Like most kitchen and home products, ice-making has evolved over the years. From filling a tray with water and sticking it into the freezer, the concept of commercial ice makers was born. Countertop ice makers are a further improvement than commercial ice makers and are a more practical and convenient way to quickly make crunchy ice cubes. Here are a few of their key characteristics:
- Easy to setup and use
- Portable and easy to store
- Less expensive than commercial ice makers
In this article, we will explain how these handy products work and provide a step-by-step process to use them. Let’s get started.
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Reasons to Purchase a Countertop Ice Maker
If you’re still considering whether or not to invest in a countertop ice maker, we’ll run through some of the reasons why they’re a great addition to your home.
Here are some noteworthy features:
Ice production times – With a portable ice maker, you can produce ice much quicker than with regular refrigeration. Some of the more popular ice machines can produce ice cubes within 6 – 8 minutes, while a refrigerator can take up to 30 minutes, depending on the freezer’s temperature.
Power consumption – A portable ice maker consumes significantly less power compared to a regular refrigerator which helps you save money on energy costs.
Quality – Refrigerated ice cubes take a long time to set; thus, they tend to melt more quickly. Countertop ice makers produce soft and chewable ice cubes that are ideal for drinks on a hot day.
Mobility – Perhaps the most obvious of reasons, a portable countertop ice maker can be moved around easily and used for a host of indoor and outdoor activities. Portable units are particularly useful when heading for the camping ground or spending the day at the beach.
Convenience – Due to their compact size and lighter weight, countertop machines take up very little space in the kitchen or on the bar counter and are easy to store away when done using.
Variety – As the technology of these products advances, so too do the options available. Newer models give you the opportunity to decide between clear, bullet-shaped, gourmet, and nugget ice cubes depending on the type of ice you prefer.
How to Set up a Portable Ice Maker
One of the biggest advantages of using a portable ice maker is how easy it is to operate, as it requires just a few steps to get up and running. But before you start making ice, there are a couple of things you want to do first.
Remove the packaging – Once your new ice maker arrives, you’re going to have to remove it from its packaging before use. It’s always a good idea to keep all the original packaging rather than throw it away immediately. Like most appliances, ice makers can be defective and most stores require the original packaging for return or replacement purposes. Keep all the packaging, stickers, protective wrapping, and accessories at least until the return period elapses, just in case.
Clean your ice maker – Before using your portable ice maker, it’s essential to clean it with soap and water thoroughly.
How to Use a Countertop Ice Maker
Step 1 – Choose a Spot
Once your ice maker is cleaned, you’ll want to find a good spot to set it down and start using it. Countertop ice makers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Larger machines can be pretty heavy, so you’ll want to find a solid surface to place them on to ensure they don’t fall and break. You also want to ensure that the surface you select is not in direct sunlight during warmer months. The surface should be perfectly flat to avoid movement and, in some instances, reduce noise.
Step 2 – Connect the Outlet Pipe
Generally, a countertop ice machine works with an outlet pipe that needs to be attached to the back or side of the machine. Some models do not require this but if yours does, then ensure that the drain tubes reach a suitable draining area that is also not in the way of the power supply.
Step 3 – Fill the Water Reservoir
Once the outlet is connected, lift the lid of the ice maker and fill it with fresh water. Countertop ice makers will usually have markings on the inside that will guide you on the ideal water level. Note the ice production capacity and do not overfill the ice maker, as it may spill or create larger amounts of drip through the outlet.
Step 4 – Plug the Ice Maker In
Next, you can connect the ice maker safely to a power source. Once again, ensure that there is no standing water or direct sunlight, which could become dangerous.
Step 5 – Switch On
You’re now ready to make your first batch of ice. Switch the ice maker on and allow it to start preparing your ice. It’s always a good idea to stay nearby for the first batch so that you can intervene if the machine is faulty or if you set up anything incorrectly.
You should dump the first batch of ice from the ice tray and make a fresh batch. Any residue from manufacturing, packaging, and cleaning the machine will likely be mixed up in the first batch, and your cubes may taste odd.
Countertop Ice Maker Maintenance
The final section we will cover is how to maintain your countertop ice maker so that it works optimally and for a long time.
Clean the Unit Regularly
Keeping your ice maker clean and dry when not in use is essential to the machine’s longevity. Despite having a self-cleaning cycle, ice makers do get dirty over time, and aside from dirt potentially affecting the production and quality of your ice, it can become unhygienic. In essence, a dirty ice maker can be the equivalent of drinking dirty water and should be avoided at all costs. Ice machine cleaning is really easy, so be sure to give it a quick rinse before every new use.
Always Use Clean and Cold Water
You should always use clean water during cleaning and to make ice. Your ice maker is packed with sensors and several other moving parts. When impurities deposit into these parts, it can easily cause your machine to malfunction and reduces the ice quality. Using bottled water is a great idea. While it can become a little costly depending on the amount of ice you consume, it does produce a better quality of ice.
Avoid Other Liquids
Never fill your ice maker with other liquids. People often freeze juices, fizzy drinks, and even alcohol to create different types of ice cubes. This should be avoided at all costs with an ice maker as these substances create a sticky residue that can affect the water reservoir, water filter, outlet pipes, and the parts inside the automatic ice maker. It also makes the machine much harder to clean.
Countertop ice makers are efficient and convenient. Plus, the operation is simple and they are easy to clean and maintain. To ensure that your ice is of good quality, you should ensure that your machine is kept clean and free of all other liquids except clear, fresh water. Finally, ensure that your machine is stored away safely when not in use and kept out of direct sunlight to avoid damage and last longer.