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Tips On How to Clean Commercial Ice Machines

Tips On How to Clean Commercial Ice Machines

Commercial ice machines can make hundreds of pounds of ice per day. Very large ice machines are capable of thousands of pounds of ice per day.

But in order to keep that ice coming commercial ice machine cleaning needs to be a priority. Read on for a step-by-step guide to cleaning commercial ice machines.

How Often to Clean Commercial Ice Makers

To keep your ice machine running properly and efficiently, you’ll need to clean it often.

But how often is that? It really depends on your usage and the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Most manufacturers suggest a deep cleaning of the commercial ice maker at least every six months. But you may need to clean it more often based on heavy use.

You’ll also need more frequent ice machine cleaning if you run a pizzeria a bakery or another shop where flour or yeast often floats through the air.

Your commercial ice maker will alert you when it’s time to clean it. Keep an eye out for poor ice quality (either too soft or not clear). Look for shallow or poorly formed cubes.

If the ice machine has a low capacity or is slow to harvest or release, it’s time for deep cleaning. 

Cleaning Commercial Ice Machines

These general steps will help you clean your commercial ice maker. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions for model-specific instructions.

First, dispose of any ice in the unit.

Then clean the machine’s water system. Your instruction manual will explain how to do this for your unit. Expect this step to take about 20 minutes.

Once this is done, unplug the ice machine. Take the ice maker apart so you can clean the individual parts.

Next, inspect the air filters. You can typically find a chart in the manual that explains how much cleaning solution to mix with water to clean the filters.

Clean all the removable parts with a cleaning solution. Then clean the surfaces such as the base, the sides, and evaporator plastic parts.

Don’t be alarmed if the cleaning solution foams. That means there is some kind of mineral deposit on the unit. 

Once it stops foaming, use a cloth to scrub those areas. Then rinse the individual parts with clean water.

Now, check the machine’s filtration system for even pressure. Then inspect the sensors, hoses, pump, cube sizing controls and thermistors.

If any of these don’t look right, request a commercial refrigeration service appointment. 

Clean the Condenser

Just like with the filter, it is vital that you clean the condenser at least every six months. 

When the condenser is dirty, air can’t circulate well. This leads to less ice, higher operating temperatures and ultimately, a shorter lifespan on your unit. 

First, make sure the power is off to the ice machine as well as the remote condensing unit.

Next, check for dirt by pointing a flashlight at the fins of the condenser. You can clean this by blowing air through the condenser hose.

Or you can rinse it with water starting from the inside. If there is still dirt after you’ve done these steps, you’ll need to make an appointment to have your unit serviced.

Once the commercial ice maker is clean, you can then sanitize it.

Sanitize Your Ice Machine

Now that your ice machine is clean, you’ll need to sanitize it. Use the sanitizing solution and lukewarm water according to the directions on the package.

Sanitize all the individual parts you’ve removed from your ice machine. Use a spray bottle to soak the parts or immerse the parts in a sink full of solution and water. Let the parts soak in the solution for a few minutes.

While those parts are soaking, use the sanitizing solution to clean all the surfaces of the machine. Be generous when applying the solution.

Once you’re done, you can replace all the components. You do not need to rinse these with water! 

Set a timer for 20 minutes and wait. When the timer beeps, plug in the ice machine and turn it on. 

Push the “clean” or “wash” button on your ice machine. The display should tell you when it’s time to add the sanitizing solution to the water trough.

Set your machine to make ice after the sanitizing cycle finishes. It may take over 20 minutes.

Throw out the first batch of ice and run another cycle. Check the freeze and harvest cycle times to ensure the ice machine is working well. 

How to Clean the Exterior of Your Machine

The outside of your commercial ice machine can be cleaned as often as necessary. If your kitchen has a lot of grease and flour, the outside of your ice maker will need cleaning much more often.

Cleaning the outside of your commercial ice maker is simple. All you need to do is wipe down the surfaces with a warm damp cloth. This will remove dust and dirt.

If the exterior of your unit has stubborn grease, use a soapy dish rag to wipe the grease away.

Make sure you don’t use any abrasive scrubbing cloths or brushes on the exterior of your machine. Check your machine’s manual for the recommended cleaners you can use. 

You should never use cleaners that have citrus, chlorine or abrasive ingredients on the panels or plastic trim.

Final Thoughts on Cleaning Commerical Ice Machines

Thanks for reading! We hope these step-by-step instructions for cleaning commercial ice machines help you keep your unit in tip-top condition.

