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Installation of an ice machine

Factors to consider when specifiying and installing an ice machine

Once a machine / storage has been selected, it is then time to decide where the machine will be located.

In an ideal world, an ice machine would be located in an area with plenty of ventilation, clean air and with constant air and water tempeartures. In the real world this is not always possible

The checklist of items below will help find the best location, equip the machine for reliable operation in that area and give a guide to preparing the area for the installation.



A packaged air-cooled ice machine with the condenser attached has the advantage of being very easy to install, requiring only connection to utilities. Cool air is drawn in through the machine, passes through the condenser fins, then is ejected into the room. However this warm air can warm the room if not allowed to escape and the larger the machine, the more warm heat it gives off.

If the space where the ice machine is installed is too small and / or there is insufficient ventilation, the air in the room will become warmer as the machine runs. This means the ice machine will become increasingly inefficient, producing less, poorer quality ice and may even be unable to run in extreme cases.

Ensure either that the room has a sufficient size and level of ventilation for the machine being considered, or alternatively opt for either a remote or a water cooled machine.




Air temperature range:

A packaged ice machine will have an operating air temperature range, typically 5ºC to 40ºC for standard UK specification models and 5ºC to 45ºC for tropical specification models.

Low temperature environments

If considering an air cooled model and the air temperature in the room where the machine is to be installed may go lower than 5ºC, then to avoid freezing air being sucked through the machine a remote option should be chosen and a frostguard heater fitted inside the machine to prevent freeze up. This is easier with the models that are housed in frame and panels, although a cover could be fitted to unhoused models.

Water cooled machines have the same operating temperature ranges, however additional insulation and frostguard heater would be sufficient in most cases.

For applications where the temperature would be permanently low, then a cold temperature pack should also be selected for both water and air-cooled machines.

Standard ice machines are designed to be installed indoors. For outdoor installation, a remote condenser, frostguard and extra insulation must be used. The machine must also be protected from rain by a roof or cover. Contact us for advice.

Warm temperature environments

Standard UK specification models have outputs stated at 20ºC and tropical models at 35ºC. Every degree above these tempeatures and you will lose around 1.5% of ice production.

For this reason, when the machine is to be installed into an enviroment that may become warmer than 30ºC for standard UK specification models or 40ºC for tropical models then we would usually recommend that a remote model is chosen to remove the condenser to a better location with a more sensible temperature.

If a remote machine is not possible, then water cooling would be the only option.


Air quality:

Air quality should also be considered when choosing a location for an ice machine, particularly for air-cooled machines.  

Corrosive air

If the environment has a corrosive environment such as salt near the sea or ammonia on a boat or in an abattoir then advice should be sought as extra coatings may be required, particularly on fragile areas such as condenser fins. Seek advice from Ziegra.

Contaminated air

If the air has entrained particles such as flour or other dusts, then the easily blocked condenser fins will need to be relocated to somewhere with less contamination, preferably outside. Choose a remote option



When planning an ice machine installation, hygiene appropriate to the application should be considered as a high priority. Click here for advice


Service space:

Another important consideration is the space around the machine, make sure that the condenser fan is not too close to a wall or ceiling, that engineers can access the important parts of the machine for service and repair safely and that operators can reach any controls necessary.

If the machine is fitted on an ice storage unit, make sure the operator has space to stand in front of the unit for ice extraction and if carts are used make sure they have enough space to be withdrawn from the unit.



The ice machine will need to be connected to site utilities. Most of the time this will just be power, water and drain, but sometimes more sophisticated units may need a compressed air supply.


The machine will need to be connected to mains town water from which to make the ice which must meet certain requirements. It should be no colder than 5ºC and should be suppled at the machine at a minimum of 2bar and maximum of 6 bar. It should be between 7.2 – 9.5 pH and 6 – 14 °dH 100 – 250 mg CaCO3/l

A Ziegra external water filter is suplied with most of the machines we sell, which should be installed between the water supply and machine.

Water buffer tanks should be avoided wherever possible. Where tanks cannot be avoided, the water from them should be treated as necessary to make it microbiologically safe before it reaches the ice machine water filter.


The machine will need to be connected to mains power, either single or three phase depending on model. The power supply point should be as close as practical to the machine and the supply steady with no fluctuations or shortages. The specific power requirements for each model can be found online on its specification page on our website.


A floor level drain should be supplied as close to the machine position as possible. If this is difficult, the machine can sometimes be raised or a drain pump fitted to pump the meltwater away. Seek advice.



Published on April 18, 2017 at 11:58 AM