Posts tagged by: Ice-O-Matic

Is It Time to Replace your Ice Machine?

Ice machines are a staple in every commercial kitchen. A good ice machine is the difference between foggy cubes and a crisp, refreshing drink. Sadly, with every piece of equipment comes a lifespan. With proper cleaning, a quality ice machine will last around 4 to 5 years on average, sometimes even longer. So how do you know when it’s time to replace your ice machine?

The first thing you need to do is locate the problem. When your ice machine is on the fritz, there are two main reasons: either your ice machine has been overworked, or the filter has. A filter is less expensive and easier to replace, so let’s start there!

The Filter

Manitowoc AR-10000 14,000 Gallon Arctic Pure Water Filter
Manitowoc AR-10000 14,000 Gallon Arctic Pure Water Filter

You want your customers to have the purest ice, right? The first step toward pure ice is a good filter. Ice filtration systems are simply water filters in your machine that filter the water before freezing. Your unit may require between one to three filters, depending on the size of your ice machine.

Routine Replacement

These filters should be replaced every 6 months to reduce wear and tear on the machine, ensuring your unit is working as intended.

The act of replacing your filter is so important that Ice-O-Matic even offers an extended warranty for doing so! If you purchase a 3-in-1 water filter with a new Ice-O-Matic machine and replace the filter every 6 months, the warranty on the evaporator is extended from 5 years to 7 years!

Know the Signs

Without routine filter replacements, you may run into issues more unappetizing than a worn down machine. Does your ice have a bad taste or odor? Is it cloudy or off-color? Knowing the signs your filter needs a little TLC will help you catch any problems and take preventative steps in the future.

Mineral Deposits: Municipal water companies only remove contaminants that are harmful to human health. Many dissolved minerals are not harmful, therefore are not removed. Mineral laden water results in ice that appears cloudy and can make a drink smell and taste unappealing.

Slime Build-Up: Slime build-up can result from a poorly maintained ice machine. Ice made from a slimy machine will appear cloudy with a slight yellow, green or red tint and can cause illness, especially in those with weakened immune systems.

Chlorination: Chlorination is the process of adding chlorine to water in order to treat it and kill harmful germs. Residual chlorine remains in the water supply giving the water an unappealing taste.

Cloudy to Clear: Filtered Water Makes The Best Ice

Mineral deposits from hard water don’t only collect in your filter and cause mineral laden water, this build up of scale is harmful to your ice machine as a whole. This brings us to our next stop in your ice machine journey!

The Machine

Scotsman Meridian HID312A-1 Countertop Ice Maker & Dispenser
Scotsman Meridian HID312A-1 Countertop Ice Maker & Dispenser

We already mentioned that the average lifespan for a commercial ice machine is around 4-5 years. However, your ice machine works hard day and night and sometimes it gets a little worn out. We can definitely relate. There are multiple reasons your machine may not be quite as efficient anymore.

  • Heat. The enemy of ice. If your kitchen is consistently hot, it’s very likely your ice production has dropped. When the ambient temperature heats up, so does your water, forcing your ice machine to work even harder to produce your ice supply.
  • Dirty Condensers. A dirty condenser coil is one of the main reason for service calls. A condenser coil that is dirty, slimy, or grimy will prevent warm air from filtering out of your machine. What did we say heat was again?
  • Scale. Build up of mineral deposits, or scale, is a big cause of ice machine failure. Make sure to clean the machine consistently, as well as replacing your filter every 6 months.

All of these obstacles can wear down your ice machine and cause that average lifespan to start declining. A good rule of thumb is if you’ve noticed an uptick in your service calls, it’s probably time for a new ice machine.

What next?

Is it time to replace your ice machine? If so, the next step is picking out the right machine for your business! There are endless options between brands, air or water cooled, ice shape, machine size, and so much more. Let us help you find the perfect fit! Email us at sales@burkett.com, call us directly at 800-828-8564, or browse our online collection of commercial Ice Machines, Ice Bins, and Accessories!

Top Commercial Ice Machines for Healthcare Facilities

In a healthcare facility, ice is used for specific tasks including post-operative use, dietary needs and treatment to reduce swelling and inflammation. For each of these tasks, ice needs to be readily available within an easy to use and easy to maintain unit. Let’s take a look at the best ice machines for healthcare facilities.

Residential Care, Hospitals and Doctor’s Offices: Countertop Nugget Ice Machine and Dispenser

For busy doctor’s offices or hallways within hospitals and residential care facilities, nothing beats the convenience of dependable countertop ice machines and dispensers. With this type of commercial ice machine within reach, medical staff can retrieve ice quickly and within close proximity to treatment areas.

