refrigeration repair services in MOAmerican Services refrigeration services near University City knows that one of the more frequently asked questions from commercial food industry owners is, “What’s the difference between air-cooled & water-cooled ice machines?”… While it may seem as though the answer is self explanatory most owners do not understand the difference or the pros & cons of each.

Air-cooled commercial ice machines are designed with an electric fan that assists in the dissipation of heat generated by the mechanical refrigeration components. However, water-cooled commercial ice machines use water as the cooling agent for mechanical refrigeration by routing the cool water around the components.  Water-cooled machines therefore use significantly more water than air-cooled machines, about 100 gallons per 100-lbs of ice produced, extremely inefficient, and single-pass (use and dump) systems have been banned (deemed environmentally unstable) in many cities across the US.

Air-cooled ice machines are popular throughout the industry primarily because they are considered “green.”  These green systems are more energy efficient than the water-cooled counterparts and have a lower cost of operation. The majority of the air-cooled commercial ice machines on the market today are emblazoned with the “Energy Star label”, for those not familiar with the Energy Star label it is the trusted, government-backed (EPA) symbol awarded for energy efficiency helping the country save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices.

Researchers are looking into the fact that self contained air-cooled ice machine may produce large amounts of warm air that is emitted into the environment, this typically isn’t regarded as a problem and in most restaurant applications you will never notice the warm air coming from the ice machine condensing unit .

While not as popular or energy efficient, water-cooled ice machines do have a practical use anywhere the surrounding air is above 75degrees-in that case a water-cooled machine may be the better choice.  If the ambient air is above 75°F the air-cooled machine will have a hard time cooling the refrigeration components thereby putting a strain on the system-which in turn decreases the machine’s production and increases wear and tear.