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Ice machines are susceptible to various issues, one of which is freeze-up. If you’re in Colorado and facing maintenance or repair issues with your ice machine, you’ve come to the right place. At Mountain Sales and Service, we delve into the topic of “What causes an ice machine to freeze up?” in this blog post. By the end of this read, you’ll be better equipped to choose a reliable company for purchasing or renting an ice machine for your business.

The accumulation of ice can severely damage your machine. A freeze-up not only poses repair challenges but can also harm various components of the ice machine. If left unaddressed, the ice continues to build, potentially affecting critical machine parts. Repairing these components can be costly.

Recognizing the signs of an impending freeze-up is crucial. Early detection allows for timely intervention, preventing extensive damage. Should your ice machine become damaged, prompt repair or replacement is essential to ensure uninterrupted business operations.

What is An Ice Machine Freeze-Up?

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Ice machines experience freeze-ups when they fail to release ice from the evaporator plate. As water continues to flow over the trapped ice, it accumulates, eventually forming a solid block. Such a freeze-up can impede the ice drop, leading to substantial ice buildup.

This not only affects the machine’s performance but can also harm components like the evaporator plate, potentially resulting in expensive repairs. Regular checks are essential to prevent such occurrences.

While identifying an ice machine freeze-up is straightforward, pinpointing its root cause can be challenging. Numerous factors can contribute to the issue, underscoring the importance of routine maintenance to detect potential problems early on.

What Are the Common Causes of An Ice Machine Freeze-Up?

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Several factors can trigger an ice machine freeze-up. Immediate inspection and intervention are crucial to mitigate the issue, as neglect can escalate the problem, necessitating costly repairs or even replacement. To maximize the lifespan of your ice machine and ensure uninterrupted business operations, it’s vital to address these common causes promptly.


For those residing in regions with prevalent hard water, scale accumulation in the ice machine is a common issue. This buildup occurs when calcium and magnesium combine and adhere to surfaces where water is consistently present, much like what’s observed in faucets or showers.

Ice machines operate by directing water over a freezing evaporator plate. As this water gradually freezes on the plate, it solidifies into ice cubes. Once the ice reaches the desired size, the machine elevates the evaporator plate’s temperature. This action aids in releasing the ice cubes, allowing them to drop into the storage bin.

However, when scale accumulates on the evaporator plate, it obstructs the ice release mechanism. This interference can lead to continuous ice formation and buildup, making it challenging for the evaporator plate to dispense them. If this issue persists, individual ice cubes can amalgamate into sizable chunks that may potentially harm the evaporator plate and other machine components.

To circumvent such complications, regular professional cleanings of the ice machine are essential to remove scale deposits. Additionally, incorporating a water softener or phosphate filter can effectively minimize scale accumulation within the machine.

Bin Control Failure

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The storage bin controls monitor the ice level within the storage bin, ensuring the ice machine halts production when the bin reaches its maximum capacity. However, if there’s a malfunction in the bin control system, the ice machine may persist in producing ice even when the bin is full. Without intervention, this excess ice can accumulate in the drop zone, potentially causing blockages and subsequent ice machine freeze-up.

To avert such issues, it’s crucial to schedule bi-annual preventative maintenance for the ice machine with an authorized service provider. Should you observe prolonged ice production without shutdown, indicating a potentially overflowing bin, it’s imperative to immediately deactivate the machine and seek professional repair assistance.

Float Switch Malfunction

The float switch plays a pivotal role in regulating water usage during an ice machine’s freeze cycle. A malfunctioning float switch can lead to the production of oversized ice cubes that adhere stubbornly to the evaporator plate, increasing the risk of an ice machine freeze-up.

If you detect unusually large ice cubes being produced, it’s advisable to promptly contact a professional technician for a thorough inspection and necessary repairs.

Blocked Water Lines

The water line plays a pivotal role in supplying the ice machine with the necessary water for ice production. Connected directly to the ice machine, if this line becomes congested due to mineral deposits or its narrowness, it is susceptible to blockages. Such obstructions impede the water flow, resulting in reduced ice production. Moreover, a compromised water flow can hinder the release of ice cubes from the evaporator plate, potentially leading to ice accumulation and subsequent freeze-ups.

In colder climates, particularly during winter, the water line is at risk of freezing, further obstructing the water flow and escalating the likelihood of an ice machine freeze-up. Addressing this issue often requires insulation and professional intervention from a qualified plumber.

However, consistent maintenance and cleaning by reliable service providers, such as Mountain Sales and Service, can significantly mitigate the risks associated with ice machine malfunctions.

Are you in the market for dependable ice machines for your business? Look no further than Mountain Sales and Service. Based in Colorado, USA, we’ve proudly served as a national distributor of wholesale food service equipment, including ice machines, since 1980. Should you have inquiries about our offerings or require assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Contact us directly at 303-289-5558 or utilize our toll-free line at 800-847-2557. You can also send inquiries via fax to 303-286-7054 or email us at Mountain Sales and Service stands ready to address your ice machine service needs. Reach out to us today!