The ice machine is the most essential and yet most dangerous piece of equipment in your restaurant. When things go wrong in your establishment, you need to act on ice machine repair in Eugene, OR before you make your patrons sick or expose employees to harmful elements. You may also avoid requiring most repairs in the first place by adopting these precautionary practices.
Sanitation is key
Most ice machine issues arise from sanitation shortcomings. Food safety laws and manufacturer recommendations indicate you need to perform a full cleaning and sanitation process at least two to four times per year. If you use your ice machine frequently and employees access it constantly, you may need to clean it at least every two months, or even once a month to be safe.
Use an antimicrobial cleaner and remove any scaling. Check for lint and grease in the condensers, as that can transfer to the ice as well. If your ice machine is near the cooking line, consider moving it, as that exposes it to additional contaminants.
Mold and mildew in the seals or even the box is more difficult to remove. In these cases, it is better to call in a professional, as it may be necessary to replace your ice machine.
Once there is contamination, the ice machine will preserve the bacteria and the inside moisture causes them to reproduce. Even if you only suspect contamination, it is prudent to sanitize immediately. While this is not convenient, it nearly eliminates the risk of a health disaster in your restaurant.
Treat ice like any other food
Using the same food handling procedures with ice as with any other edible will reduce the chance of contamination. Make ice scoops available and instruct employees to use them instead of reaching in and grabbing ice. Store scoops outside the bin so the handle is not touching the ice. Keep it on a tray made of fiberglass, impervious plastic or stainless steel so it does not attract additional germs.
Keeping the ice machine doors closed except for when removing ice will not just keep your utility bills under control. It will also keep dirt and contaminants out. Check for any signs of contamination with your ice machine, just as you would with refrigerators and freezers. Catching issues early means you can deal with them before they become problems. Finding mold in the door seals early, for example, means you actually have a chance of permanently removing it than if you let it fester for six months.
Use water filters
Filtered water produces better tasting ice as well as safer ice. Using filters will not remove all microbes, but it can reduce scaling and increases ice production, which will also mean less money spent on repairs. Ice will also have no odor, which will keep customers on your good side.
Filters are normally replaced every six months. If there is blockage or sediment, they will need to be replaced more frequently.
Despite careful attention to maintenance, you may still require ice machine repair in Eugene, OR. When that need arises, call American Refrigeration Inc. for cleaning, advanced maintenance and repair of your restaurant equipment.