Nugget ice is ideal for healthcare facilities as it is easy to chew, easy to mold and slow to melt, making it the best choice for dietary needs and ice packs. The dispenser mechanism speeds up the process for retrieving ice and minimizes the risk of cross-contamination. Ideally, healthcare facilities should look for countertop ice machine dispensers with touch-free controls. This type of control dispenses ice when a cup or other receptacle is sensed under the chute. Some dispensing ice machines are constructed with a built-in water dispenser as well.

Burkett Recommends: The Scotsman Meridian HID312A-1 Countertop Ice & Water Dispenser

Emergency Rooms and Laboratories: Undercounter Ice Machines

An Undercounter Ice Machine is a self-contained ice maker with an attached storage bin. This type of ice machine is designed to fit under countertop areas and provide quick access to ice without getting in the way of the fast-paced environment of an emergency room. Undercounter ice machines are also ideal for laboratories as they leave valuable countertop areas free for charts and documents.

Undercounter ice machines are available for every style of ice. However, flake, nugget and cube ice are most often used in ER’s and laboratory settings. Flake ice is perfect for sculpting into therapeutic ice molds, cube ice is very slow to melt and nugget ice offers a chewable texture for patients. When shopping for an undercounter ice machine, be sure to measure the total space available, which includes height, depth and width. Also, consider how the bin door opens.

Ice-O-Matic ICEU150HA Burkett Recommends: The Ice-O-Matic ICEU150HA Ice Machine

Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine: Flake Ice Machine and Bin Combination

Flake ice is perfect for filling or molding ice packs for therapeutic use. Shopping for an undercounter flake ice machine, or head with separate bin can be confusing and time-consuming. We suggest purchasing an ice machine and bin combination unit that is already matched up and ready to install. The full-size floor model combination units are perfect for physical therapy and sports medicine clinics as they provide a large volume of ice on a daily basis.

When shopping for a combination flake ice machine and storage bin unit, be sure to note the daily yield of ice produced as well as the bin’s total storage capacity.

Burkett Recommends: The Scotsman UF424A-1 Air Cooled Undercounter Flake Ice Machine

Find the right ice machine for your healthcare facility and keep your patients happy and healthy. With the right specifications in place, you can have a quiet, efficient and dependable ice machine for years to come.

Commerical Ice Machine Maintenance

Ice Machines are an integral piece of equipment for any restaurant, bar, concession stand, or cafeteria. Mixed drinks, smoothies, to chill water and sodas, and to keep fresh food cold, a restaurant without ice would definitely be in trouble. Follow these simple maintenance tips to ensure your Ice Machine doesn’t stop working when you need it most. Remember to always refer to your Instruction Manual for specific maintenance tips for your machine.

Change Your Water Filter! Change your water filter every 6 months or when the filter gauge indicates a replacement is necessary.  Some manufacturers even extend warranties if the correct filter is used.

Clean It! Running a restaurant is time-consuming and exhausting. Unfortunately cleaning equipment regularly and thoroughly is often put off or completely overlooked (YIKES!). A dirty Ice Machine will not release ice, produce poor quality ice, and will be slow to harvest. Don’t fall into this trap.

    • Interior Cleaning: Clean every 6 months to remove lime scale and other mineral deposit using the manufacturers recommended cleaning solution. Turn the machine off overnight before cleaning so that ice can melt. Remove ice bins and trays and clean with soft metal brush. You can run them through the dishwasher as well. Clean and sanitize inside of machine. After cleaning process, turn the ice machine on, and allow it to run for a full freezing cycle, throw out ice batch made during that cycle and then resume using the ice machine as normal.
    • Air-Cooled Condenser: A dirty air-cooled condenser will restrict airflow that will reduce ice production and shorten the components life. Clean the condenser at least every 6 months by blowing compressed air through the condenser from the inside.
    • Water-Cooled Condenser: Cleaning generally requires special pumps and cleaning solutions that must be performed by a qualified maintenance or service personnel.

**Condenser fins are sharp, use care when cleaning them. If you are cleaning the condenser fan blades with water, cover the fan motor to prevent water damage.

Sanitize! Algae growth and slime are two things you do not want to find in your Ice Machine. Remove all ice and sanitize with a solution of one ounce nickel-safe sanitize to up to four gallons of water. Rinse all sanitized surfaces with clean water.
*Never mix Cleaner and Sanitizer solutions as this is a violation of Federal Law.
*Always wear rubber gloves for cleaning and sanitizing.

