Ice Machine Tips and Tricks

The Ice Machine is not working..we all know the story, cross country meet followed by a football game and the Ice Machine stops making ice the day before.

Paul Calloway and Jake Stiefel share some tips and tricks for avoiding that nightmare morning.

Ice Machine Maintenance

Try to have two machines running and schedule maintenance one at a time.

Cube Ice drops in batches and needs time to cycle

Nugget ice (Sonic Ice) machines continue to run and don’t need to shut down and cool off.

Water cooled is typically better than air cooled

Water filters?

6 months is a must for filters.

Proper size filter is really important, typically follow manufacturers' instructions.

Try to use the multi-phase filter approach to help prevent the machine from shutting down.

Clean the ice machine every six months or when you change your filter.

Change the filter anytime you have the water shut off.

Scale reduction is important in maintaining the life of the machine.

Bad taste, lower performance.

Air Filter?

Cleaning them when you change your filter is a good recommendation

Emptying and cleaning the Ice Machine?

Use a scale cleaner or remover according to the manufacturer's recommendations

Best if you let someone trained to run the cleaning cycle.

Ice machine sanitizer from amazon is usually ok but check for food-safe branding.

Sanitize and rinse the machine because scale remover is caustic.

Be sure it is food grade!!!


Make sure the machine is level or it can decrease the production rate.

The filter is the number one cause for not making ice – no water pressure means your filter is clogged

Most machines will have an error code you can google or look up on the chart.

Making a loud noise – turn it off and leave it until it can be serviced.

This is a great time to clean it out anyway.

Won’t dump – usually a sensor that stops working.

Check that the sensor door doesn't have an ice cube blocking it from closing

From the fans:


Stop using ice.

Michelle Crosby

Annual maintenance is a MUST,  depending on your water, here in El Paso the water is so hard with minerals that 7 years is the life expectancy of ice machines.  Change your filters, at least every 6 months more if waterlines are broken or whenever you have mandatory boil drinking water.  We bought Scotsman nugget ice machines and ironically exactly 7 years they both died, with gearboxes getting water and burning out covid hits, and parts are slim to not available, we switched to Manitowoc insides are stainless steel made in the middle of covid in ITALY bought with fundraiser money right at $9,000 worth. Wow, that was a lot of Gatorades. 

Joe Messinger, MA, LATC

Athletic Trainer/Sports Med. Instructor

Bel Air High School/Medical Magnet

Hey Jeremy, my school gets my ice machines serviced annually and has a service contract. My one horror story is that this company came recently without my advanced knowledge to service both on the same day and so drained them both and left me without ice for the day. Luckily I didn’t need it so badly that day 

David Silverstein

Michelle Crosby – 

My coaches take care of water for games, etc. and we utilize water systems we’ve made that hook up to spigots for practices. 

During times I need a cold tub set up for heat illness, we do have an ice machine but I also Freeze 1g pails of water to lessen the amount we take from the ice machine (and wear and tear). 

For injuries, I’ll use an ice cup every now and then or a reusable ice pack if necessary (rarely). 

Honestly, I function without an ice machine for 90% of the year. 

Keep up the good work!


Jake Steifel –

Paul Calloway –

Jeremy – @MrJeremyJackson on Twitter

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