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With summer approaching, it’s that time of the year when your commercial ice machines are likely to experience an increased workload. Ensuring that your employees maintain a regular cleaning schedule while using the proper sanitizing solutions and following manufacturer instructions is an essential part of any foodservice operation.

A commercial ice machine with an employee using gloves and a scoop.

How to Avoid an Ice Machine Meltdown

Ice bins, waterlines, evaporators, and condensers all require consistent attention and care. Neglecting any step along the way can have dire consequences for your ice machine and even your foodservice operation’s bottom line. Luckily, keeping your machine in peak form only takes a bit of planning, some well-trained employees, and consistency.

Without a doubt, your efforts will benefit your foodservice operation greatly. With that in mind, here are the top six benefits you can expect from properly sanitizing and maintaining your commercial ice machine.

1. Clean Ice

Poorly maintained ice machines easily become breeding grounds for bacteria and mold. Consuming contaminated ice not only adversely affects the flavor of your beverages, but they also cause illness. People with weakened immune systems, the elderly, pregnant women, and young children are especially susceptible to serious health consequences from consuming beverages with contaminated ice. A regular cleaning schedule to ward off bacteria and mold will keep your beverages refreshing and your customers healthy.

2. Robust Ice Production

When ice machines aren’t properly cleaned or maintained, accumulation of scale or other debris on internal parts occurs. This can have detrimental effects on important components like the evaporator. This accumulation of unwanted debris will cause ice machines to work less efficiently, reducing their production capacity when you need it most. Maintaining your commercial ice machine will allow it to perform the job it was designed for, with ease.

3. Mechanical Wellness

Scheduling regular “checkups” for your ice machine helps to mitigate mechanical problems, such as clogged water lines, malfunctioning valves, or worn-out parts before they happen. If left unnoticed, these issues will wear at your ice machine, or even eventually cause it to break down. Keep your machine running ship shape with regular cleaning, maintenance, and inspections.

4. Lower Energy Consumption

Poorly maintained ice machines consume more energy than a well-maintained machine, resulting in higher energy bills. Accumulation of scale or other debris cause the machine to work harder to produce ice, resulting in increased energy consumption. Regular cleanings and inspections will help you save on energy bills in the long run.

5. A Higher ROI on Your Investment

Neglecting to sanitize and maintain your ice machine will shorten its lifespan. Accumulation of scale, corrosion, or other damage can cause the machine to break down or require expensive repairs, reducing its overall ROI. Regular maintenance goes a long way in protecting your investment.

6. Avoid Health Code Violations

Health inspectors know where to look for mold, debris, and bacteria hiding in plain sight. If written up for violations, your business may be subject to fines or legal action may be taken against your restaurant. Lastly, poor health inspection scores will degrade your standing within your community and adversely affect your business’s reputation. Cleaning all the hard-to-reach parts of your commercial ice machine will result in a great reputation and peace of mind.

Keeping Your Cool With Commercial Ice Machines

Guests cheer to a happy, ice-filled summer day.

Regular commercial ice machine cleaning and maintenance in your commercial kitchen protects the health and safety of your customers and employees, as well as the financial bottom line of your business. By thoroughly training your staff, developing a regular cleaning and inspection schedule, replacing water filters, and following manufacturer recommendations, you can avoid all problems and reap the benefits of a well-oiled investment.

Next Up: The Best Catering Equipment for the Job


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