Know Your Ice Maker Parts
A lot goes into making an ice maker. For most of us, we simply add water to the reservoir and—thanks to the miracles of engineering and physics—out comes a fresh batch of ice. However, a lot goes on within the hour that your ice maker takes to convert your water to ice.
Since their invention in the 19th century, ice makers have been responsible for the following four basic functions: evaporating, condensing, compressing, and throttling. Even today, all commercial and household ice makers perform those basic functions. And when one of them fails, they all fail. Sadly, this makes ice makers somewhat susceptible to breakage.
If this sounds more complicated than you might have assumed, you may be interested in learning more about how ice makers work. To do this, you need to know about the various individual ice maker parts and components. Once you are familiar with how each part works and what it does, you will have a more holistic understanding of the ice maker as a mechanical device.
Ready to learn more about ice makers and their constituent components? In this article, our experts will walk you through each part. With this knowledge in hand, you can help prevent your ice maker from breaking and, in time, conduct DIY repairs and general maintenance. This way, you can get more value out of your ice maker in the long run.
While there are many kinds of ice makers on the market today, they all abide by the same basic principles and contain the same general parts. From industrial ice makers to household countertop units, all ice makers are made from the same universal assembly. Most prominently, they feature a compressor, condenser, and throttle valve.
When we come across ice maker owners who understand how their appliances work, these devices tend to last longer. This is because they appreciate the value and the beauty of an ice maker and can attend to the machine’s needs before serious problems come to a head. If you want to benefit from this knowledge as well, read on and discover all there is to know about ice maker parts.
Ice Machine Cleaner
Let’s begin by discussing the ice machine cleaner. While not technically a “part” or built-in component of an ice maker, it is certainly among the most important ingredients in building a successful ice maker. Without the ability to properly clean your machine, chances are it won’t last long. Plus, it will start to smell so bad that you will want to get rid of it anyway!
A good ice machine cleaner can be sourced from just about any hardware store or industrial cleaning supplies wholesaler. As a liquid solution, they come in the form of a bottle or gallon jug. Chemically, ice machine cleaners consist of ¾ phosphoric acid and the remainder is mostly citric acid.
Since these liquids are composed of corrosive acids, you must never allow ice machine cleaner to encounter your skin or eyes, nor can you allow it to be swallowed. These products must always be handled with care, and you should wear gloves and eye goggles whenever you use them to clean your machine.
How to Use Liquid Ice Machine Cleaner
To make life a bit easier for you, we decided to break down the ice machine cleaning process into simple steps. I mean, we’re dealing with potentially hazardous materials here, so it is always best to err on the side of caution and explain each step thoroughly.
- Ensure that the machine’s refrigerator is turned off, but the pump is left on
- Drain the entire machine and then refill with water
- Mix in 8 oz. of the liquid cleaner solution with the fresh water
- Let the liquid cleaner sit in the water for roughly half an hour, adding another dose of cleaner if required
- Brush the sides and scales of the machine not reached by the solution
- Drain all liquid in the machine and rinse with fresh water repeatedly, throw out your first batch of ice after cleaning
Door Light Switch
Most high-end ice makers feature a door that swings open. This allows users to easily fill and refill interior water compartments as well as check on the development of the ice as it forms. When the user operates the door, a light will automatically turn on so that the user can see the internal aspects of the ice maker.
The door light switch is an automated, electronic component of any premium ice maker. It also has another key function: whenever the light turns on, it causes the ice maker and dispenser to switch off. As such, it is one of the essential ice maker parts. However, it tends to burn out from time to time.
If you find that your door switch is beginning to give you trouble, or if it starts failing to activate when you operate the door, be sure to act early. If you do not take care of the issue and find a replacement part, you might end up having a derelict ice maker. With the help of an Ohm meter, you can check to see if the door light switch is capable of continuity. If not, it’s time for a replacement.
The recirculating pump is a critical component of the ice maker. If you find that your ice maker is failing to produce ice, and is instead causing water to accumulate and sit, then you may need to replace the recirculation pump. In short, the recirculating pump guides water from the reservoir or basin and uses it to fill the evaporator plates. Once there, the water gradually turns to ice.
Without a functional recirculating pump, there is no way to produce ice. Because otherwise, the water would sit in the reservoir and would not contact the evaporator or compressor. If you find that your water won’t move out of the reservoir, it is likely the pump that is to blame. Luckily for you, it is a small part and an easy fix. With just a slot screwdriver and a half an hour, you can replace the pump with another manufacturer-approved replacement part.
There is no ice maker part more essential than the evaporator plate. There are also no ice maker parts more expensive, either. This is because the evaporator plate is the tray that the fresh water sits in while it turns into ice. If it weren’t for the evaporator plate, then your ice would come out as one giant brick. And nobody wants that, do they?
It is rare that evaporator plates break down. On the rare occasions where they do malfunction or break, it usually means that the ice machine has met its fate. In most cases, this means replacing the whole unit. However, there are some manufacturers, such as Hoshizaki, that provide replacement evaporator plates. If purchased, they make for an easy installation.
There are few components more important than the ice machine compressor. These are large parts that are installed to dissipate heat away from the ice machine and to keep it cool. Without the compressor, ice production would be slow, and your machine may even overheat. When it comes to making ice, that is the last thing you want to happen.
You can think of the compressor as a sort of air conditioner for your ice maker. If you want that your ice maker is failing to cool down to its required temperature, give the compressor a check. In most cases, they look like miniature fans at the top of the ice maker system. If it is not spinning properly, then you must replace the part.
Ice Maker Replacement
When all else fails, you might need to replace the ice maker altogether. If you want to be cost-effective, it is always wise to first make sure that you have replaced any implicated ice maker parts. If, after replacement, the ice maker still won’t work then it is time to replace the ice maker itself.
To do this, read the user manual that came with your ice maker at the point of purchase. Most reputable brands such as Scotsman and Ice O Matic are known for their extended manufacturer warranty. This makes replacement a breeze so long as the machine is still new. Your mileage may vary, however, so be sure to check out the manual and read their warranty and returns policy carefully.
That’s all there is to it! While there is no “one size fits all” ice maker, most contain these basic ice maker parts. Now that you understand how each part fits into the machine as a whole, you are better equipped to service it and maintain it, so you can enjoy fresh, crisp ice for many more years to come.
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