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Most Common Problems with Commercial Ice Machines

Updated: Apr 26

For any restaurant, cafe, or food-service business, the refrigerator is the absolute most crucial part of the entire business: without it, the place simply cannot run. That’s why it is ever important to take great care of the refrigeration that you have. These great machines are built to truly hold their own and withstand use day in and day out, all the while regulating their temperature to keep their contents fresh for you.

ice maker repair, ice machines near me
Before and after: Slime in the ice machine

Because these pieces of equipment are so crucial to the food business, ich machines are used constantly! This means that we simply can’t avoid the fact that these machines will need some extra TLC and regular maintenance to keep them working well for you and your business.

Most common commercial ice machine problems

In our experience as technicians, we find that we come across a lot of the same problems with commercial ice machines. These units are usually used quite a bit and some people have the tendency to look over or forget their maintenance needs. Here, we will lay out some common issues, why they happen, and when it’s time to call in a professional.

Ice buildup

This is a big one! The buildup of ice can point to a problem with the defrost cycle that causes ice to stick and build up over time, which can obstruct the machine, lower the amount of ice you get, and make the machine work inefficiently as a whole. Over time, if left untreated, ice buildup can take over the whole freezer, rendering your machine useless. If this happens, it’s best to simply call a professional instead of troubleshooting, as ice buildup needs a professional to clean it up and assess any possible damage.

To prevent this from happening, regular maintenance check-ups as well as regular cleanings are required.

Condensation buildup

High humidity levels and leaking door seals can cause condensation buildup within the ice machine, among other factors. Condensation buildup can eventually cause damage to the ice maker but also opens the door to mold and mildew forming within the machine that can not only hurt the machine itself but can spread to clients or customers, causing illnesses, which can result in a whole new kind of headache as a business owner.

For leaks, it’s important to call for repair as soon as possible, as letting them go untreated puts your machine and your clientele at risk. Regular maintenance checkups can help prevent this from occurring and mitigate the damage if it does occur.

Water Quality

Depending on where your business is located, water quality can vary drastically. To help prevent issues related to poor water quality, a good commercial ice machine water filter can help filter out impurities and minerals that can build up and cause damage over time within the ice machine. By filtering the water, you can help prolong the life of your ice machine and prevent breakdowns in the long run. They not only filter but can also chlorine treat the water as it passes through to help keep your machine running nicely, produce quality ice, and protect patrons.

Likewise, poor water quality can result in biofilms within the ice machine, like algae. Biofilm is slimy and harbors bacteria. If the biofilm is present and left untreated, it can cause visible, tasteable, and smell-able effects. Prevent this with a water filter.

Dirty water filter

Likewise, you need to keep the water filter clean to enjoy its full effects! Since these filters are catching a lot of impurities over time, this can build up within the filter itself. Because of this, the water filter can become clogged which can cause the machine to completely stop working altogether, or work at a much lower efficiency which can decrease ice output and result in higher energy bills, as the machine will be working harder and longer to overcome a clogged water filter.

Keeping the filter clean is a surefire way to prevent breakdowns and to make sure that the ice that’s being produced is of good quality, as well as avoiding the dreaded stinky ice phenomenon.

Call us

Have questions about commercial ice machines, refrigeration, or maintenance? Start right here by giving us a call here at Tri-Point Refrigeration and we would be ecstatic in helping you keep your fridges and any other machines in tip-top shape! We’re excited to help you along the way, and with 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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