Remember, proper maintenance will keep your unit running well. It will also extend the lifespan of your ice maker.

If you run into any concerns while you clean your ice machine, contact us. At Comfort Time Heating and Cooling we pride ourselves on giving you great service so that you refer us to all your family and friends.

The Most Common HVAC Problems

The Most Common HVAC Problems

Many homeowners are not aware that their HVAC systems require annual inspections and tune-ups. Skimping on these services increases the likelihood that your HVAC system will have trouble operating. HVAC problems also might occur as your system nears the end of its 15 to 25-year lifespan.

Is your home experiencing uneven heating or cooling, or is your unit making strange sounds? Troubleshooting HVAC problems can help you determine if you can repair it on your own. If not, you should rely on a professional team of HVAC service technicians to do the job for you.

Here are the most common HVAC problems homeowners face, and what you can do to handle them.

1. The Condenser Unit is Blocked

HVAC airflow problems typically occur when the condenser unit is blocked, jammed, or otherwise obstructed. This device is located outside your home and uses a motorized fan to move air throughout the system.

But since this unit is located outside, it’s one of the most vulnerable components of any HVAC system.

If your HVAC is struggling to regulate the temperature of your home, your best bet is to check the condenser unit. Look for leaves, dirt, and other debris that may be blocking the device. During winter, it’s a good idea to check the unit for ice buildup, which can also jam the condenser’s airflow.

2. Has Your Air Filter Been Replaced?

Did you know that your HVAC’s filter is a necessary component? Most people maintain their HVAC filters because it improves the air quality of their home. However, the filter plays an important role in preventing your system from clogging.

An air filter should be replaced every one to three months, depending on your model and allergies. If you forget to replace the filter or choose not to, air contaminants will damage your system and restrict airflow.

3. Liquids Are Leaking From the HVAC

When your air conditioning unit isn’t blowing cold air, the first thing you should do is look for leaks. Refrigerants are an important component inside your device, responsible for chilling the air inside your home. As the liquid refrigerant leaks from your unit, its cooling performance will gradually decline.

But your AC may be leaking more than refrigerant. Water condenses in the system as part of the heating or cooling process. Normally this water is drained, but the lines are susceptible to cracks or clogs. If you spot a leak in your system and noticed reduced AC airflow, you should contact an HVAC technician.

4. Maybe It’s the Thermostat

Remember that your HVAC doesn’t work alone. When your system is running at odd times — or not at all — your thermostat may be the culprit. A typical thermostat has a lifespan of about ten years, so it’ll likely need a replacement before your HVAC system.

If the timing of your heater or AC is on the fritz, but the airflow and air temperature seem to be fine, take a look at your thermostat. The problem may be that your thermostat needs its batteries replaced. Change the temperature setting of your thermostat to see if it’s properly activating your HVAC system.

5. Your Condenser Coil is Filthy

A condenser coil resides within your outdoor condenser unit. This piece is responsible for dissipating heat from your home. Just like the unit itself, dirt and grime can gather on the coil and impact its performance. This is especially troubling since the condenser coil will run dangerously hot.

You can clean the condenser coil by disconnecting your condenser unit from the power and disabling your HVAC system. Once done, you can hose it off. Since this could damage your system, it’s best to leave the work to a trained HVAC professional.

6. HVAC Problems Come With Strange Noises

An HVAC system is one of the noisiest devices in your home. Thankfully, this means that when HVAC problems occur, you can usually hear them. If anything sounds different about your system, it’s time to troubleshoot the cause.

Squealing often occurs in failing fans and blowers. When belts snap or come loose, you may hear clanking or rattling in the heart of your system. These are some of the most worrying noises that definitely require a professional inspection.

Noises such as hums or whistling tend to be minor HVAC problems, usually related to debris. If you can’t detect the debris or cause, you should also opt for an inspection before the problem becomes worse.

When your HVAC acts up often, it may be time to replace the AC unit completely.

7. Clogged Ductwork Causes Unbalanced Temperatures

Clogged ducts hamper your system’s airflow. It may just be dust buildup, but sometimes insects and other pests make their homes in your ductwork. Cracks in old ducts could also be hampering the effectiveness of your HVAC system.

If the temperature is not consistent across the rooms of your house, your ducts may be to blame. Take a brief look at your ductwork and inspect it for blockages or holes, or have an inspector do the job for you.

8. Reduced Airflow? Could Be the Blower Fan

Responsible for circulating air throughout your ducts, the blower fan is a susceptible piece of equipment. It’s the main reason why you want to keep your air filter maintained.

