The Best Guide for Commercial Ice Machines and Refrigeration for Restaurants and Bars

Opening and running a restaurant isn’t always budget friendly. Most commercial restaurant equipment can run a business around 10k – 200k. Purchasing equipment outright might sound better in the moment, but over time with natural wear and tear, you will need repairs and professional cleanings. In most cases, repairs, and maintenance can start at $300 an hour not including the price of parts, delivery, and installation.

Here is a list of everything you need to know about your commercial ice machine and refrigeration:


Improper filtration could result in cloudy inconsistent ice cubes. Not only does the water coming into the machine matter, but the outflow of water can impact the performance of your equipment. Floor drains are imperative to ice machine care. Without floor drains the water waste has nowhere to go. Blocked drains could damage floors and the equipment itself. Small amounts of water develop when ice is stored, and slight melting occurs. Each ice machine has a required length for output. 


When surrounding air temperatures rise above 85°F or drop below 20°F, the ice machine’s production rate can be impacted, resulting in slower ice production. Air cooled machines are particularly susceptible to such impact. Improper temperature, care, size, and ice handling can affect the machine long term.


Taking care of your commercial refrigeration and ice equipment doesn’t just end at cleanings and repairs. Delivering an ice machine is a lot more cost prohibitive and damaging than you think. A Commercial Reach-In Freezer could cost around $8,000 with a delivery fee of $645. This also doesn’t include the service to bring the equipment inside, set up, and installation. When you lease your ice equipment, the company will include delivery which will prevent improper installation that could lead to break downs and further problems.


Depending on the type of equipment, installation can cost thousands at one time. Installation is important to maintaining your commercial ice and refrigeration equipment. Improper installation can cause major problems in the future like water back flow and slow ice production. When you work with a commercial ice and refrigeration company their experts will do a site survey to make sure your equipment can go in the spot you want it. 


It’s important to keep fresh air flowing around your ice machines for maximum ice production. Without proper ventilation, ice cannot freeze properly, which can lead to problems. Check that you have enough space for hot air to escape so your machines can operate at peak performance. Before each installation, your ice experts should make you aware of requirements and suggestions for spacing your machine properly.

Preventative Maintenance

Routine maintenance is important to keeping your equipment working at its peak performance. When you own your equipment, you will have to pay for a preventative maintenance service. This service should include cleanings, yearly maintenance, and discounts on replacement parts. This can be budget friendly if your equipment is relatively new. Unfortunately, break downs happen, and you will need to pay out of pocket for repairs. A Preventative Maintenance agreement may prevent those breakdowns and save you thousands.

Owning an ice machine for your business means a significant investment upfront, not to mention the costs of maintenance and repairs. That’s why leasing an ice machine is a better option for many business owners. With a lease, you can easily upgrade to newer models, and maintenance and repairs are taken care of by the leasing company. This means less downtime for your business and more time keeping your customers happy with a steady supply of ice. Plus, leasing an ice machine is a tax-deductible expense, making it a smart financial choice.