Ice Machines: Air vs Water vs Remote Cooling
Air, water, and remote-cooling are the processes of cooling the compressor and condenser in your ice maker. Each cooling method has advantages and disadvantages.
The air-cooled ice makers use an electric fan motor to pull air in from the front, cool the condenser, and discharge heated air from the back of the machine. Air-cooled units need to be installed in well-ventilated areas, such as an open space kitchen. This method of cooling will disperse heat, and does not perform as well in temperatures exceeding 90°F. Make sure you have the adequate space for this type of machine. If not, instead look towards the water or remote-cooled ice makers.
The water-cooled ice makers circulate water to cool the condenser as opposed to a fan. Instead of the heat being dispersed in the surrounding environment, additional water lines are installed which allows water to run to circulate and cool the machine. This method of cooling works well in rooms with high temperatures, and thrives where air-cooled units would not. However, because it consumes more water it can be cost more to operate depending on price of water in your area. Water condition is also a factor; poor water quality can stress the machine. You also need to be aware of your cities regulations of water-cooled units. Certain cities discourage and even ban the use of water-cooled ice makers because of the amount of water it can consume.
The remote-cooled ice makers are air-cooled; however, the condenser is placed outside of the machine. This method of cooling reduces the disadvantages of the air-cooled ice makers. The heat and even the noise are transferred to a remote-condenser, usually installed on the roof of the building. The line from the condenser can be as far away as 100 feet. But there is a higher installation cost as you need to buy the condenser separately. Also keep in mind there will be additional construction needed for the condenser lines.