There is one ice machine problem that ruins your machine. If the machine is out of warranty, it is usually too costly to repair. If the machine is still under warranty, this will void it. You are about to learn how to easily prevent this problem.
The problem is damage to the evaporator. The evaporator is the part that the ice forms on. After the ice is formed, the evaporator warms and the ice falls off. If the evaporator is damaged the ice does not release. Then the machine is either shut off by a safety or it tries to make another batch of ice on top of that one. In either case the machine stops working.
The most common reason for the ice not releasing is that the evaporator is dirty. This can be easily resolved by cleaning it properly after the ice has melted. Problems can happen when this is rushed. Forcing the ice off is a very bad and costly idea. It can result in serious damage.
Damage to the evaporator can not be repaired. The evaporator must be replaced and it is extremely expensive. While attending a training at a major ice machine factory, I asked why they cost so much. I was told the company was in the business of selling machines, not evaporators. So a damaged evaporator usually makes the machine unrepairable.
The most common way the ice machine evaporators are damaged is by someone trying to get ice off it with a screw driver or other tool. When the ice doesn't release, it is usually an inexpensive to fix problem. Trying to force it off can make it a major problem. A small nick can ruin it.
If the ice doesn't release, let it melt off without trying to speed it up. A heat gun can damage plastic parts. It is cheaper to buy some ice than to damage the machine. Once the ice has melted off, clean the machine and turn it back on. If the machine freezes up, let it thaw again and call for service.
Some ice makers have nickle plated evaporators. These can be slowly ruined by using the wrong ice machine cleaner. Check the owners manual or distributor for the correct cleaner. The safest way to do it is to use brand made by the company that made the machine. Manitowoc machines require nickle safe cleaner.
If the damage is minor, food grade non-stick cooking spray can be used to extend the life of the evaporator. One possible solution to a damaged evaporator is to find a used one. Ice machines are usually condemned for other reasons so the evaporator is often in usable condition. Having it installed will still cost several hours of labor but it will be less than a new machine.
Ice machine evaporators can last a very long time and are usually trouble free. Often they have the longest warranty of any part on the machine. The warranty is voided by the things described above. By using the correct cleaner and not forcing ice off it you can avoid that and enjoy the long life of your ice machine. Now you know how to do that.
Victor Fries is a retired commercial refrigeration technician. He is now helping operators of commercial ice machines through his website at http://www.refrigeration-repair-tips.com The website offers the information he use to charge high rates for, all for free. It is the first and largest informational website on commercial refrigeration equipment.