Hoodmart may specialize in restaurant exhaust equipment but that doesn’t mean our knowledge of commercial kitchens begins and ends there. One of the things that we always urge our clients to remember is that cleaning and maintaining their ice machine isn’t just important – it’s cost effective. We’re surprised by how often people don’t know that federal law mandates it and that not properly caring for their ice machine can result in fines of as much as half a million dollars.
Start by inspecting your ice machine
To get started, check the temp in your unique, make sure the controls and wiring appear to be in good condition, look for corrosion on fasteners, check your water distributor parts, water hoses, water valve, water sensors, thermistors, etc. If you notice anything off either clean or replace it yourself, or call in your local refrigeration experts.
Move on to cleaning and servicing your ice machine
Before you get started, turn off the machine, disconnect it from the power supply, and disconnect the water supply. Get rid of ice, drain the water, and take the machine apart. Look at all parts that touch water and make sure there isn’t any type of slime or mold.
Take a look at the evaporator plates and get rid of any iron, calcium, or iron buildup. Flush your water system, circulate your chosen cleaning solution through the system to get rid of any contaminants. Then take out every removable part and clean it with a brush to get rid of any mold. Use a soft cloth for o-rings and gaskets to prevent damage. Pressure clean the ice storage bin.
Get rid of any grease or debris that’s hanging onto your condenser coil. Once everything is clean, sanitize it with a commercial solution. Make sure that your thoroughly wash your hands when you’re handling anything that’s been sanitized to assure you don’t re-contaminate it. Finally, wipe down the outside of the unit and clear away anything that’s preventing the ice machine from getting optimal air flow.
End by restarting your ice machine
Once you’ve completed all the tasks on the cleaning schedule, put the ice machine back together and connect it back to both the power and water supplies. Adjust your ice level sensor where you need it and then pay attention to two cycles to see how long it takes to freeze and harvest. The first batch of ice that comes after the cleaning should be thrown away because it may contain residual cleaning chemicals.