Ajax | Santa Barbara and Ventura Refrigeration and ICE  Ajax | Santa Barbara and Ventura Refrigeration and ICE

Commercial Ice Machine Installation Requirements

You’ve determined you need a commercial ice machine for your business.  Great.  Now what?

There are a lot of choices that need to be made now, like the type of ice machine and the type of ice.  Check out earlier AJAX ICE blogs for some quick tips on helping you decide!!

How about where your new commercial ice machine will be situated?  Here are a few considerations…

First:  Do you have the correct power supply.

Measured in voltage and amperage, this is critical to get right.  Also, remember you need a dedicated circuit for the unit, just like all the other commercial refrigeration units you have!  What does that mean?  Basically, the wiring that powers the ice machine go straight from the socket or junction box to the circuit breaker panel with no other power supplies along the way.  In other words, a “home run” to the panel.  AJAX Refrigeration always recommends a licensed electrician provide the electrical services you may need.

A dedicated power outlet with high amperage socket.

Hard wired dedicated power line. Notice the junction box is labeled with indications as to what panel to find the circuit breaker.









Second:  Do you have a floor drain?

Commercial ice machines will have some type of “purge cycle” where the ice machine dumps a pretty significant amount of water (1/2 -5 gallons or so) every so often.  Cubers will usually go through this purge cycle after each batch of ice made (every 10 – 45 minutes approximately).  Under most circumstances the health departments of most municipalities require a floor sink for drainage.  See local codes for more info.  Also the floor sink should be within a “reasonable” distance away because the water draining is dictated by the laws of gravity and requires a certain amount of “fall” for every foot of horizontal drain line.  Be sure to check and make sure the drain line doesn’t have to cross a hallway or the like, because you can only go down with the drain, not up, unless you use a water pump and we do NOT typically recommend these!!  Why?  Because if they fail,  you’ll end up with a flood in your business!!! No Bueno!!

Floor sink for high volume water drainage. Even better, right next to the ice machine!

Third:  you need water.

Be sure you have an adequate water supply near the chosen location.  The smaller commercial ice units require a 1/4 inch water supply and it goes up from there, most need at least a 3/8″ line.  The Ajax Ice installation teams love to find an “angle-stop” type valve with a flare or compression style connection.  Most any type of shut off valve will do as long as the line size is adequate for the unit you are leasing or purchasing.  A licensed plumber may be required to help out with the last two requirements.

Shown below are three different examples of water supply lines with shut-off valves…

Angle stop valve. This one still needs a final connector brazed in.

Short handle angle stop valve with 3/8″ compression style fitting attached.

Common shut-off valve with rotating handle.
















So again, power, drain and water supply; these are required and they ideally should be found within no more than six feet from the commercial ice equipment.

What Else?

How about the equipment’s physical footprint?  Does it fit the space?  Check the dimensions allowing for at least four inches (six or more is better) behind the machine and a foot or more around the sides and top for service access and proper air circulation/ventilation of the machine.  Something else to consider is the ventilation of the unit.  How does the unit breathe?  Yes, ice machines breathe and most need fresh air right around the unit!!  What is the airflow pattern of the particular machine you area considering and does your space accommodate it?  Some examples are front to back breathing, back to sides or one side, in and out the front.

Remote or self-contained?

If the unit you choose is what is referred to as a “remote” unit, that means the condenser coil or entire condensing unit is located away from the ice maker, usually on the rooftop or outside in a breezeway.  This changes the requirements regarding the ventilation as now your future commercial ice maker will be breathing away from where the actual machine is located.   You still need service access around the machine but now you do not need to be as concerned about the ventilation around the machine.  Access is still required for service though!

Water Quality!!  Have your water tested if possible.  This will tell you about the mineral content level in it and it will help determine what type of filter you will need.  We almost always recommend a water filter!!  It should really just be part of your budget when owning a commercial ice machine as it will help produce better tasting and smelling ice for your clients (good thing, right?) and it will also protect your investment in this expensive equipment!!

Triple water filter system that will eliminate most taste, smell challenges and do a great job helping reduce mineral and sediment deposits.

Simple right?  Maybe not so much.  Keep an eye out for some cool AJAX Refrigeration video content that will help explain more for you.  In the meantime, if you think you may need some help, give AJAX a call today and we’ll be happy (very happy) to help you out.  We love ice machines!!  Let us share our passion with you and get you the right machine installed in the right place.

Did I mention AJAX sells and provides FULL SERVICE commercial ice machine leasing?  That’s right, we can help you from A – Z in getting the right equipment today.  Give us a call, our sales and leasing staff will take great care of you!

AJAX in Ventura County:  805-323-5085

AJAX in Santa Barbara County:  805-963-1322

Until next time on the blog!!  Be well and we invite you to let the AJAX team help you enjoy great ice!

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What type of ice machine do I need?

