Because of the need to run refrigeration and electricity lines, an ice machine compressor must be installed by a refrigeration expert. There are a few details that must be worked out to be sure that your ice maker will run efficiently and trouble free. The technician you contract with will help you make these decisions, but here are a few things to keep in mind as you shop for a new unit.
Advantages of a Remote Compressor
These units are less common in smaller operations because they're not likely to be cost effective. However, they can make a big difference for certain types of operations, including:
- Those with multiple types of refrigeration that can all be cooled remotely.
- Those with small and/or warm rooms where refrigeration operates. A remote system not only offers the opportunity to reduce the ambient temperature, it can also make those units run more efficiently.
- Those where one or more ice makers are used in public areas. Cooling them remotely can reduce both ambient temperatures and noise.
A remote ice machine compressor should be installed either on the roof or near the outside walls of your building. The further away from your ice maker that the compressor is, the longer the refrigerant lines you will need. Longer lines add to the initial costs and leave more of the refrigerant lines exposed, increasing the risk of leaks. Longer lines can also decrease the efficiency of the system because, though the lines are insulated, they will still absorb ambient heat and the system will be less effective as the lines get longer. It's best to keep the ice maker compressor as close to the production unit as you can.
Connecting your ice production unit to the refrigeration lines can be accomplished either by brazing them, which involves joining them with heated metal in a manner similar to soldering, or by using quick-connect lines. The latter method requires less labor, which means it can save you money on the cost of installation. Consult with a refrigeration expert to explore which options are available and to decide which is best for your situation.
Whether you have your ice machine compressor installed on the roof or near the ground, it will need clearance from surrounding objects that could obstruct the flow of air. You can install them on a riser or a special frame provided by the manufacturer. This allows the unit to get the airflow it needs to cool the coils and expel heated air. It also discourages animals from nesting around the equipment. Birds and rodents like warm spaces where they can build nests, but their homes can cause problems for your remote condenser by blocking airflow and causing a maintenance headache.
The ice making process depends on removing heat to make internal components cold enough to freeze water, so the ambient conditions will make a difference in how your ice maker condenser performs. Most manufacturers base their estimates on 70 degree F air temperatures and 50 degree F water temperatures. If the climate in your area exceeds that, even for part of the year, you will need to oversize your refrigeration system to compensate for it. Most manufacturers include charts on their spec sheets that give estimates of how much ice can be produced under given temperatures. You can find these spec sheets on the individual product pages of our website. If you live in a hot climate, you may need to choose a larger remote ice machine compressor to keep up on hot days when demand is the highest.