Did you know that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies ice as a food? That means the ice machine in your business needs to be cleaned and maintained regularly, just like any other piece of commercial kitchen equipment.
The FDA specifies that all commercial ice machines need to be cleaned at least two times per year, but they also recommend sanitizing it four times a year to meet food safety standards. That said, the more often it’s cleaned, the better—especially if it’s used frequently.
This post will provide answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding ice machine maintenance.
What happens if you don’t clean your ice machine?
The main reason to regularly clean your ice machine is to prevent a buildup of bacteria and mold that can make patrons and employees sick. While mold and germs don’t necessarily thrive on the ice itself, they can grow in the warm water that feeds the ice machine.
Legionella bacteria is one of the scariest germs that’s been found in ice machine water. Legionella can cause an illness called Legionnaires’ disease, which can be deadly. A patient at a Pittsburgh hospital died in 2014 after contracting Legionnaires’—she contracted the disease after eating contaminated ice.
Ice machine maintenance can also prolong the lifespan of your unit and prevent breakdowns and subsequent repairs. Cleaning your ice machine can save you tons of money and literally save lives.
What does cleaning an ice machine entail?
Great care needs to be taken while cleaning your ice machine. Cleaning should begin with sanitizing the water that feeds the ice machine. Next you’ll need to scrub the condenser and replace the external water filter. Then inspect the inlet water valve for blockages, and ensure the bearing and auger look good to go.
Components like wires and fasters need to be inspected to ensure they’re not loose or fraying anywhere. Then check that all of the moving parts and gears are properly lubricated. Empty the ice bin, and scrub it clean before finally wiping down the exterior of the machine with the recommended cleaning solution.
Should you clean your machine by yourself?
Because they know how important it is, most manufacturers provide cleaning instructions for their ice machines; so, while you could clean your machine yourself by following the instructions, we recommend hiring a professional to clean and maintain your ice machine.
Bringing in a pro ensures that the machine will be completely sanitary and safe to use. Additionally, a professional can inspect your unit to ensure that it’s in working order and won’t kick the bucket anytime soon.
How can American Refrigeration Inc. help you?
In addition to our HVAC work, we specialize in repairs, maintenance and installation for all sorts of refrigerated commercial products—including ice machines. That means we’re your go-to team for any of your ice machine maintenance or cleaning needs. Contact our professionals today to get a quote or to learn more about how we can assist your business.