Ice Machines and Tech Support w/ Nick Messick
Bryan talks with Nick Messick about some ice machine basics. They also discuss how to determine when to pick up the phone and call tech support.
Ice machines have the same basic refrigeration circuit as HVAC systems. However, ice machines require a much different cleaning regimen. Many maintenance people neglect ice machines by using incorrect cleaners. You need more of a sanitizer than a cleaner; sanitizers kill germs and fungi, but cleaners work better on corrosion. When cleaning an ice machine, watch out for mold and scale buildup. Scale buildup is especially problematic because it hardens the water. You can use ice thickness probes or listening devices to determine the condition of the water (and ice). Also, use a nickel-safe cleaner, like Refrigeration Technologies' Viper Nickel Safe.
Ice machines have “harvest cycles” where ice collects. Ice falls off the evaporator when warmth hits the evaporator. An ice machine may use hot gas or “Kool gas” defrost. Hot gas defrost reverses refrigerant through the cycle and sends discharge gas to the evaporator. Manitowoc systems use Kool gas, which uses saturated vapor at the top of the receiver and results in a quieter harvest.
Tech support can really help you if you can't understand the manual or get stuck. However, some techs let their pride prevent them from calling tech support. Ultimately, calling tech support to help you understand an ice machine will save you time and save the customer money. You can also walk away from a situation having learned something new for next time if you call tech support and let them help you. However, calling tech support should NOT be a crutch that techs depend on all the time; basically, don't let them be your autopilot.