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…

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

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.









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

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!!

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

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

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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