Preventive maintenance is a necessity if you want to maintain ice maker parts and your ice maker’s ice supply. During a preventive maintenance visit, an ice machine technician looks for potential problems within the machine and corrects them, avoiding big repairs. Something as small as a frayed wire can create a domino effect within the machine that can disable vital ice machine components.
At Ice-Masters, we’ve been servicing ice machines in the Kansas and Missouri area for over 70 years. There isn’t an ice machine issue we haven’t addressed. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ice machine components that can lead to expensive repairs.
Ice Machine Evaporators
An ice machine’s evaporator is one of the most important ice maker parts within the refrigeration system. Ice cold refrigerant makes its way to the evaporator where it freezes water into square ice, crescent ice, or other types of ice.
Once the ice is formed, the evaporator releases the cubes, where they sit in a storage container, like and ice bin, until ready for use. Different brands of ice machine use varying methods to release ice cubes off the evaporator plate. For example, Hoshizaki ice makers rely on water harvest to release the cubes. Manitowoc ice makers use a hot gas valve (another expensive ice machine component to repair) to redirect hot gas created during the ice-making process to the evaporator. From there, the machine uses the gas to heat the evaporator until the ice falls off.
There are a number of issues that can lead to big repair costs. They include:
- Warping of the plate
- The plate separating
- Nickel plating on the evaporator stripping off
- Separator rows falling out
Ice machine repairs on evaporators can cost thousands of dollars to fix. Evaporator repairs for large ice makers can become so expensive, many times it’s actually cheaper to just buy a new commercial ice machine altogether. The best way to prevent these repairs is through routine maintenance – like we provide here at Ice-Masters.
Ice Machine Evaporator Chamber
As the machine runs, water fills the evaporator chamber. As refrigerant reaches the chamber, the walls of the chamber become ice-cold. As water freezes to chamber walls, the auger scrapes the ice off and stores it in the ice bin.
The biggest issue that can occur with these units involves the upper or lower bearings of the auger. Sometimes, these bearings can move out of place, misaligning the auger and causing it to strip the walls of the evaporator chamber. Users will hear a loud, screeching metal sound, as the auger begins to scrape along the chamber walls.
Bearing replacements are also expensive and cost thousands of dollars. In some instances, the repairs are simply not worth the cost – forcing the owner to buy a new machine.
Ice Machine Compressors
An ice machine’s compressor helps to pressurize refrigerant as it moves through the refrigeration system. When pressurized, refrigerant takes the form of hot vapor. Eventually, that refrigerant makes its way to the condenser, where it cools down.
When it comes to an ice machine compressor, there are many things that can cause it to fail. Electrical surges can harm the compressor – which will cause the ice machine to break down. Increased stress from running the compressor for too long can also lead to failures. Overwork is normally the result of a dirty ice maker, which take longer to produce a batch of ice due to dust and dirt that clings to the Ice machine condenser. Excessive heat or low ventilation around an ice machine can also cause the compressor to work overtime.
There are a few symptoms that signify a bad compressor. They include:
- Compressors sucking air
- Rattling sounds coming from the compressor
- Screeching sounds (think metal-on-metal)
Ice machine compressor repairs can be very expensive. The average compressor repair can cost thousands when you factor in ice maker parts, and labor, as well. Many warranties will cover the cost of the compressor, but they won’t include labor.
Ice Machine Condenser
Condensers are ice maker parts that cool refrigerant down so it can be used to freeze a batch. Condensers consist of a series of coils. As refrigerant passes through the coils, it cools, eventually converting from a high-pressure vapor into a high-pressure liquid.
Condensers in air cooled ice machines tend to attract a lot of dust because of the fan they use to move surrounding air over the coils. The air absorbs the heat coming off the condenser and forces it out of the unit. If the air has a lot of dust or other particulates in it, those particles can cling to the condenser. Eventually all that dust and dirt form a thick covering over the coils. The covering insulates the heat within the refrigerant, causing the industrial ice machine to work harder to create a batch of ice.
Water cooled ice machine condensers use water to absorb the heat within a condenser, but that doesn’t mean they don’t run into problems. Scale produced from hard water cling to the condenser creating an insulating cover as well. This can be a big problem in Kansas, since many places within the state suffer from high-mineral water.
Fin degradation is another common issue with condensers. Over time, fins surrounding the condenser can begin to warp, bend, or rust. Sometimes the fins become so malformed they can’t return to their original shape. Much like a dusty condenser, damaged fins can hinder the machine’s ability to release hot air.
A Good Technician Can Save You Money When Repairing Ice Maker Parts
A good technician always considers the end user’s needs in mind. The best ice machine technicians always look to save the business owner money wherever they can. If an ice maker part is covered by warranty, a good technician will work to get those repairs covered.
Experience is also a money-saving factor when looking for a good technician. Much of the cost that goes into repairing ice maker parts involves the time it takes to service the machine. Skilled ice machine technicians take less time to perform a repair than a technician who is new to commercial ice machines.
Finally, when searching for an ice machine service, honesty goes a long way. Complicated ice machine repairs might not be worth performing. An honest technician should always inform the owner when it would be cheaper to buy a new ice machine, rather than spend thousands to keep a unit running for another year or so.
At Ice-Masters, we’ve been serving Kansas and Missouri businesses since 1950. Our Ice Machine Experts are some of the most experienced technicians in the industry. We provide full maintenance, cleaning, and repairs on the industry’s leading commercial ice equipment.
If you’re looking for a new machine, our all-inclusive ice machine rentals take the hassle out of owning a unit. We provide the best commercial ice machines from Hoshizaki and Manitowoc. We also take care of all ice machine parts with routine maintenance, cleaning, and repairs. If there’s ever a problem with the machine, we’ll replace the it at no additional cost to you. Looking for the easiest ice machine solution around? Contact us today!