Do I Need An Air Cooled, Water Cooled or Remote Cooled Commercial Ice Machine?


Your new commercial ice machine will have its compressor get warm while it is making ice.  Various ways to keep the compressor cool include: air cooled, water cooled, and remote cooled models.   Choosing the best way for you will mean determining how much air you have in the area and how much you want to spend extra for additional air conditioning.

Air Cooled

When deciding on an air cooled ice machine, focus on the following:

  • An air cooled ice machine generally needs air circulation all around the machine.  Six inches are recommended; however, some new brands are using the front of the compressor to expel the air so you can move your ice maker into a tighter area.
  • Air cooled commercial ice machines will raise the ambient air temperature in the immediate area.  Utility bills will rise some especially when you have 1000lb and over cubers.
  • Despite any potential for additional utility cost, air cooled commercial ice makers are easily 95% of the market and are easy to maintain

Water Cooled

Water cooled commercial ice machines represent the smallest segment of the ice machine industry but do have some specific applications:

  • If you have a tight area with no air circulation around your ice machine,  you can use a water cooled machine.  Poor air or hot air can can greatly reduce ice production and even ruin the compressor.
  • Be aware that no water cooled commercial ice machine is Energy star compliant.  The equipment will just consume water and send it down the drain. Always get a water bill projection whenever you think you will need to go water cooled.

Remote Cooled

Remote cooled commercial ice machines literally require that the compressor for the ice machine is installed outside the building and connected to the ice machine via refrigeration line.  Please note:

  • Usually the remote unit is located on the roof or on a concrete pad outside.  A certified refrigeration technician will have to run your refrigeration lines and additional electrical supplies will be required outside also.  These factors drive up installation and material cost.
  • On the other hand, you will have no noise or heat inside your building.  Large compressor which require large amounts of air moving do well outside.

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