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Cooper Mechanical Blog

How To Select an Ice Machine for Your Restaurant or Business

Posted by: Cooper MechanicalWednesday, April 05, 2017

If You’re in Food Service, You Need an Ice Machine 

The food, beverage, and hospitality industry is the cornerstone of the Grand Strand economy. From hotel restaurants to fast food operations to independently-owned catering businesses, nearly every food and beverage enterprise relies upon a quality ice machine. Cooper Mechanical Services is the Myrtle Beach area’s specialist for ice machine sales, service and cleaning. In this week’s post, we answer a few frequently asked questions about ice machines as well as the common questions we ask when helping customers. 

What Kind of Ice Machine Do I Need? 

You need an ice machine that suits your business’s needs. In order to find the right size and machine type, it’s important to estimate how much ice is needed per hour and per day. Since ice machines are categorized by quantity of ice produced in a day, knowing the size of your food/beverage business as well as how many customers you expect per day will help narrow down options for ice machines. For example, ice outputs on different sized machines may range from 200 lbs. per day to 1,000 lbs. per day. 

In addition to asking about ice output needs, we will also ask questions about your space. Do you have a small kitchen or size requirements? For example, ice machines range from counter top models to under counter models (like at a bar) to ice machine heads that can fix atop fountain drink machines. 

Our professionals will also inspect water supply and drain needs as well as electrical needs to make sure the ice machine you choose meets the water and electrical specifications. We also want to consider location and the surrounding temperature of your ice machine. An ice maker placed in the hottest part of the kitchen will have to work harder to maintain proper temperatures.  

Finally, what is your ice style preference? Do you want pellet/nugget ice, flakes, or cubes? Letting a Cooper professional assist you will ensure you get the right machine for your needs. 

What are the Different Types of Ice Machines? 

There are 3 main types of ice machines: air cooled, water cooled, and remote cooled. These different compressor types each have their own advantages and disadvantages, and they can represent different price points as well. 

Air Cooled machines are generally the most economical type of ice machine because they do not require additional water for cooling. You will need space for an air intake and discharge, but an air cooled machine is a popular solution for businesses with some clearance space and a controlled indoor climate under 80 degrees. 

Water Cooled machines use compressors with cold water running through a coil to cool the machine and produce ice. Water cooled ice machines may be ideal if it will be residing in a kitchen where temperatures can reach 80 degrees or have poor circulation.  

Remote Cooled machines have outdoor, air-cooled compressors and use refrigerant lines between the outside unit and the indoor ice machine. While the result is a much quieter ice machine inside, this is a more costly option because requires a more complex installation.  

What is the Biggest Issue with Ice Machines? 

In short, maintenance. Ice machines require routine cleaning, and a dirty ice machine will not make ice properly or even not at all. A clean sensor may light up, or you may just notice your machine not working normally.  Cooper Mechanical Services routinely service and clean all types of ice machines. When we do this, we disassemble the machine, sanitize the compressor and the ice cabinet, re-assemble and chemically clean on the machine’s clean cycle. 

Call Cooper. Stay Cool. 

Lukewarm sweet tea without ice? That’s a hard sell. No one wants to run out of ice. Call Cooper to find out what your needs and options are. We will find you the best machine for your budget and make sure it stays up and running.