From being used in the manufacturing of colours, dyes, and herbicides, to being plunked one-by-one into an iced latte at your favourite café, commercial ice makers are used for different functions by businesses in almost every industry.

Keeping the costs of running an ice maker as low as possible is of utmost importance to maintaining a bottom line that encourages both profitability and performance. Whether you’re a restaurant or hotel owner offering sanctuary to sweltering customers, or a small-industrial business operator using ice machines for processing, storage, transport, or manufacturing purposes, here is what you need to know about choosing the right ice maker for your business.

What kinds of ice machines can I choose from?

According to ENERGY STAR, certifiers of some of the most energy-efficient equipment on the market, commercial ice makers can be divided into two types of equipment including “batch type” and “continuous type”, both of which can help your business lower energy costs. What’s the difference?

Batch type ice makers function using alternating freezing and harvesting periods and are generally used to produce the ice used in the foodservice industry to cool down beverages (patio goers rejoice). These units are 15% more efficient then standard models and can save your business more than $130 in energy costs. Note however, that models that meet the new ENERGY STAR criteria can save your business an additional $40/year and 6,300 gallons of water a year.

As opposed to batch type units, continuous type ice makers use a continuous freeze and harvest process and include flake ice makers, producing ice that is often used in restaurant and retail food displays or industrial facilities. Businesses investing in ENERGY STAR certified continuous ice makers can save up to $160/year on utility bills.

Tips for purchasing your energy-efficient ice maker

A few years ago, we published a few tips to help business owners understand energy-efficient ice machines but in case you forgot, here are a handful of things to keep in mind then selecting the best (and most energy-efficient) ice maker for your business:

  • Air-cooled machines use more energy but less water. As well, air-cooled units can increase air-conditioning costs for the area where the unit is located. Water-cooled machines are quieter than air-cooled models.
  • Depending on the end-use, consider buying a machine that makes “waffles” of ice cubes, rather than individual cubes. The waffles are more efficient to make, and generally break apart when they fall into the storage container.
  • Make sure you’re buying the right-sized unit for your facility. Either too small or too large can result in wasted energy.

Keep your ice maker clean and running as efficiently as possible

Keeping your ice maker clean is part of ensuring your unit is running efficiently and using as little energy as possible. Food Service Equipment and Supplies suggests that for your ice machine to operate in good condition, it’s important to remember the following:

  • Remove the ice from the bin and wipe down surfaces with mild cleanser
  • Run a nickel-safe cleaner through the machine (de-scale it)
  • Repeat the sanitization process with an EPA-approved sanitizer
  • Brush down the condenser to ensure maximum ice production
  • Replace water filters every six months to maintain quality and protect evaporator from buildup

If this is too much for you to remember, consider a self-cleaning model, which uses more water but reduces maintenance time and costs!

Questions or comments about buying an energy-efficient ice maker? Leave them below!

image credit: Duncan McNeil