Don’t Sacrifice Your Ice Machine Maintenance
When it comes to Commercial Ice Machines, cleanliness is no joke. The restaurant business is full of horror stories about commercial ice machines that haven’t been cleaned for years at a time, which is both unsanitary for patrons and decreases the longevity of the machine. So how do we reduce scale build up, slime, and bacteria? It comes down to preventative maintenance and consistent upkeep. But what does that mean and why is it such a big deal?
When cutting corners could easily turn an asset into a drain, it’s best to schedule a monthly inspection to make sure everything is running smoothly. Make a list of key areas to examine and set a time eat month to confirm that everything on track These machines are full of removable parts to make cleaning and fixing quicker than it used to be, but taking the time to assess your commercial ice machine is still as important as ever. Doing so will allow you to catch issues soon after they arise, saving you time and money in the long run.
Many commercial ice machines now have automatic cleaning systems, so look into the models available for your unit. Some can even be set to dispense either cleaner or sanitizer, which control mineral buildup such as limescale or airborne bacteria like algae depending on your needs.
Virtually everyone has taken a sip of water at a restaurant and made a face at the taste. Hard water leaves an impression, and not one business owners want to be making.
When a water filter isn’t replaced at least every 6 months, the machine loses its ability to sift the sediments and minerals from the water, leaving it effectively untreated. While a patron can’t always tell that the ice isn’t clean and clear, it can sour their beverage experience by, well, leaving a bad taste in the mouth.
Scale buildup is an inconvenience at best, and a nursery for nasty bacteria at worst, but there are ways to limit its reach. WaterSense is a program created by the Environmental Protection Agency to foster water efficiency and save energy. In the spirit of reducing kitchen water use to save on costs and promote green energy, they created an purification filter to make it easier for restaurant owners to keep their commercial ice machines running.
Health and sanitation should be a given, but it isn’t as straightforward as you might think. As far as a tool of choice, it can be something as simple as a toothbrush or nylon brush. Depending on the machine, you may want to invest in a specialty brush to give yourself an easier time. Find a brush or pad that is abrasive enough to scrub thoroughly without the danger of scratching. Any gouges in the metal is more likely to be a home for bacteria.
You may have a sanitation provider or choose to take care of it independently, but when choosing your solution, make sure that the concentration of phosphoric acid is less than 30%. Otherwise, it’s possible to erode any stainless steel elements of your unit, once again decreasing the lifespan of your unit. Both mistakes would defeat the purpose of preventative maintenance.
The alternative treatments that are meant to make the cleaning process easier, such as ozone water treatment, ultraviolet lights, and chlorine sachets, don’t do much to protect against scale build up. So don’t rely too heavily on these options until better technology develops.
There may be no getting around the dirty work, but there are ways to minimize the hassle. Water filters will substantially reduce the need to remove scale build up. Most importantly, you are ensuring recurring revenue in the form of a satisfied returning customer while also creating a safe, refreshing place your customers will want to come back to.