Ice is a great way for an establishment to create some extra value for their clients and make some extra money on drinks. However, if your ice is not good or there is something that alters the flavor of your drinks, you might start losing customers. That is why good maintenance and sanitation of your ice machine is so crucial. You never want something as seemingly simple as ice to cost you money and damage your reputation. Choosing the right ice machine can go a long way towards making sure that your ice is always refreshing and complements your drinks perfectly.
Factors to Consider
Before shopping for a new ice machine, there are some factors you need to consider. For instance, you need to calculate the amount of ice you need so that you get a unit that makes enough for your operation. You will also need to consider the entire cost of owning an ice machine, not just the upfront cost. You must consider the energy, water, and even the amount of staff time needed to clean and maintain the unit. There are some ice machines that require a professional to handle all maintenance, which would be a large additional cost.
Types of Ice Machines
There are a few different types of ice machines that you should be aware of. For instance, there is the top-mounted ice dispenser. This machine is mounted, as the name would suggest, on top of a fountain dispenser. There is also the satellite-fill unit. This ice machine fills automatically. Ice is moved to different spots through a conduit, and is not touched by a human hand at all during the process. This cuts down on the risk of contamination and the risk of slipping and falling on dropped ice. There are also remote manual machines, which are the traditional ice machines that many of us used in the past. You simply make the ice and scoop it out.
Types of Cooling
There are couple of different ways that water can get cooled into ice. Some use water-cooled condensers. With this system, cold water is used to cool the ice. It generates less heat, but it uses a lot of water, and your bills will reflect that. Air-cooled machines are generally more energy efficient than water-cooled units. They still produce heat, but not as much. They are the only type of ice machines that can be certified by Energy Star.
Issues With Ice Machines
There are some issues for which you should always be on the lookout. Scale is what it is called when calcium and magnesium build up too much. This is often caused by hard water. Scale can affect the taste of the drink and can even cause harm to the machine if left too long. If mold or fungus are allowed to build up, then it can create a slime that is difficult to remove. This slime can greatly affect the taste of the water as well, and could cause people to get sick.
Cleaning and Sanitation Tips
There are several things you can do to keep your ice machine working properly and to extend its life as well. Make sure to keep any condensers clean, and clear away obstructions quickly. Many recommend checking condensers at least every two weeks. If there are obstructions, then the machine will have to work harder, meaning it will strain the unit and your utility bills. Once a week, make sure the ice chutes are clear and clean them thoroughly. There are also sanitizing products you can purchase to keep your machine safe from bacteria. Run it through twice to help remove blockages and sanitize the system.
Choosing the right ice machine can have a major impact on your business. For some, they want chewable ice, for instance. Make sure you get the right machine that will make ice your customers will appreciate.