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michaelangelo Community, Ice Machine Care, Maintenance & Cleaning, Refrigeration

It's Time to Winterize:

What You Need to Know to Clean and Prepare Your Ice Maker for Winter


Winter is coming. If your refrigerator, freezer, or ice maker is outdoors, you need to prepare for the upcoming temperature drop. Side note: consider bringing your refrigeration indoors all year round. We understand space can be limited, but controlled environments will extend the life of your property! For more details about where you should keep your equipment, please refer to your product manual for recommended temperatures and storage environments. 

So you might be asking why bother preparing for the winter? Well, it’s pretty cut and dry. If you fail to prepare, your ice maker may break down and require immediate repair. Or, as we mentioned previously, may result in premature failure of your ice maker. Either way, you’re out a pretty penny. Let’s learn the basic steps you can take right now to prepare and avoid any headaches or surprise bills with your ice maker this winter.


Winterization


The process of preparing your ice maker is called winterization. If you’re able, remove your ice maker from its outdoor location and store it in a climate-controlled, indoor environment. And keep in mind the tips in this blog can be applied to anyone’s situation, even if you’re unable to move your ice maker indoors during the winter season.

IT'S TIME TO CLEAN THE EXTERIOR

First things first, your ice maker needs a thorough clean. We wrote a helpful blog about this already. Click here to read about the ten steps to clean your ice and water dispenser. While this blog is written for a residential ice maker or refrigerator, you can learn helpful cleaning tips and order of operations to ensure you clean your machine right. 

  • Power off your ice maker and remove the plug from the outlet. You do not want to clean your ice maker while it’s plugged in! Now, shut off the water supply and completely drain the water lines.
  • Turn your attention to your ice maker’s exterior. We’ll get to the inside later. Inspect your ice maker. Does it have a front grill? If so, remove it. Grab your shop vac and get to it! If there is any dirt, dust, or leaves, be sure to suck them right up. Now that the big stuff is out of the way, inspect your machine thoroughly. A soft toothbrush really comes in handy for light cleaning. 
  • We cannot stress this enough: do not use any abrasive cleaners, pads, or harsh chemicals to clean your ice maker’s exterior. You can damage sensitive components!

IT'S THE INTERIOR'S TURN

Your ice maker has a big bin. Be sure to empty it! If it has any glass or plastic shelves, remove them and store them indoors. Make sure your ice maker is completely empty of any ice before cleaning. Using warm, soapy water and a clean rag, begin wiping down your ice maker. Grab a second warm, wet rag and clean the soap off the interior of the ice maker. Finally, ensure the interior is completely dry and clean. Be thorough!

TWO FINAL TIPS 

1. CHECK YOUR ICE MACHINE OFTEN

To ensure your ice maker is functioning or stored properly, check it every few weeks or so for excess moisture, ice accumulation, or mold. This is a common problem that can impact food safety if you let it. Stay proactive and fix small problems before they become bigger ones. If you’re concerned about mold or slime growth in your ice machine, read our blog about how to prevent it in the first place by clicking here.

2. PLAN AHEAD WITH A DEDICATED PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE SCHEDULE

It’s easy to let things like basic cleaning and maintenance go unnoticed. Even the best of intentions can result in unforeseen issues. Luckily, we offer dedicated preventative maintenance services for people in need of proper cleaning and services.  

Our preventative maintenance program is a simple, low-cost solution for ensuring sanitary ice. There are no contracts or hidden fees, just a low, flat rate to thoroughly clean your ice machine annually, bi-annually, or quarterly. Prices start at just $175 plus tax per machine, per visit for all cleanings! Click here for more information about our maintenance program, as well as the suite of services we offer for the greater Memphis region.



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