dirty air filter with lint buildup

Olivia MarcyIce Machine Care, Ice-O-Matic, Maintenance & Cleaning

It's Time To Change Your Commercial Ice Machine Filter! Here's How

Is your ice machine giving you the cold shoulder? It might be because it’s time to change your commercial ice machine filter!

When your ice machine filter is dirty, it can’t produce ice as quickly as it should and it puts extra stress on your equipment—leading to a shorter lifespan and seriously expensive repairs. Changing the filter in your business’s ice machine is a smart way to ensure consistent ice production and optimal efficiency from your machine. 

If you haven’t looked under the hood of your ice machine lately (or ever) it’s time for a tune up. Let’s dive into how to change your commercial ice machine filter. 

How To Change Your Commercial Ice Machine Filter

This guide will outline how to change the filter on a self-contained air cooled commercial ice machine. If you have a different machine type, we’ve included helpful videos for Ice-O-Matic and Manitowoc ice machines at the bottom of this post. 

For the step-by-step tutorial for your specific model, download your model’s user manual and service guide from Ice-O-Matic’s resources page or Manitowoc’s download center. 

Note: if commercial equipment isn’t your forte, this may not be the time to experiment. We recommend contacting a service technician to perform your ice machine’s filter change to avoid potential mistakes or breakages that could lead to service interruption. 

Related: Ask The Experts: What’s The Difference Between Air-Cooled and Water-Cooled Ice Machines

Tools You Need

Before you begin, we recommend assembling the following tools to make the job easier:

  • Gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Flashlight
  • Screwdriver
  • Compressed air 
  • Warm water
  • Degreaser
  • Fin comb

Changing Your Commercial Ice Machine Filter

Now that you have your tools, you’re ready to dig in. The first thing you’ll need to do is identify the location of your filter on your ice machine so you know where to start.

Where is the Filter On A Commercial Ice Machine?

For most commercial ice machines, the air filter is located near the back of the machine. This is the case for self-contained air cooled ice machines, but it could be different for your specific model. If in doubt, check your ice machine’s user manual.

The Step-By-Step Guide To Changing The Air Filter

  1. Disconnect the power to your ice machine at the main service switch. Ice machines house sharp blades internally, so don’t risk an accidental switch flip that could kickstart those blades into action while you’re elbow-deep in an air filter. 
  2. Detach and remove the air baffle. To do this, just lift and disengage the fasteners (you’ll probably need your screwdriver for this part).
  3. Remove the air filter. You may need to pry, slide, or pull it out. 
  4. Wash the air filter. This is where your degreaser and warm water come into play. If your filter has lint accumulation, a little warm water will do the trick. But if your commercial ice machine is installed in a restaurant kitchen, you may have oil and grease buildup to clean. Use your degreaser to cut through the goo. Make sure the filter has plenty of time to dry before you reinsert it. 
  5. Optional: Examine your condenser. While your filter is drying, now is a good time to inspect your condenser. Use your flashlight to shine through the condenser and check for buildup between the condenser fins. If your flashlight beam isn’t strong coming through, you’ve got buildup and you’ll need to clean your condenser coil. 
  6. Optional: Clean your condenser. The same cleaning principles apply to your condenser coil as your air filter. If it’s grease or oil buildup, use your degreaser. If it’s just lint, warm water will work. You can also use compressed air to dislodge stubborn and hard-to-reach lint particles, along with your fin comb. Once the condenser coil is clean, let it air dry completely before reinserting it.
  7. Replace your clean condenser coil and air filter. When you're done, flip the power switch back on.

Here are a few tips that will make it easier to get your ice machine back in action: 

  • Make sure you discard all the ice in the bin before you service your equipment so that your ice isn’t contaminated with flying lint, or cleaning chemicals
  • Clean and sanitize your ice bin before restarting your machine
  • Use caution using water and liquid formulas inside your ice machine and keep moisture away from all electric components
  • If your machine has lots of lint buildup, try to service it in a well-ventilated area for your own wellbeing

How Often Should Commercial Ice Machine Filters Be Changed or Cleaned?

You should clean or change your air filter every 6 months. Increase the frequency if your ice machine is exposed to extremely greasy air. If this is the case, ideally you should find a better location to install your ice machine to ensure it has a nice long life. If this isn’t possible, routine cleaning is even more important. 

Even if you think the air quality in your business is clean, regularly cleaning a commercial ice machine will make sure internal buildup doesn’t interfere with ice production and your ice machine will last longer.

Hire A Professional For Scheduled Maintenance

We get it—your business keeps you busy! So if you aren’t able to commit to routine maintenance yourself, it’s best to hire a professional ice machine service technician to clean your ice machine on a fixed schedule. With our ice machine preventative maintenance program, you can schedule your equipment cleaning at your convenience. You don’t have to worry whether your ice machine has been inspected and cleaned lately, because our experts are already on it. 

Learn From The Experts Who Clean Manitowoc and Ice-O-Matic Ice Machines

Memphis Ice Machine Company: Keeping Your Business Cool, One Ice Machine At A Time

At Memphis Ice Machine Company, we are experts in all things related to ice machines. Our team of experienced technicians is available to help you with preventative maintenance services, as well as with purchasing and installation of new ice machines. We understand that running a business takes up a lot of your time and energy, so let us take care of your ice machine needs while you focus on the other important aspects of your business. Schedule a call today to talk about your business’s ice machine needs.

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