Ice Machine Type

In the last blog we covered the different ice types that you have to choose from out there in the commercial ice machine world. Now, we’re going to focus on the different commercial ice machine types that are available.
We’re going to keep it simple and break this down into three categories and they are are follows…
1. Under-Counter Ice Machine
2. Modular Ice Machine
3. Dispenser style Ice Machine

Under-counter ice machine

scotsman under counter 26 inch

The under-counter is always self-contained and usually front breathing, (depending on the manufacturer).  A couple nice things about these is that, although compact, they can produce a pretty decent amount of ice per day and they are really easy to scoop ice from.    The front breathing feature means that it can be installed with equipment at both sides, (counter above etc) and will not over-heat.  This type is available as a cuber, flaker or gourmet-style cuber. Continue reading

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Ice types: Cube, flaked or Nuggets?

Commercial Ice Types, what to choose??

Ice type is one of the top three decisions one must make when deciding upon a commercial ice machine.  The four main categories that we like to divide the types into are cube, flake, nugget and gourmet.

Continue reading

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A Tale of Two Ice Machines


Does AJAX Refrigeration recommend preventive maintenance?
Answer: A HUGE “Yes!”

How about, does AJAX Refrigeration suggest using a water filter for your ice machine?
Answer: Another big “Yes!”

Why preventive maintenance and the use of a water filter?

How about a little story for a change of pace and fun?

The Tale of Two Ice Machines

Once upon a time…

…there were two ice machine brothers that were born from their factory as identical twins and ended up living right next door to each other in restaurants on Main Street USA.  During their installations their new owners had a choice of whether to install a water filter for their new ice machines or not.

Owner A decided to invest in a proven water filter system that was recommended by their contractor Mr. Penguin, and he also committed to a quarterly preventive maintenance plan.
Owner B decided he did not want to invest any more money into his ice equipment as the purchase price was pretty high and he didn’t want to spend anymore money. He figured since his machine was new it didn’t need a filter and maintenance: “that’s for older machines that need extra protection,” is what he told his partner.

The Early days…

The ice machine that had the filter installed noticed right away that the water he processed into ice smelled good and ran smoothly through his water system. That made him happy. The second ice machine that didn’t get the filter noticed something strange about the water flowing through his pipes. It kinda of had a strange smell and was felt rough. That made him sad and it took him a long time to make a batch of ice that never quite came out just right.

After a year…

After a year of making ice the first ice machine was feeling good and was proud of his crystal clear ice and he heard about how happy the clients were with their beverages! Not so with Owner B’s ice machine. This machine was feeling sad and sick. The ice he made smelled bad and he heard that the clients complained about the funky taste in the ice. He also was having a really hard time making the ice and felt all clogged up and could barely run water through the water tubes and pipes in his once shiny new system. He also had a hard time breathing and felt like he had a fever as he always ran so darn hot. Poor friends in the kitchen, they never liked it when he blew hot air into that already hot space!

Challenging Times…

Not long after that this sad little ice machine decided he had enough and had grown too tired of making ice for Owner B. He liked Owner B and wanted to do his job but just couldn’t hold on any longer and had to stop working.
The little ice machine next door at owner A’s was very concerned about his brother and why his identical twin was doing so poorly already! He was feeling great as he not only had a great water filtration system, owner A also decided to purchase a quarterly PM plan to keep him healthy. That naturally allowed him to produce as much ice as his data plate indicated for the lowest cost in terms of energy and he did it without hardly having to breathe out any of that hot air that the kitchen staff so dreaded.

The service call…

When the AJAX Refrigeration repairman was called out to help the little ice machine at Owner B’s he noted that although the unit was relatively new and still under warranty the unit had stopped working because of maintenance issues; namely the water system was plugged up and there was no way the little ice machine could make ice because no water could flow through the pipes. The coil that allows the machine to breathe nice cool air was so plugged up that the machine was suffocating, he couldn’t even breathe! The AJAX repairman noted that the cleaning of the unit would take some hours and would not be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty because it was a maintenance related failure. He suggested a water filtration system to prevent such failures from occurring in the future along with a quarterly preventive maintenance plan. He noted that the exact same machine next door was doing great and had absolutely no problems!

Next Door…

Owner B confirmed this with Owner A and he had a chance to see how happy ice machine #1 was. He was blown away that a water filter and a little TLC could make such a difference! There was that happy ice machine, just blowing cool air out it’s vents, nice and quiet while making the nicest clear, freshest tasting ice ever. It almost looked like that ice machine was smiling! He also noticed the Penguin sticker on the front panel that indicated AJAX Refrigeration was taking care of this equipment through their quarterly preventive maintenance program.  He also remembered hearing about AJAX’s great full service ice machine leasing program that would allow owners and managers just like him to focus on his business, not his ice machine AND he could have a happy ice machine just like the one at Owner A’s!

