Ice is nice: 5 simple steps to maintain your commercial ice machine

(BPT) - It's easy for restaurants and other food service businesses to forget about one of the hardest working pieces of equipment in their kitchens: the commercial ice machine. But ice is critical to the storage, preparation and distribution of items on your menu, and must be treated like food when it comes to safety and sanitation.

Just like any other type of restaurant equipment, ice machines require proper maintenance. With the right ongoing care, an ice machine will serve your business well for a decade, and often longer. To maintain a well-functioning commercial ice machine and ensure it's producing the best tasting ice possible, consider these five maintenance steps as recommended by the experts at

1. Clean and sanitize regularly
A commercial ice machine should be emptied and thoroughly cleaned every six months, potentially more frequently during peak seasons. Consult the owner's manual supplied by the manufacturer for specific cleaning instructions, but in general, you can clean your ice machine with a nickel-safe scale remover and an ice machine sanitizer. Remember to clean all parts, including the ice bin.

2. Consider antimicrobial protection
Some commercial ice machines have removable antimicrobial filters built-in to protect the components from dust, lint, grease and other common contaminants in the kitchen that can result in slime and mold. These antimicrobial parts are designed to be removed and should be cleaned and sanitized every couple months.

3. Replace water filters
Using a water filter to remove impurities insures your machine produces the best tasting ice possible. But just like the water filter in your home refrigerator, the ones in commercial ice machines need to be replaced regularly. In addition to enhancing ice flavor, water filters remove scale which keeps the machine running in tip-top shape.

4. Clean and replace air filters
It's important to regularly clean the air filters on air cooled ice machines, and replace when necessary. Each air filter captures microscopic airborne particles including dust, flour and yeast, trapping them so they don't get into the machine and contaminate the ice or critical working parts. See the manufacturer's recommendations for how often an air filter should be replaced, but in general, every six months is a good guideline.

5. Servicing by professional
Quality restaurant equipment is an investment, and to ensure you get the best ROI, you should have your ice machines serviced annually by a professional. The experts are able to tune-up your equipment and be proactive about fixing any existing issues to make sure that not only is your machine working properly, but also so you don't face any future breakdowns when least expected.

If your commercial ice machine is nearing the end of its useful life, or maybe you've outgrown your model and need a larger option, you should ask a few important questions to ensure you get the right equipment for your operation with easy maintenance features. Call the knowledgeable professionals at ACityDiscount at 404-752-6715 to discuss the best ice machine for your business. Important maintenance questions to ask include:

* How often do the air and water filters need to be replaced?
* Can the staff clean and sanitize the ice machine, or must it be done by a professional?
* How easy is it to maintain the machine in-house? How long do the processes typically take?
* Does the ice machine have a separate clean and sanitize cycle built in?
* What parts on the machine are made with antimicrobial protection?

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