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Olivia MarcyMaintenance & Cleaning

How Do Commercial Ice Makers Always Know When To Dump Ice? Mystery Solved!


Commercial ice makers are known for producing large quantities of ice quickly. But did you know that there’s a super cool mechanism inside your ice machine that makes it possible to produce high quality ice so quickly and consistently? That’s right, we’re examining the technical wonderland inside a commercial ice maker—specifically the dump cycle! 

What's A Dump Cycle?


In commercial ice machine lingo, a dump cycle refers to the crucial process in which the machine releases the freshly frozen ice cubes from the ice mold and into the awaiting ice bin or ice dispenser below. The ice machine “dumps” fresh ice into the ice storage bin, making continuous ice production possible. By freeing up space within the ice-making mechanism, the dump cycle enables the machine to generate a new batch of ice cubes. 

How Does An Ice Maker Know When To Start The Dump Cycle?


Inside a commercial ice machine, you’ll find all sorts of sensors and mechanisms. Most of these exist for a sole purpose: to determine the right time to initiate the dump cycle.

Many commercial ice machines use a temperature sensor located near the evaporator plate where the ice forms in the ice mold. When the ice reaches a certain thickness (depending on your ice type), the sensor detects a drop in freezer temperature and signals the ice maker to begin the dump cycle.


Note: Most residential ice machines use timers or water level sensors to regulate the ice production. The timer initiates the dump cycle at predetermined intervals or when the ice bin is nearing its capacity. 


Regardless of how the information is gathered—whether by sensor or timer, these mechanisms ensure that the ice machine releases the newly frozen cubes into the waiting ice bin below at the optimal time for consistent ice production.

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


Ice Maker Troubleshooting: The Dump Cycle


Dump cycle issues aren’t a common ice maker problem, but when your ice machine doesn’t release and harvest ice at the right time, there are pretty serious repercussions.

Slow Ice Production


If your ice machine’s dump cycle is out of whack, the biggest red flag will be slow ice production (or nonexistent ice). That’s because the line of communication between the sensors and the ice harvester has been disrupted. Your machine doesn’t know when the ice is fully frozen, and can’t relay that information to the ice harvester. The result: no ice when you need it. 

Related: Maximizing the Lifespan of Commercial Ice Machines: A Guide for Business Owners


How To Fix Slow Ice Production


There isn’t a DIY fix for your ice machine’s dump cycle. You can try restarting your ice machine, but you’ll most likely need to call in ice maker repair experts. 

This is because of the intricate network of sensors and mechanisms inside your machine. Those sensors can be pretty sensitive, so don’t start digging inside your machine unless you know what you’re looking for. Do yourself a favor and if your dump cycle is off, get a repair technician on site to look at the issue.


Memphis Ice Machine Company: Commercial Ice Machine Repair Technicians For The Mid-South!


Commercial ice makers are a great convenience for any business. But when your refrigeration equipment breaks down, you’ll likely feel super inconvenienced. 

That’s where the expert service, maintenance, and repair technicians come in. Our on-site repair team can swing by your location with the tools and talent to get your ice machine up and running again in no time. But take our advice, and don’t wait until your ice machine breaks down to give it the TLC it needs—enroll in our ice machine preventative maintenance program to keep your equipment squeaky clean!

Contact us today to get service, a quote, or answers to your pressing ice machine questions!


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