Ice-O-Matic Care and Troubleshooting Guide
So you’ve had your Ice-O-Matic ice machine for a few years and absolutely love it, but you’ve noticed that lately, things just haven’t been the same. The machine is whining and needing constant attention before it will even give you the time of day. You don’t want to part with the well-loved, dependable machine, but things can’t go on this way. Well, maybe it’s time to invest in a little TLC and maybe even buy it a little bling to get things running right again.
The buildup of slime, scale, and mold is usually the major source of the problem when diagnosing performance issues. If you find that your machine isn’t producing properly, a deep cleaning should be the first course of action. Most parts and Ice-O_Matic accessories can be cleaned effectively, but over time some elements, especially plastic pieces like water tubes will need to be replaced. The inner condenser can be cleaned with descaling solution and a shot of CO2. Routine cleaning should occur every six months and should follow these steps:
- Empty an existing ice
- Remove the front cover
- Turn off the water supply to the unit
- Turn the selector to the “off” position
- Purge all the water from the unit
- Use a nickel-safe cleaning fluid according to the manufacturer’s guidelines
- Pour into the water trough, turn the selector to "wash" and let it circulate for about 15 minutes
- Turn the water supply to the unit back on
- Purge the machine and allow it to refill
- Turn the water supply back off
- Repeat the process with an EPA-approved sanitizer
- Turn the selector to the "off" position
- Remove the splash curtain
- If minerals are present, a additional cleaning may be required. Use a cloth or bristle brush to wipe down the area
- If minerals are present in the cleaning trough, you may need to run another cleaning cycle
- Remove the water pump tube, water distribution tube, water trough and soak them in cleaning solution
- Wipe down condenser coil with a bristle brush, taking care not to flatten the fins of the condenser
- Fully rinse all components, reassemble, and reinstall
- Replace the cover
- Wipe down the interior and exterior of the unit with soap and water
- Dry the unit with a soft cloth
With nugget and flake ice machines, if a good descaling doesn't clear up your issues, you may have a problem with the auger or other Ice-O-Matic replacement parts. The auger is a spiral piece that pushes the ice crystals up to the top of the evaporator. A few things can happen to cause this element to malfunction. Scale buildup is one of the primary reasons for the auger to begin malfunctioning, and noisy ice production is the first indicator that this is the problem. A simple cleaning will often get the machine running properly again, but there may be a more complicated issue. If the compressor is on but the auger motor is off, you may need to replace the auger motor, the circuit board, or the contactor.
If ice isn’t being produced at all, a quick inspection of the internal components may lead you to the problem. First, check the evaporator plate. If it has become severely discolored or a good deal of copper is showing through, the evaporator may be too worn to release ice once it’s made. This indicates that the plating is worn off, and a replacement evaporator plate may be what you need.
In the event that your ice machine is making ice, but it varies in thickness, you may have a failed ice thickness control that needs to be replaced, or you may have a water control issue. Be sure to check that the pressure at which the water is flowing into the unit is sufficient and that the unit is charging correctly.
If the ice machine suddenly begins taking longer to generate ice, the harvest pressure regulating valve may be bad. The water supply flowing into the unit or into the condenser may also be too hot, or the air-cooled condenser may be re-circulating its own air. These elements should be inspected, cleaned, and replaced if necessary.
There are a number of replacement parts that will keep your machine going without having to replace the entire ice maker:
- Scale remover: Ice-O-Matic offers their own descaling solution in 16-ounce squeeze bottles. This solution won’t harm the nickel plating on the evaporator.
- Replacement tubing kits: Tubes can deteriorate more quickly than most other parts, but they are usually relatively inexpensive and easy to replace.
- Gear assembly: In the event of gear malfunction, kits are available to get your machine running again. There are no serviceable parts within the assembly, so to keep your auger going, you’ll need to replace the entire assembly.
- Leveling kits: Some issues can arise from your ice machine not being level, such as long harvest cycles that can increase the cost of making ice. Many kitchens and work areas have floors that are not level, so one of these kits will help rectify that problem.
- Floor mounts: Floor mounts will help ensure your ice machine stays put. In most kitchens this won’t be a concern, since these heavy units aren’t easy to move. However, in certain applications, like in earthquake-prone areas and sea-going vessels, mounting may be required.
- Water filters and cartridges: These filters and cartridges will help you provide clear, fresh-tasting ice every time. Pure water will also keep your machine running efficiently and decrease scale buildup. They mount to the wall and offer quick-connect fittings for easy replacement. To further encourage proper filtering, Ice-O-Matic offers a free sever year parts and labor warranty on the evaporator when you purchase an Ice-O-Matic filter and replace the filter every six months.
- Ice diverter kit: Ice diverters can become worn with constant use, but they are fairly inexpensive and easy to replace. A replacement will help ensure your ice doesn’t become contaminated due to cracks and broken surfaces in the production unit, which can let contaminants and pests in.
While many of these are common wear-and-tear issues, it is in your best interest to contact a licensed dealer or repairman for ice maker repairs. You should also make sure that any do-it-yourself tasks you tackle will not void the manufacturer’s warranty.