Antimicrobial Protection While newer machines have built-in antimicrobial protection, an anti-microbial stick or pouch will keep older Ice Machines slime and alga free. Replace every 2-3 months.

Contact Burkett Restaurant Equipment to discuss options to troubleshoot your issue and get your ice machine back up and running!

10 Tips to Ensure You’re Purchasing the Right Restaurant Equipment

It’s a restaurateurs worst nightmare. You’ve spent months (perhaps years) preparing for your grand opening. You’ve selected the theme of your restaurant, picked the perfect location for success, and created a killer menu. While these are all vital steps in opening a restaurant, many owners overlook the importance of selecting the correct equipment. This oversight can lead to failed inspections and delays in your opening.  Here are 10 ways to make sure that you do not fall into this situation.

1- Talk to Your Local Health Inspector! Have a firm understanding of  the laws in your area and purchase accordingly. Customers always ask if a particular item needs to be under a hood- they shouldn’t be asking us. They need to ask their local health inspector because it depends on where they are located and what specific health laws need to be obeyed.

2- Talk to a Consultant! By communicating your needs and your business specifications your Consultant will verify that the equipment is the correct size and has the correct connection requirements. You may know what you WANT, but do you know what you NEED? That’s where a Consultant will come in and walk you through the steps to ensure a perfect transaction.

3- Follow the Instructions! If the instructions say “Professional Installation is Required” please heed this. So often we find out that equipment has been damaged making the warranty void because an owner thinks they can save a few dollars by installing the equipment themselves. (This also means do not hire an unlicensed handy man!)

4- Consider Your Usage!  While sometimes a lower priced product is just a lower price product, often it is a light duty piece of equipment that was never intended to withstand the rigors of a demanding restaurant kitchen. A product that may be a bit more expensive, on the other hand will generally be of comprised of better quality components and offer longer warranties. Know your usage and purchase accordingly.

5- Inspect Your Delivery! Would you take possession of a car without inspecting it for damages first? Of course not! We hope you’re doing the same when you accept a True® Refrigerator from a freight company. It is extremely important that you OPEN THE PACKAGE and inspect the product for package- don’t just inspect the outside of it. According to the policies of many carriers, once you sign for your shipment you are releasing them from all liability pertaining to the delivery of the package. So PAY ATTENTION and don’t feel rushed by the deliverer to just sign off without inspecting first. You can also ask your Consultant about insuring your shipment that will protect you from concealed damage (damages that you cannot see but occur as a result of the shipping)

6- Know Your Utility Requirements– Electric, Gas or Propane! Before you order a Range or Walk-In Cooler, ask your building contractor what voltage and phase your building has. It may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how often we get asked “Should I purchase a gas or electric unit?” The right question though is- “Does your building have a gas or electric supply?”

7- Understand the Function of the Equipment! An ice bin is not the same as an ice machine. The former holds ice and the latter makes ice. It’s small assumptions like this that can cost a restaurateur big bucks in the long run, so read the product description and ask your Consultant for more information if you are still unsure. Make sure the product is capable of holding the necessary capacity. Remember, it is always better that the equipment has a larger capacity than a smaller one.

8- To Warranty or Not to Warranty! Warranties are important but do not assume that anything that can go wrong with a product will be covered. Read the fine print, follow instructions, and take the proper steps to ensure that if there is a problem with your product it can be covered by the warranty. Generally a manufacturer offers a one-year warranty but you can upgrade to a long-term one that will cover the product for up to 5 years.

9- SPACE! Please review the spec sheet and measure the space where you will place the product. A fraction of an inch is all it takes to keep it from perfectly fitting. Another thing to consider is, do you have room for the equipment? You may want a new Espresso Machine for your Italian Bistro, but where will it go? You can do one of two things: Pick a product then designate a space for it OR Designate a space and then pick out a product that will fit.

10- Accessories! Accessories! Accessories! What accessories will you need to optimize the functionality of the equipment. For example when purchasing a griddle, you should also purchase a grill scraper to help you clean it. It is a very large scraper and therefore will cover a larger surface area than your standard grill scrapers. This simple accessory will give you a quicker turn over and therefore allowing you to make more money!  If you are purchasing a new Fryer, it is also recommended that you purchase a new gas hose to go with it. Specifically a “quick disconnect.” It is a simple accessory that is preferred by health inspectors in order to improve the functionality and cleanliness of the product.

We  hope you will consider these 10 factors before purchasing restaurant equipment. They should help mitigate the risks of having to make a product exchange or return. After all, the last thing you want is to delay your opening because you need to reconfigure your kitchen.

Did we miss any important tips? Don’t keep them to yourself! Share your comments below please!

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