Unruly Ice Machines? 5 Common Ice Machine Problems and How to Fix Them

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Unruly Ice Machines? 5 Common Ice Machine Problems and How to Fix ThemSometimes ice machines just won’t cooperate. Whether you have too much ice or too little, a leaky unit, or a loud ice maker, ice machine malfunctions can throw a real wrench in the works at your establishment. But don’t worry—ShortOrder is here to help you troubleshoot. Once you’ve checked the obvious culprits (like the ice machine’s indicator lights and power supply) it’s time to take a closer look at the issue. Here are our tips for the top 5 common ice machine problems and how to fix them.

1. Combating Ice Machine Slime

Without proper maintenance, ice machine slime is a common problem among ice machine owners. This slime that accumulates inside the machine is a type of mold or fungus that forms when surfaces that are constantly covered with water droplets are exposed to warm temperatures. The result is a pinkish slime that can eventually become red, green, brown or black, coating your ice and lending it an unpleasant taste and smell. To prevent ice machine slime, wipe down and sanitize your ice machines regularly. To combat existing slime, use quaternary ammonium chloride (QAC). This will eliminate the slime and prevent it from reforming for a period of time after its application. If the mold is in your water lines, hoses, or fittings, however, you may need to get them replaced altogether.


Ice Machine Slime: Is Your Ice Machine Dishing Slime?

Monday, June 9th, 2008

Ice Machine Slime Is An Important Maintenance Issue

Ice machine owners may be getting slimed without knowing it.

Ice machine slime is more than a funny-sounding phrase that evokes fond memories of watching Bill Murray in Ghostbusters at the matinee. For restaurant equipment owners, ice machine slime is a real health hazard that can run a kitchen afoul of the health inspector and possibly shut down a thriving foodservice business.

The Gory Details on Ice Machine Slime

Ice machine slime is such a prevalent hazard that muckraking Houston newsman Marvin Zindler made the sentence “Slime in the ice machine!” a household phrase along the Texas coastline. Ice machine slime isn’t deadly to healthy adults, but still, it can be harmful. It also has a distinctive taste and smell, and can be visually disgusting to your customers. Here’s what the City of Houston says:

It is a type of mold or fungus that accumulates from bacterial growth on surfaces that are constantly exposed to clinging water droplets and warm temperatures. Water residuals may be present on these surfaces due to machine construction or the presence of scouring utensils such as steel wool or scouring pads. If the residuals are left exposed and not wiped clean or the machine is not sanitized regularly, you will then see bacteria and mold growths in the moist, cool environment of your ice machine. Most times, slime will take on a pinkish tone; if left untreated, the pink will turn to red, green, brown and even black ropes of slime hanging from the freezer panels inside the machine after a while. Pretty picture, isn’t it?

Green and pink ropes of slime hanging in your ice machine and dropping in customers’ drinks… it may not be fatal, but it could soon be sending your once-healthy clients to the lab for some health tests.

The Ice Machine Slime Answer

If for example you’ve got ice machine slime in your favorite Manitowoc ice machine model SD-0852A, how do you handle the problem?

The Houston health inspectors recommend using quarternary ammonium (QAC), which kills the mold/fungus and also inhibits additional growth for a period of time after the slime has been removed. This chemical won’t react with the stainless steel of your SD-0852A, and it’s also handy for keeping slime out of other restaurant equipment like your soda machine or the nozzles and hoses of your direct draw systems.

For other ice machine buying tips and maintenance advice, check out our ice machine buyers guide!

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