Even with good air quality, dust can still accumulate on your fan as years go by. Cleaning a blower fan can be hard work, and it’s a job best left to professionals.

When It Comes to Your HVAC, Don’t Wait

Every homeowner encounters HVAC problems from time to time. The damage — and repair costs — will worsen until they’re repaired. If you’re having difficulty troubleshooting or repairing it yourself, trust in your local HVAC professionals.

Our service technicians have been serving the Santa Fe area for over ten years. Contact us by phone or email to set up your HVAC inspection or repair.

Should You Repair or Replace Your AC Unit?

Should You Repair or Replace Your AC Unit?

You’re sitting in your home enjoying a bit of television after a long day at work when your ac starts to make the most peculiar sound. It sounds like it’s struggling to work which may be the case because your unit is about ten years old.

In this scenario, the age coupled with the fact that the unit is quite old is a pretty large indicator that you need to have your unit replaced. If it was a bit younger you may have been able to repair it.

There is a very fine line between being able to simply repair your ac unit and having to get a new one altogether. To help you make the distinction, here are a few tips that may help you decide which one you should do.

1. Benefits of Replacing

Before we get into how to tell if you should replace or repair your unit, we’re going to briefly go over the benefits of each. Here are a few good reasons why you should replace your ac unit even if you could possibly stretch out the life of your old one. 

Warranty

Chances are you’ve already blown through your warranty with your old unit. Getting a new one could be an easy way of sort of resetting your warranty because a new unit, means a new warranty. 

Going Green

In an effort to take a little stress off the ozone layer, newer AC models are created with a more eco-friendly refrigerant than the older ones. So, if you replace your old model you’ll be able to cool your home and save the environment too. It’s a win-win for everyone. 

More Convenience

When your old AC unit breaks down you may have to wait for weeks for parts to come in because well, it’s old. The older any machine gets the harder it is for manufacturers to find parts for it. 

You can cut down on this wait time by upgrading. If you have a newer model, you may have to wait a few days for a part to come in but it won’t be that long. 

2. Benefits of Repairing

While replacing probably sounds great to you right now, there are a few benefits to repairing your unit. The major reasons why you would want to repair instead of replacing is if you need to save a little bit of money or if you want to hold back from buying a new unit because you plan on moving one day. 

Saving Money

Unless you’re having to dish out several hundred dollars a month on repairs for your unit, you may be able to hold off on replacing it. The reason why you would want to hold off is that the upfront cost for a new unit will be expensive. 

If you don’t have that kind of money sitting around in your wallet, go with the repair for now and save cash. 

Are You Moving? 

If you’re planning on selling your home soon, you’re not going to want to pump hundreds of dollars into a new AC unit only to leave. While it may be hard to sell your current home with it having an old AC unit, you’ll probably still be able to find a buyer without having to make the replacement. 

3. When Should You Replace Your Unit

Even though you may be able to push back replacing your unit for a little while, there comes a time when you can’t save it anymore. The four key ways to tell you should go with a replacement are your current unit’s age, how often your current one breaks down, if the temperature in your home is uneven, and if there is a lot of noise coming from the unit. 

Age

It is recommended that you replace your AC unit once every ten years. While you can stretch it over the ten-year mark, the older it gets the less energy efficient it is. You’ll be able to shave a lot more off your energy bills if you replace it after it celebrates its big ten. 

Yours Breaks Down Frequently

If you’re not having to spend too much money replacing your unit every few months then you can repair it. If you feel like it’s being repaired more often then it’s cooling your home though, you need to go ahead and replace it. 

At that point, it’s costing you too much money to be efficient on your wallet anymore. So, even though a new one will be a lot of money, it would be worth it. 

Uneven temperatures

Do you often find that some rooms in your home are warmer than others? This is  because your unit is no longer cooling your home evenly. If this is the case then you may want to replace your unit before your whole home turns into a sauna. 

Noise 

If your current unit is making a ton of noise this means that it’s struggling to do its job. After a while, this struggle will show in your energy bill because it’s using a lot of power to cool your home. At this point, you could try and repair it but you’re better off putting it out of its misery. 

Replacing or Repairing Your AC Unit: You Decide

If your current AC unit is struggling to work it may be time to replace it. Sometimes a new system may be too much on your wallet though so you might able to repair it to save a little bit of money if the situation isn’t too bad. Use this guide on replacement and repairs to decide which option is best for you.

Live in the Santa Fe Springs, CA area and need indoor cooling assistance? Contact us and we’ll send one of our local team members your way.