Chances are, if you're researching an outdoor ice maker, you plan to invest in one. Outdoor ice makers are a great way to get the party going and keep the cool drinks coming. But what are the benefits of owning an outdoor ice maker? This buying guide has the answers you'll need to maximize your outdoor ice maker knowledge, and make an educated decision about which ice maker is right for you. Install an outdoor ice maker in your outdoor kitchen today and enjoy the benefits of fresh, abundant ice during your social gatherings and family events.

Hooking Up Your Outdoor Ice Maker

As with most ice makers, you will need to run a water line from your water supply to your outdoor ice maker. Each ice maker hooks-up differently and it is always important to read the provided instructions to properly install your outdoor ice maker. If you are unsure how to hook-up your ice maker, be sure to contact a service professional, and have them install it for you.

You will also need to determine if your outdoor ice machine is meant for built-in or freestanding use:
  • A built-in outdoor ice maker can be easily integrated into your outdoor kitchen to provide your outdoor kitchen area with fresh ice.
  • A freestanding outdoor ice maker can be used anywhere, but will need to have space for ventilation, as most freestanding units have venting on the sides or back.
* Note: Be sure to check the venting of your unit. If a freestanding unit does not have the proper ventilation, you run the risk a fire hazard.

How An Outdoor Ice Maker Works

In order to produce ice, water must travel from a tap (which is usually located under the sink area) or from another dedicated water main into the ice maker. Water lines are usually composed of copper or plastic tubing, and must connect to the water inlet valve on the ice maker. The water inlet valve controls the flow of water into the ice maker, and prevents over-filling.

When an ice maker is turned on, an electrical current flows through the inlet valve from the ice maker, and the solenoid on the valve is triggered allowing water to flow. Water will then travel through the outbound water line into the freezer and into the ice mold.

The thermostat is attached to the ice mold and initiates the ice making cycles. It monitors the temperature of the mold and when it matches the preset temperature, the thermostat will trigger the ice maker to begin an ice making cycle.

Once the ice is frozen, the motor will begin turning the ejector blades, which will rotate until they contact the ice. Since the ice is frozen to the mold, it cannot be pushed out and the motor will stall for a moment.

The blades will continue to press on the ice, and the ice mold heater will begin to heat the mold. Once the mold warms up and the ice loosens the ejector motor turns back on, the mold heater shuts off and the ice is pushed out into the bin. The cycle then repeats until the ice maker fills up or is turned off.

How Much Ice Will I Need?

Ice usage is rarely consistent even with the same amount of people attending events that you host. Ice use may vary greatly from a gathering in the summer, than in the winter. The chart below is dedicated to giving you a rough idea of how much ice is needed for different drink sizes. It is important to remember that results may vary depending on preference.

Drink Size Ice oz. Amount
7-10 oz. Drink 5 oz.
12-16 oz. Drink 8 oz.
18-24 oz. Drink 12 oz.

How To Clean Your Ice Maker

Cleaning your ice maker is not a hassle, but you will want to take certain precautions. Minerals that are removed from water during the freezing cycle will eventually form deposits in the water system of your ice maker. A regular cleaning will help to remove the mineral buildup and keep your ice maker working properly.
Water hardness is a factor in how often you will need to clean your outdoor ice maker. With hard water of 15 to 20 grains/gallon, you may need to clean the system around every six months. Always use ice maker cleaner, unless otherwise specified, to improve ice production and remove water deposits on the evaporator. Using harsh chemicals or soaps could leave your next batch of ice tasting odd, and possibly damage your ice maker.

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