Very few restaurants want to face ice machine repairs in Delaware. The process is often messy, and if you do not have a backup machine, you are serving drinks without ice. Fortunately, there are practices you can encourage in your restaurant that will reduce the likelihood of future repairs. Here are six of these:
- Keep it clean: Sanitation is the primary reason why ice machines need professional attention. Food safety laws require regular cleaning, so this is something you should be doing anyway. Clean the machine once a month using an antimicrobial cleaner. Remove any scaling. Lint and grease in condensers can transfer to the ice, so be sure to clean that out, too. Consider keeping the ice machine away from the cooking line, since that will introduce contaminants, especially those of the greasy variety.
- Get professional intervention on mold: Regular cleaning should reduce the possibility of mold and mildew, but if you develop this problem, it will be difficult to remove. Do not risk addressing this on your own, since that can result in serious problems, health department fines and sick customers. Call us immediately to address the mold and be prepared to possibly replace your ice machine. This is often a better-safe-than-sorry development.
- Sanitize regularly: Even if you clean your ice machine, sanitizing it is also necessary. Bacteria is hardy and can reproduce in the moist environment, even after you clean. If you suspect contamination, even if you cleaned recently, sanitize the ice machine again.
- Take food handling precautions: Ice is food like anything else in your restaurant. Encourage the use of ice scoops so employees are not handling the ice directly. Keep the scoops outside the bin on a tray so the handle does not touch the ice. You will want a tray made of fiberglass, stainless steel or impervious plastic so it does not also become a bacteria breeding ground.
- Keep ice machines closed: Never open the ice machine unless you are getting ice. That will leak out the cold and raise your utility bills, but also allow contaminants in. You need to pay attention to odors and discoloration in your ice machine, just as you do with refrigerators and freezers. Take precautions to avoid contamination, but also pay attention since catching it early increases your chances of preserving the ice machine.
- Use water filters: Installing water filters results in better-tasting and safer ice. They remove some microbes and reduce scaling, which increases your ice production. If you install filters, replace them every six months for fresh ice. Replace them more frequently if you notice blockage or sediment. That can happen in areas with very hard water or if your ice machine needs to be cleaned thoroughly. We recommend having your ice machine cleaned and serviced before you start using filters. That way, you literally start them fresh.
Even with good maintenance, restaurants will still often need ice machine repairs in Delaware. Call Commercial Equipment Service when you need assistance repairing or maintaining your ice machine.