Ice Maker Use: Four Tips for Maintaining Your Ice Maker’s Optimal Performance

Disclaimer: There are affiliate links in this post. At no cost to you, I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

The purpose of purchasing a portable ice maker is to keep you at the party rather than running back and forth to the kitchen or convenience store. It’s never enjoyable when a guest complains that their drink is warm, especially when there’s nothing you can do about it because your ice machine is malfunctioning. 

To ensure that your new ice maker is functioning properly and providing you with the best experience possible, Compact Appliance offers a few straightforward usage guidelines that will keep you calm in any situation. 

Tip #1: Keep Your Water Clean 

Nobody likes dirty or cloudy ice cubes, and the best way to prevent dirt or bacteria from contaminating other people’s drinks is to replace the water in your unit. If you have a portable ice maker, you might not realize that the water you leave in the machine is recycled to make additional ice cubes. Over time, the water can become contaminated due to everyone dipping their hands in and filling their cups, so it’s a good idea to periodically replace the water to keep things fresh throughout the evening. 

You can purchase a self-cleaning portable ice maker for an additional cost, which means less work and more time to relax! 

Water buildup is less of a concern if you own an under-counter ice maker because these appliances are designed to drain water. However, it is always advisable to have a small scooper for ice, so you do not need to use your hands. Thus, your unit will maintain its cleanliness for longer, especially when the last guest has left. 

Tip #2: Choose Your Location Wisely 

For an under-counter ice maker, location is typical of little consequence. Built-in ice makers for outdoor use are designed to withstand outdoor temperature fluctuations. This means that even if the temperature outside is 90 degrees, your outdoor bar or kitchen ice maker will keep the ice frozen. 

Similarly, if you are installing a built-in unit, you should choose an easily accessible location, not the basement. The objective is to be as present as possible, so selecting a location that allows easy access to the action will provide the best experience. 

Portable ice makers are more complex. These devices are compact and require an electrical outlet to operate. These appliances are ideal if you already have a place to plug them in, but if you plan to bring them to the park, you may need to get an extension cord. Knowing that it must be plugged into an outlet to function, deciding where to place it during the day or night requires consideration. 

Because someone could potentially spill something into your portable ice machine, it’s probably not a good idea to place it directly next to liquor or other beverages. On the other hand, you don’t want to separate the ice from the bar because then everyone will continue to ask you where the ice is! We recommend placing ice and beverages on the same counter but at opposite ends or putting the ice machine behind the bar. It is always a good idea to designate a separate space for your ice maker to avoid potentially hazardous situations, such as someone knocking it over and breaking it. 

Additionally, it would help if you remembered that a portable ice maker is more sensitive to the outside temperature. This means that the unit should not be placed next to a grill, oven, or fireplace, as the heat from these appliances will cause the ice to melt (which will then melt your happiness). Ultimately, you will be constrained by the availability of outlets, but you can take precautions to protect your appliance and have peace of mind. 

Tip #3: Store What’s Made 

As previously mentioned, a portable ice maker will recycle any leftover ice to produce the next batch of ice. This process can be somewhat aggravating if many guests are waiting for drinks, but timing is always an issue. We recommend placing the prepared ice in a cooler adjacent to the bar or beverage station to address this issue. A separate cooler can keep your ice chilled and ready to use instead of leaving it in the ice maker, which would prevent more ice from being produced. 

Portable ice makers are not designed to store large quantities of ice. To ensure that your guests have continuous access to ice, place the freshly made ice in a cooler from which they can serve themselves or in an ice chest containing other beverages. Using a separate cooler will also provide more placement options if there are no available outlets for the ice maker. 

In the case of an under-counter ice maker, storage is already present. Constantly producing and storing ice, these devices are designed to keep the ice stable. 

Tip #4: Be Protected 

After considering these other suggestions, the most crucial point we wish to emphasize is the significance of a warranty. It’s always a good idea to read reviews of different models — both under-counter and portable — to determine the longevity of your appliance. 

Suppose you are considering purchasing an ice maker; research and find one with a one-year replacement warranty. Don’t worry if you already have an ice maker but don’t have a warranty! Numerous companies will allow you to purchase a warranty for a recently purchased product. Unfortunately, not all brands of ice makers come with a warranty, but by reading product reviews and researching brands, you will be able to maintain your appliance for many years. 


Ice Machine Preventive Maintenance
  1. Clean and sanitize the water system.
  2. Clean air filters on air-cooled models.
  3. Check external filter system and change cartridges as needed.
  4. Check inlet water valve screens.
  5. Conduct bearing and auger inspection on extruded ice makers

Ice machines need more than regular equipment maintenance to keep them in good shape. These particular pieces of restaurant equipment are very important to clean and sanitize. A neglected ice machine will develop scale, slime, or mold, which can contaminate the ice and make customers sick.

You need to leave it plugged in and running all the time if you want ice. If the unit is powered off the ice will melt and the water will return to the reservoir. This is just like your refrigerator or freezer in that it needs to be on all the time.

  1. Run the vinegar through the water line a couple of times.
  2. Once done, run fresh warm water through those lines. Tap water will do. This will eliminate the vinegar odor as well. Especially watch out for brand new ice makers. …
  3. Once you run vinegar and water though the lines, the ice will taste fresh.

Your ice machine should be cleaned and sanitized at least once every six months for efficient operation. This maintenance process requires you to first perform a cleaning procedure to remove lime, scale, and mineral deposits, followed by a sanitizing procedure to disinfect the unit and remove algae and slime.

Whether you rely on your ice dispenser, use an ice cube tray or buy it by the pound, quickly transfer the cubes to a clean paper bag. Fold it closed and store it in the freezer. Pull out the cubes as you need them. They shouldn’t stick together.

Warm, soapy water is recommended for cleaning. Cleaning agents may leave harmful residues. DO NOT wash the base unit, instead wipe the exterior with a damp cloth. A POLAR agent or qualified technician should carry out repairs if required.

If your icemaker will not be used for some time (vacation, storage, etc.), we recommend that you shut off the water supply to the refrigerator and turn off the icemaker. If you turn off the water supply, make sure you also turn off the icemaker. Feeler Arm icemakers: The on/off switch is built into wire feeler arm.

Warm air is causing the ice to melt. The ice dispenser is at the top of your freezer. Warm air may be somehow entering your appliance and rising, as warm air does. The warm air is then causing your ice to partially melt, creating the ice clumps that the dispenser cannot handle.

Related Posts

Why Trust Us

You will find what you are looking for at Largo Bar and Grill. From classic to luxury brands, you'll find both. We will help you to select appliances that fit your needs, budget and lifestyle. Whether you want to stop by to learn more — or plan to make a major purchase — we’ll treat you like family and assist you every step of the way. Shop with us today to receive friendly and experienced help along the way.