Ice is an essential ingredient in any food service kitchen. Ice was traditionally produced in central facilities and supplied to restaurants in the form of blocks or crushed ice. Commercial ice-makers, on the other hand, became popular as refrigeration technology advanced, and many foodservice companies now utilize their ice-makers to make ice. There are mainly two types of commercial ice makers –
- Air Cooled Ice Machines
- Water Cooled Ice Machines
While the titles of these ice machines are self-explanatory, there is a lot more to how they work. Before deciding on the right commercial ice machine for your business, you must consider ice cube production, ice storage, size, and a variety of other factors. One thing to consider is how and where the ice cube maker exhausts the heat generated when creating ice. And, while the right choice may appear obvious, it is critical to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of both before making a purchase.
In this article, we intend to make you understand air cooled vs water cooled ice machines aspects so that it can help you buy the right one according to your needs.
Air-Cooled Ice Machines
By far, the most popular ice machines on the market today are those that are air-cooled. The portable nugget ice makers that you can buy online are also air cooled. These ice makers draw in the air around the unit and then use it to chill the refrigeration cycle before releasing it. However, the yield of an air-cooled ice machine is affected by its surroundings. The device should have open airflow at the ventilation ducts and be around 70 degrees.
When used in warmer conditions, the already heated air travelling over the condenser coils will not absorb as much heat as cooler air, decreasing the rate at which the unit can generate ice. Also as you place it in a closed room with restricted ventilation surrounding the ice maker, the looping hot air becomes hotter until the unit shuts down due to heat overload.
This implies, the only time you should not use an air-cooled machine is when the ice machine is in a hot, humid setting, such as outdoors or in kitchens.
When considering an air-cooled, internal condenser, air temperature and air circulation are critical. This will almost certainly increase your air-conditioning electricity bills, so consider that when choosing the condenser’s cooling system.
Advantages of Air-Cooled Ice Machines
- Low water usage – the machine uses air to cool itself, requiring less water and keeping water bills low. It is extremely useful in areas with limited water storage and scarce water supply.
- Widely recognized – many institutions have an air-cooled machine, which means that most operators and specialists understand how to operate and repair them.
- Cost-effective – Because its technology is simple, the machine is less expensive.
- Simple installation – Easy to install and operate, no extra supplementary tools are needed, and it can be put into action as soon as the power is switched on.
Disadvantages of Air-Cooled Ice Machines
- Space: Since the machine will need to release air, you must leave ample space above, behind, or around it.
- Cleaning: Keep in mind that dust and airborne particles can accumulate in the vents. You’ll need to clean out the unit regularly to make sure that it has the best location for airflow and is clear of dust and debris. Use this portable ice maker cleaning guide if you have a countertop ice maker at home that needs some cleaning.
Water-Cooled Ice Machines
A water-cooled ice machine, as the term implies, does not need a condensing fan to cool the ice machine components. Another important aspect of Water-cooled ice machines vs. air-cooled ice machines is that they use water rather than air to pass heat out of the device. Water coils run parallel to condenser coils in these machines. The condenser coils transfer heat to the water, which then discharges out from the device, removing heat from the system and enabling it to retain a cool temperature.
And since they use water rather than air, their output is consistent as long as the water is around 50 degrees. As a result, they are ideal for usage in hot environments and open air. A water-cooled ice machine, on the other hand, requires over 455 litres of water for every 45 kgs of ice produced, and the excess water must be drained.
As previously stated, the efficiency of an air-cooled machine is significantly influenced by the temperature of the surrounding atmosphere, whereas a water-cooled machine does not rely on ambient air to remove heat. This enables them to work in higher temperatures without lowering the machine’s performance.
Advantages of Water-Cooled Ice Machines
- Longer Lifespan – Water-cooled systems are less vulnerable because they are not revealed to outdoor elements such as rain, fog, ice, and high temperatures.
- Electricity – The water-cooled system can offset the cost of your water bill with electricity. It consumes less energy than its air-cooled counterpart.
- Require less space – Water-cooled chillers are kept inside buildings, making them excellent for businesses that do not have enough outdoor space.
- Silent operation – Water-cooled coolers operate quietly, whereas air-cooled chillers make noise due to ducts and vents. The passage of water through the system does not cause the same noisy expansion and contraction that is experienced in air-cooled chillers.
Disadvantages of Water-Cooled Ice Machines
- Installation Is Difficult – Water-cooled chillers’ added parts further complicate installation. This may result in increased labour expenses for installing water-cooled chillers as contrasted to air-cooled chillers.
- Less effective in n humid areas – In humid situations, wire-cooled ice makers will function less efficiently because humidity elevates the humid temperature, which reflects how effectively water absorbs the heat.
Air Cooled Vs Water-Cooled Ice Machines Which Should You Buy?
If we go through the list of air-cooled vs water-cooled ice machines, it’s difficult to say which one you should buy. Each of these devices has its collection of works. If your business is located in a hot area, a water-cooled ice machine is your best choice. The machine does not require cool ambient air to function well, and it can be housed in a small location with other types of equipment. It also utilizes less amount of energy than its competitors, saving you money on utility expenses.
An air-cooled ice machine, on the other hand, should only be utilized in a clean, dust-free atmosphere. People underestimate the value of clean air for an air-cooled ice machine. In an environment with “dirty” air, you can still use a commercial air-cooled ice machine. The unclean air will contaminate your ice and alter the flavour of the ice produced by the unit. Another reason to go with an air-cooled ice maker. The reason for this is that they are less expensive to operate. People frequently forget the fact that if you have a commercial ice machine in a climate-controlled environment, you do not require a water-cooled ice machine.
Having worked as a professional bartender for 10 years straight, I’ve kind of developed this ability to micromanage all factors affecting the strength and feel of my favorite drinks. The type of ice typically has the most to do with it. On PesosKitchenandLounge, I now regularly share my thoughts and knowledge through consistent blogs.