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Guide for Where NOT to Install an Ice Machine

Updated: May 21

Your ice machine is a temperamental piece of equipment: it follows a strict set of rules, and it is picky. Stray from what your machine likes, and you might be in a world of (financial) hurt!

stack of ice from a commercial ice machine

The best way to keep your machine happy and functioning is to start by putting it in the right spot. Commercial ice machines can end up in a lot of places if you’re working with a restaurant: in the kitchen, in the walk-in, and maybe even outside. It may not seem obvious, but these popular placements can be the equivalent of putting your machine in a shallow grave.

Ice machines have a Goldilocks Zone–a term coined by NASA to describe a habitable zone on a planetary scale–meaning that the placement of your ice machine truly counts. It wants to be comfortable, and if it’s not, it will act up. Now, what does an ice machine’s Goldilocks Zone look like? Commercial ice machines function at their absolute best when it’s kept in an environment with a stable temperature. Ideally, your machine should be getting water intake at 50 degrees, more or less, as well as a surrounding temperature fluttering around 70 degrees. If those temperatures go up or down too frequently, your machine will be working overtime and yield mediocre results–not to mention the risk of damage which means costly repairs.

That being said, we’re here to give you a few pointers on where to avoid placing your commercial ice machine. As stated above, anywhere the temperature changes too frequently and drastically is a big red flag. That means you can avoid places like kitchens, outdoor bars, sheds, and concession stands. A quick rule of thumb: if it’s outside, absolutely not!

Of course, if you’re keeping your ice machine away from the outdoors and the kitchen, that means you’re going to want to keep it away from any heat-emitting machinery in general. That includes things like grills, heat lamps, and even dishwashers.

We’ve covered temperatures–what else? Ventilation. If your ice machine is air-cooled, (and we’ll be it is–those are the most common) it must be placed somewhere where it can get adequate ventilation. Ice machines can ironically give off tons of heat, and you don’t want that to stay and fester. Without proper ventilation, the unit will suck the hot air back into the system, which raises its internal temperature and can potentially cause a whole host of other problems.

You want to avoid anywhere where your machine doesn’t have enough space around it to ventilate well. That means no closed-up spaces, closets, or perfectly-sized cubbies that you’re itching to put that machine flush into.

On par with tight spaces causing ventilation problems, it also causes unnecessary hassle when servicing time comes around. Your ice machine should be serviced regularly, (and can be put on a plan right here with us at Tri-Point Refrigeration) and if the machine is just so snuggly fit into a cubby or tight corner, it can make it ever-difficult to reach important pieces of the machine that need inspecting, cleaning, or servicing. If in these tight spaces, it could cost your technician more time, thus potentially costing your wallet more bucks. Save some coins by keeping your machine free from walls.

The best way to make sure that your machine is placed just right is to plan its placement ahead of time. Keeping functionality in mind above all else will ensure your machine's success, as well as ensure that no unnecessary harm befalls your investment. The right placement will allow your ice machine to work smoothly and deliver the best product to you and your customer.

Not sure where to begin? Start right here by giving us a call here at Tri-Point Refrigeration and we would be ecstatic in helping you in your ice machine journey! We’re excited to help you along the way, and our professional technicians can help find the perfect spot for your machine. With good placement and regular servicing, we can keep your equipment running smoothly and healthily, while also extending the reach of your dollar.

For a direct line to any of our employees ready on the line to help you, please call…(512) 651-4565 for our Austin, Texas community (806) 686-0050 for our Lubbock, Texas community. Or check out our website at


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