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5 Worst Locations To Install Your New Ice Machine


Choosing the right ice machine can be hard. Choosing where you can actually put it can be even harder. Where can you install your new ice machine so it produces the ice it’s meant to? 

The risks of installing your machine in the wrong location are costly, yet totally avoidable. At Memphis Ice we want two things for our customers: complete satisfaction and getting what they pay for. The worst-case scenario for our customers is a bad install environment that creates frustration and buyer’s remorse. It’s why we wrote this blog. We’re experts when it comes to preventative maintenance. Think of this blog as preventative maintenance to that reactive maintenance you’ll need from us if your machine is installed in a bad spot.

Here are the 5 worst locations to install your new ice machine. This applies to you whether you’ve bought your machine outright or rented from us with our robust rental program. For as little as $4 a day, you can have all the crystal clear ice your customers need when you rent your ice machine from Memphis Ice.


1. Poorly Ventilated Indoor Rooms


Proper airflow is essential. Little ventilation space for an ice machine equals expensive repairs and a shortened lifespan. 

If your machine is air cooled, it needs space to intake and dissipate heat. An ice machine is a big hunk of metal and plastic, but inside are all of the components running at peak efficiency to produce the ice you need. No ventilation reduces that efficiency by trapping heat within the ice machine itself. This humid, self-perpetuating microclimate exists within and around the ice machine, but it’s tricky to detect unless you’re routinely inspecting your machine. So, make sure you do that on a regular basis

Whether you’re just about to schedule an install or already have your machine on site, your machine needs at least 8-12 inches of space all around for proper air intake and airflow. 

One more tip here: don’t use the top or sides of your ice machine as storage. Yes, some machines are big enough to be used as storage on the top. And you can even buy products that create side storage. Don’t. That added surface area is a feature, not a waste. It’s used to transfer heat away from the ice-making process!


2. Rooms With Varying Ambient Temperature


Heat is your frenemy. Sometimes a nice warm day is just what you need. Other times, on a blisteringly hot day it’s your ice machine’s worst enemy! If you’re planning to produce commercial volumes of ice on a daily basis, your machine needs a controlled environment. Consistent temperature and low humidity is the name of the game. If your install space is air-cooled, aim for 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit in ambient room temperature. Air conditioning comes in real handy here. Any hotter and you’ll experience the common symptoms associated with higher operating temperatures, such as reduced production. 

Here’s a few environments that can wreak havoc on ice machines:

  • Hot Kitchens. It might be easy to have your ice machine where all of the food preparation happens. But it’s not ideal for your ice machine. 
  • Outdoor eating areas, such as a bar: outdoor bars are good fun. Just not for your ice machine.
  • Storage sheds: only put your ice machine inside one of these if you want to hotbox it. You’ll have a dead ice machine in record time.

3. Closets, Pantries, Walk-Ins Oh My!


Out of sight out of mind sounds all well and good. Just not for your poor new ice machine. Before you know it, it’s repair time. You’re left footing a bill that could’ve been easily avoided. How? Well for starters, don’t install your ice machine in a closet. You could have the biggest walk-in closet, storage area, or pantry imaginable. Don’t install your ice machine in there. 

This ties into what we mentioned before—bad airflow. It gets stuffy real quick in closets. So right there’s reason enough not to closet your machine. But there’s one more reason and it’s a bit of a selfish one for us: it’s much much harder to service and repair. 

Most closets are a tight fit. What if there’s a problem? What if it’s time for your annual or bi-annual maintenance? How exactly does a service technician get in there to do their job with minimal service disruption? The short answer is that it’s going to take more time than it needs to. Either the closet’s getting rearranged for the needed space to do our job, the machine’s getting moved to a different temporary space, or worst case the machine needs to be de-installed. Either way, that’s an extended disruption that doesn’t need to happen. 

Side note: for folks who rent ice machines from us, if there’s ever any extended production issues with ice machine repairs, we’ll deliver ice to you at no extra charge. It’s something to keep in mind if space is tight.


4. Next To That Hot Oven


This one can be a true ice machine killer. Maybe you’ve paid close attention to ambient temperatures. That tip not to use your ice machine as extra storage? You listened! Nice job. But there’s a big blind spot ice machine renters or owners tend to miss: other appliances get hot too. 

This ties into airflow yet again. Are you realizing how important that is? Truly the difference between peak efficiency and regular repairs. Any appliance that is reaching higher than ambient temperature, like an oven, grill, heat lamp, or dishwasher just to name a few, can negatively impact the efficiency and health of your ice machine. 

Would you believe it if I told you some people store their machines right next to their furnaces? It’s true! Highly unrecommended on that one. We understand space can be limited. Do your absolute best to build a floorplan that is both best for your working space and your equipment. Otherwise, it’s about to be repair city in your business and not ice city.


5. Anywhere Outside


Spoiler alert, it gets hot in Memphis. Some years proudly feature over 30 days of temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. First off, no. Too hot. Second, that sustained heat is a death rattle for even the best ice machine money can buy. 

Think about a car: when one part fails, it can have a cascading effect that drastically reduces car performance. The same applies to any ice machine. Outdoor environments cause ice machine components to fail faster. Make sense?

An often overlooked feature of any ice machine is the ice maker bin. They’re not refrigerated, like many think—they’re insulated. That’s a big difference. When there’s a consistent, ambient temperature in your install room, you have nothing to worry about. That changes outside. High temperatures create a fun little melt and freeze cycle in the ice maker bin. Which do you prefer: nice crystal clear ice that your customers will love, or a football-sized ice blob grafted to the bottom of the bin? All of that melting and refreezing trickles down since ice bins are designed to use the oldest ice first.


Install In the Best Location Possible With Memphis Ice, a Trusted Full-Service Distributor!


There you have it. That’s the 5 worst locations to install your new ice machine. If we had to pick the most important one to remember, it’s airflow. Above all else, your air-cooled machine needs space to breathe. That doesn’t always apply to water-cooled machines, though. That’s a different machine for a different blog! 

If you’re ready to talk about buying or renting your next ice machine, we’re here to help you identify the ice machine for your needs and the best install space for your business. That way you get the ice your customers want at the price that’s right for your budget. Click here to contact our team of dedicated service technicians.



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