why it is crucial to maintain your ice maker: customer health safety and making the equipment run effectively longer. The best ways to keep this equipment running well is with regular cleaning and scheduled preventative maintenance check-ups from a licensed HVACR technician. There are daily tips that employees should follow when operating a commercial ice maker and bi-monthly tasks to ensure a longer lifespan for this equipment.
Daily Maintenance Tips for your Commercial Ice Maker
For restaurant and bar owners, training your employees on how to properly handle the ice and the equipment is important. Customers can actually become ill from improper use of scooping ice that has been contaminated with bacteria. Bacteria can grow on the machine and get into the ice. By properly cleaning your commercial ice maker and handling the ice the correct way, customers will have a greater reduced chance of falling ill from your ice machine. Some tips for restaurant employees to follow when handling ice include:
- Washing hands prior to scooping out ice, even when you use the ice scoop. There is the chance of having germs on your hands and touching the scoop and setting the ice scoop back on the ice will contaminate it that way.
- Have a designated area for the ice scoop so it is not placed on top of the ice.
- Never handling ice with your bare hands.
- Never return used and unused ice to the commercial ice maker.
- Only use a proper ice scoop for handling ice.
- Never use a glass to scoop out the ice. Chances are the glass was not cleaned well and could still have contaminants on it, or the glass could chip and break in the machine.
- Always close the door on the commercial ice maker after each use.
- Clean the ice scoop on a daily basis.
How to Clean a Commercial Ice Maker
Even with following the daily maintenance tips for the commercial ice maker, cleaning the interior and exterior of the machine is essential. Bacteria, dust, dirt and all other light materials can build up on the inside and outside of the commercial ice maker. When cleaning a commercial ice maker, it is recommended to clean the equipment at least twice a month, but also consult with your local health and food safety department for proper cleaning. When it doubt of how to effectively clean your ice machine, always follow the equipment’s manufacturing instructions or consult your local HVACR technician. It is highly recommended to follow these steps when cleaning the commercial ice maker:
- Remove and dispose of the ice currently inside the machine before cleaning.
- Refer to the machine’s instruction manual on how to clean its water system. The cleaning cycle usually takes about 20 minutes.
- Turn off the power and unplug the machine from the outlet.
- Remove all parts for cleaning each individually.
- Inspect the air filters on the machine. The instruction manual will detail the correct ratio of water and cleaning solution to mix for cleaning.
- Half of the cleaning solution will be used for cleaning “food zone” surfaces, such as the side walls, base and evaporator’s plastic parts. The other half of the cleaning solution will be used to clean all the removable parts.
- Check the water filtration system.
- Inspect the machine’s components, which include the evaporator, cube sizing controls, water sensors, thermistors, water distributor parts, water hoses and water pump.
Following the daily and bi-monthly maintenance tasks, your commercial ice maker will last longer and your customers will not run the risk of becoming sick from digesting bacteria-ridden ice.