It won’t surprise you that restaurant customers order cold beverages all the time. From sodas to whiskey, a chilled served beverage often leads to a satisfied palate. Still, it’s often easier for a business to focus on the drinks themselves instead of the supporting cast member that makes those same drinks cold – ice cubes. To put it simply, it’s a good idea to ensure that an ice machine runs as effectively and efficiently as possible in order to make consistently pure ice cubes. Performing proper ice machine maintenance is the best way to accomplish this.
What does this type of maintenance entail? We can think of ice machine maintenance in terms of the following steps:
Cleaning the water system
Whenever ice starts forming on an evaporator plate, minerals begin separating from the water and start clinging to various parts of the water system (this is known as scale). The color or type of scale often indicates the cause of the scale (e.g. red scale often indicates the cause is iron, white scale often indicates the cause is either lime or calcium, etc.). In any event, scale must be removed as quickly as possible because it often leads to what’s known as a “freeze up”. With a “freeze up”, inconsistent and poor quality ice cubes get formed. For removing scale, it’s important to follow the specific cleaning instructions manual for a given ice machine.
Sanitizing the water system
Sanitization serves as an adjunct to cleaning the water system. This step serves to remove bacteria found on the system. As with cleaning the system, it’s critical to use the proper sanitizer and follow specific sanitizing instructions for a given machine. Don’t forget to thoroughly rinse and flush the entire water system after you sanitize it.
Some machine areas that should be inspected for potential cleaning:
- Condenser / air filter
- Inlet water valve screen
- Condenser fan blades
- Water regulating valve
- Check for loose / broken electrical connections
- Check for any leaks
- Check flaker bearings for wear
Cleaning the machine’s exterior
Cleaning the machine’s exterior and storage bin serves as a final check for ensuring that an ice machine runs smoothly.
Maintaining a successful restaurant involves so many different factors. It’s often the little things that can make all the difference. One might not think of ice machine maintenance as overly critical for a restaurant. Yet, cold beverages do tend to be better quality with higher quality ice. It’s a small, yet significant, difference that can change a restaurant’s bottom line from chilly to hot.