Repair person working on ice machine wires

Olivia MarcyBuying An Ice Machine, Ice Machine Care, Maintenance & Cleaning, Renting an Ice Machine, Restaurants & Commercial Kitchens

Commercial Ice Machine Repair: The Most Expensive Ice Maker Components To Replace


Commercial ice machine repairs seem to come out of nowhere, and pack a punch where it hurts most—in your wallet. Thankfully, you can take steps to avoid expensive repairs through preventative maintenance. Consistent ice machine maintenance goes a long way to prevent sudden machine failure, saving you money from equipment downtime and hefty repair costs in the future.

The Most Expensive Ice Machine Components To Replace


If your commercial ice maker goes down and one of these components is the culprit, steel yourself. You’re likely to face a parts and service bill that you won’t like the number on. 

Ice Machine Condenser


What Is A Condenser?

A condenser is a series of coils that refrigerant passes through. As it moves through the coils, the refrigerant cools down and converts from low-pressure vapor into high-pressure liquid. There are several types of condensers: air-cooled, water-cooled, and remote-cooled. 

What Can Go Wrong With A Condenser

Air-cooled condensers usually attract dust through the fans it uses to move air over the condenser coils. Without regular cleaning, dust blankets the condenser coils and traps heat within the refrigerant, making your ice machine work twice as hard to cool down.

Water-cooled ice machine condensers use water to absorb heat. While you won’t have to worry about dust, you do need to make sure the water pumped into the condenser isn’t hard water or mineral-rich. Minerals from water can build up on the condenser coils and create the same insulating effect as dust, and your machine will be overworked.

Finally, if you live in areas with high humidity, you’ll need to keep an eye on your ice machine condenser fins. These fins surround the condenser warp and they’re subject to warping, bending, and rusting when exposed to high humidity levels. Once fin degradation has set in, they can’t be reformed into their original shape and your condenser won’t be able to release hot air out of your ice machine.


How To Prevent Condenser Failure

Routine cleaning is your best ally to beat condenser buildup in your commercial ice machine. Consistency is key to keep dust and mineral buildup away, so consider enrolling in a preventative maintenance program that ensures regular cleaning.

Related: Why NOW Is The Time To Clean Your Ice Machine


Ice Machine Compressor


What Is A Compressor?

Ice machines need compressors to pressurize refrigerant as it moves through the refrigeration system. Pressurized refrigerant is a hot gas vapor that moves into the condenser to cool, where it freezes water in the evaporator.

"Condenser vs compressor confusion? Here’s a breakdown of the different component functions: the compressor squeezes gaseous refrigerant, while the condenser converts the refrigerant gas into liquid."


What Can Go Wrong With A Compressor

Ice machine compressors tend to fail when they’re overworked, or when there’s an electrical surge that causes the component to shut down. 

To avoid overworking your compressor, make sure your ice machine is clean. A dusty, dirty ice maker takes longer to produce ice, which puts a strain on your compressor. In addition to cleaning your ice machine, make sure the area around it is well ventilated. Poor air circulation can cause the compressor to put in extra effort, shortening its lifespan.

Telltale signs of compressor failure include:

  • The compressor is sucking in air
  • Unusual sounds coming from your compressor like rattling, or a metal-on-metal screeching noise

How To Avoid Compressor Failure


The cost of replacing your commercial ice machine compressor can run into the thousands—and that’s not including labor. So it’s well worth the time and investment to make sure your compressor isn’t overworked. To maintain your compressor, clean your ice machine regularly, make sure your ice maker is in a well-ventilated space, and make sure your electrical outlet can support the needs of your equipment. 

Related: Memphis Commercial Refrigeration Repair, Maintenance & Installation: Your Ultimate Guide


Ice Machine Evaporator


What Is An Evaporator?

In terms of ice production, the evaporator is the single most important component of your commercial ice machine. The evaporator’s job is to use all that ice-cold refrigerant to freeze, form, and release the ice into cubes, pellets, bullets, chips, or nuggets. It also falls to the evaporator to release the ice into the ice dispenser where it waits to be scooped out.

What Can Go Wrong With An Evaporator?

The evaporator plate is where the action is for an ice machine, so if it goes bad, ice production freezes (and not in a good way). The big dollar repairs you’ll want to keep an eye on include:

  • The evaporator plate warping or separating
  • Plating from the evaporator stripping off
  • Evaporator separator rows loosening and falling out 

Since the evaporator is a critical component of your ice machine, it’s no surprise that evaporator repairs can creep into the thousands of dollars.


How To Avoid Evaporator Failure

Again, preventative maintenance is your friend when it comes to taking care of your evaporator. An ice machine’s parts are all connected, so a strain on one component causes undue stress on another component. Routine maintenance ensures that your ice machine parts are clean and working in unison.

Ice Machine Evaporator Chamber


What Is An Evaporator Chamber?

Most commercial ice machines don’t have an evaporator chamber. The exceptions are specialty ice makers like flake ice machines and commercial nugget ice machines (AKA “sonic ice”). The evaporator chamber on these machines uses an auger system that harvests ice off the walls of the chamber, creating the unique ice shape everyone loves.

What Can Go Wrong With An Evaporator Chamber

The auger system uses upper and lower bearings. If either of these bearings are out of place, the auger will be misaligned with the evaporator chamber walls and will scrape the metal off the inside of your ice machine. 

How To Avoid Evaporator Chamber Damage

You’ll know when your evaporator chamber is being damaged by the high-pitched screech of metal-on-metal. When you hear that sound, you’ll likely need to replace the bearings in your auger system which, you guessed it, is in the upward range of a thousand dollars. 

Preventing evaporator chamber damage is as simple as routine maintenance to ensure your bearings are in place and the auger system is aligning correctly to harvest ice.

Related: 5 Ways To Make Sure You Buy Good Restaurant Equipment


How To Avoid Expensive Ice Machine Repairs


Preventative Maintenance


We can’t overemphasize the importance of preventative maintenance for the longevity of your ice machine (and your business’s bottom line). Routine cleaning, inspection, and maintenance are your best defense against costly kitchen equipment repairs. Most people will agree that an occasional minor expense is preferable to a sudden unexpected repair that disrupts your business. 

At Memphis Ice, we make preventative maintenance easy. When you enroll in our preventative maintenance program, you don’t have to keep track of cleaning. Choose the schedule that fits your business, and we’ll be there every time to keep your ice machine clean.


Renting A Commercial Ice Machine


Renting a commercial ice machine is just like owning your own equipment, but better! You get a reliable supply of ice for your business without the hassle of repairs. Our Ice Machine Rental Program gives you the freedom to run your business the way you want, without the stress of ice machine repairs or the fear of running out of ice. If your rented machine breaks down or stops making ice, we guarantee your ice supply—even if we have to deliver it ourselves. 

Get Reliable Parts, Repairs, and Commercial Ice Machine Equipment from Memphis Ice Machine Company


We know your food service business needs a reliable partner to ensure your refrigeration equipment is running smoothly. When you partner with Memphis Ice Machine Company, we make sure your business is taken care of with expert service and repairs, ice machine parts, and professional guidance for choosing the right equipment for your restaurant. Schedule a call today to ask questions, get a quote, and learn how the ice pros at Memphis Ice can help your business grow!

Let's Break The Ice!Contact us today to get a quote
Get A Quote Today!
No need for a meltdown—we're here for all your questions