Ice Maker Installation: How to Avoid Dangerous Microclimates

Reading Time: 3 minutes Ice Machine Care

Ice Maker Installation

A lot can go wrong during an ice maker installation. Ice machines have drainage, electrical, and water needs, but if you own an air cooled ice maker, then they’ll also need space for ventilation. Ventilation helps to maintain your ice maker’s production rate and reduces the chances of expensive repairs.

When ice makers lack ventilation they can create a microclimate. Microclimates occur when hot air emitted from the ice maker is confined to a small space and can’t disperse. The air stays trapped around the machine and reenters the unit.

When microclimates occur, ice makers face the same problems they would if they are installed in a high-temperature room.

In this article, we’ll identify the best places to install an air-cooled ice machine so they have plenty of ventilation to run.

Consider Temperatures When Installing an Ice Maker

Let’s talk about the effects high temperatures have on industrial ice making equipment.

Ice makers get the best production in areas where the air temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit and the water temperature is at 50 degrees. As the air or water temperature rises, your ice maker’s production rate drops.

For example, if your ice maker is installed in a 90-degree room, it will produce less ice if it was in a 70-degree room.

When ice machines run in high heat for an extended amount of time, it will lower their lifespan. Prolonged exposure to high heat will lead to components breaking and expensive repairs.

How Do Microclimates Form?

Microclimates as a result of a bad ice maker installation.

Ice machines produce a lot of heat. Air-cooled ice machines use a fan to blow the heat out of the unit and disperse it into the surrounding environment. To do this, ice makers (especially large ice machines) need a good amount of space for hot air to move.

When an ice maker’s vents are blocked by nearby walls, boxes or other debris, the air has nowhere to go. The hot air lingers around the unit until it’s pulled back into the machine. The heat recirculates through the unit, creating a microclimate.

Microclimates aren’t easy to detect. A room can register 70-degrees and yet the air directly surrounding the machine is much higher.

Ice Maker Installation Tips

The best way to combat microclimates is through proper ice maker installation. You need to provide enough space to ensure that your machine can disperse heat into the surrounding environment.

Your first task is to find out where your ice machine’s vents are located. The location of the vent differs from model to model. Most ice machines have them on the back or sides of the machines.

Some undercounter ice machines have front-to-front ventilation, so you’ll find those on the bottom front of the unit.

When you’re installing your ice maker, make sure the vents have enough space for hot air to escape. We recommend ice machines have at least a foot of clearance on all sides of the machine – that includes the top of the machine as well.

If you have a small workplace with limited room, make sure you free up a foot of space by the ice machine’s vents at the very least.

Don’t Store Things on Your Ice Maker

Walls aren’t the only thing that can block ventilation. Other debris can also create a microclimate around your machine as well.

Many businesses we service will use their ice machine like a shelf. Storing boxes or containers on top of around your ice maker can limit airflow as well. Make sure to store your clutter belongs in a closet or pantry.

Proper Ice Machine Installation Will Prevent Microclimates

Remember, ice machines need space to operate effectively. Make sure it’s in an area with plenty of ventilation and cool temperatures throughout. Maintaining the space around your ice maker will maximize your ice production rate and help avoid costly repairs.

Here at Ice-Masters, we perform a thorough site survey to make sure your ice machine is installed under the proper conditions. We make sure ice makers run at maximum efficiency. Buy or try one of our ice equipment rentals, complete with ice machine maintenance, cleaning, and ice maker repair in the Kansas City area.

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