Thursday, 12 June 2008

Under Counter Ice Machines

Under counter ice makers are particularly useful in areas where little space is available. This happens frequently with many bar configurations where coolers and cocktail stations take up the majority of the room. We recommend under counter ice machines as an auxiliary source for ice if the main ice maker is located in an area that makes transportation an inconvenience. Keep in mind that because of their smaller ice yields, under counter ice makers are not recommended as the primary source of ice for a high volume restaurant or bar. They will however eliminate the need to move ice from one area to the other.

Installing an under counter ice machine is a very simple process. Ice makers typically need 3 things in order to function: electricity, a potable water supply, and a floor drain. Some smaller under counter or cabinet style ice makers can work without a floor drain. Always make sure that you read thoroughly through the manufacturer's literature before making a purchase to understand what your particular under counter ice machine will require. Virtually all under counter ice makers work with a cord and plug and generally require only 120 volts. Most larger commercial ice machines require clearance from the left and right sides of the maker in order to cycle the air effectively. Under counter ice machines are different in that most use a front air discharge design. This allows the breathing required to cycle the refrigeration to remain at the front of the unit. Eliminating the need for left and right side clearance means that under counter ice machines can fit into much smaller spaces.

Like larger modular ice makers, under counter units come in a variety of ice cube shapes. These vary depending on manufacturer. We tend to notice that bar beverages work will with any cube shape or "shot glass" style ice. Fountain drinks are very enjoyable when using nugget ice. There are no set rules to which shape of ice is needed for any application. Just remember that ice is food! You must be sanitary with your ice handling and always make sure your ice machine is clean. For the best tasting ice make sure that you change your water filters every 6 months. This simple maintenance will not only keep your ice tasting great, it will prolong the life of your ice machine.

There are many ways to save money when shopping for an ice machine. But like most commercial equipment, each purchase is an investment. You can save some money up front and purchase a less expensive ice machine that costs more to operate, or spring for the more expensive models that provide better energy efficiency that add up to big savings over time. The Federal Energy Management Program (F.E.M.P) has published an energy saving calculator on their website to help consumers figure in total savings of utility costs. Each ice machine manufacturer varies in it's performance so its important to read over all the literature carefully.

If you have any questions about under counter ice machines or ice machine efficiency, email us and we will be glad to help!