Restaurants finances are squeezed now more than ever. When you decide to purchase your equipment such as ice machines, you expect it to work for at least 10 years, with the regular preventative maintenance it will. However, PM’s are the first to go when money is tight and some machines will last less than five years because of poor maintenance habits. Purchasing a new machine before you should be more costly than the preventative maintenance.
Here are ways to extend the life expectancy of your commercial ice-making equipment:
- Surface cleanings should be done daily.
- Clean the inside of storage bin and underside of ice machine weekly. Remove all ice before cleaning out your ice bin. Turn off your ice machine, let all the ice melt or melt with hot water, then clean the inside of the ice machine bin with the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning solution.
- Nightly, wipe down your equipment with a manufacturer-recommended cleaning solution to prevent rust, mold, and bacteria from forming on the outside of the machine to prevent cross-contamination.
- Ice machines should be deep cleaned per manufacturers recommendations; every six months or one time per year. Water and environmental conditions may dictate more frequent cleanings.
- Clean or replace water filters, when necessary, usually when you have machine professionally cleaned but no more than every six months. Filters typically inhibit taste, odor, chlorine, and scale from water. Prefilters also prevent larger particles from getting into ice and/or clogging distribution tubes.
- Keep your ice scoop clean and out of the bin when not in use. This can prevent cross-contamination.
- When your machine makes beeping noises or shows error codes, reach out to your commercial ice machine service company that can make recommendations.
- Purchase or lease the correct-sized machine for your business. Running out of ice during the busy season is never fun and purchasing bagged ice to supplement is costly.
- Most machines are air-cooled and it’s important to keep fresh air flowing around your ice machine for maximum ice production. Without proper ventilation, the machine will overheat, slowing ice production and reducing the life of your equipment. Check that you have enough space for hot air to escape and fresh air to easily cool machine.
- Check your surrounding air temperatures. Ice production will be impacted by high temperatures, especially air-cooled ice makers.
When it comes to your commercial ice equipment, working with a professional ice machine service company that has expert training spanning outside the factory certification, is the best way to extend the life of your machine. Even if you have top-of-the-line equipment, small variables in cleanliness and temperature conditions can affect the longevity of your commercial ice machines.