Happy Days are here again…

He decided to sign up for a quarterly maintenance and purchase a good water filter system from AJAX that very same day. He also recommended AJAX’s full service ice machine leasing and sales plans to all his friends. Next time he ever needed a new ice machine or a second unit he would lease it from Ajax Refrigeration!
Those two identical ice machines were then back on track and singing in harmony! They were making the best ice for the lowest cost per day and they all lived happily ever after!

AJAX Refrigeration can help you own or lease a happy ice machine too. Don’t go through what Owner B went through, save yourself the time, money and the heartache!

Water filtration systems, the most comprehensive full service ice machine leasing program and the best sales options in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties: that’s what the AJAX team will bring to you!

Serving Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties since 1949!

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Equipment: What’s the Value Proposition?

Price vs. Quality.  Yes, there is a trade-off!

We’re starting to get the real data now on how the imported refrigeration equipment is being supported.   What is it really like to repair an imported unit vs. a domestic?

On a previous blog post I noted that the low price point imports were becoming more popular and many folks were choosing these units over the higher priced domestically produced units.

The rubber meets the road, not when all is calm and smooth but rather when challenges come up.  What happens when the unit fails and needs replacement parts and service?  What we’ve seen so far is not pretty and we’re seeing the “you get what you pay for” scenario in full swing. Continue reading

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Looking for a commercial ice machine in Ventura County?

AJAX Ice machine showrooms

AJAX ICE SHOWROOM. The Best place for Ice Machines in Ventura County!

Ventura County, Your AJAX ICE showroom is open!

AJAX Refrigeration and AJAX ICE is here to help!

Question:  Where is the best place to experience commercial ice machines for sale and lease:  cubers, ice flakers, ice storage bins etc. in Ventura?

Answer:  The new AJAX Refrigeration showroom in Ventura County!

Your commercial ice machine experts, AJAX Refrigeration,  has opened your new AJAX ICE showroom in Ventura County!  We have equipment on the showroom floor for you to look at and get first hand experience with.  In this day and age of the internet, we are bringing you the opportunity to see the equipment before you purchase.  Water filtration products as well!  This way you will have no surprises when the equipment shows up at your place of business!  AJAX’s professional sales staff loves helping folks find the best solution to their commercial ice and refrigeration needs.

Call today to set-up an appointment with an Ajax Refrigeration Ice Pro or come on down on any Thursday from 10 am to 5 pm.  As the operation grows we will continue to increase the number of hours staff is available to assist you!  The showroom site will be the future site of the AJAX Refrigeration office and shop as well. Continue reading

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Ventura County’s AJAX location coming soon!


Hey Ventura, Oxnard, Santa Paula, Moorpark, Camarillo and beyond!

Your new AJAX Refrigeration location in Ventura County will be opening soon!  Smack in the middle of Ventura County!

Location Address:  1547 Los Angeles Ave. Suite #101, 93004

So what does this mean to you?
Well, if you have ice needs for your business in Ventura County it could mean a great deal!

AJAX’s local Showroom in Ventura County will help get your ice needs met quickly and personally! AJAX’s friendly, knowledgeable service staff is here to find the right solution for you! Deciding on new ice equipment can and should be a positive, easy and fun experience!

You can’t get this on the internet! (but you now can in Ventura County!) Continue reading

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Domestic vs. Import Commercial Refrigeration

New trends in the commercial refrigeration reach-in cabinet market

Just when we thought prices couldn’t get lower in the commercial refrigeration equipment industry there has been a huge surge of new equipment landing on the market at even lower prices! Manufacturers out of Asia are churning out product that is significantly lower in price than the products manufactured in the USA.

Is price the only change?

Prices are lower for these units that have the look of a standard “made in the USA” unit but what else is different? Let’s use the number one, most recognized brand in the USA, TRUE, as a reference point. Continue reading

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New Ice fun: These Cubes go to “11”

Hip IceWhat is all the hype about commercial ice these days? Or didn’t you notice?

Didn’t the commercial ice machine manufacturers nail this down years ago? Good quality ice that drops into a nice stainless steel storage bin to keep all things, whatever they may be, nice and cool.

AJAX/Santa Barbara Refrigeration and AJAX/Ventura Refrigeration have been right in the thick of it and we have been seeing a lot of changes these days. The bar scene and in particular, the specialty cocktail scene has landed and it demands more! The cool is cooler and the drinks are “handcrafted.” Continue reading

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Freezer, Refrigerator, Ice Machine, HVAC Repair and Service in Santa Barbara and Ventura

Ajax_MousePadWhen it’s time to place a service call or to get a replacement quote for your commercial freezer, refrigerator, ice machine or HVAC unit who do you turn to and why?

Here’s 10 reasons why you should call AJAX/Santa Barbara Refrigeration and AC…

1)      You Will Save Time

Yes, you can try to do it yourself, but most business owners are not refrigeration experts, nor do they have the time or connections. Why not put AJAX SBR’s 65 years of experience to work for you and save time. AJAX SBR offers service, repairs, parts, sales and leasing options of new equipment, preventive maintence programs, and a friendly staff that actually answers the phone! Continue reading

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