best portable ice maker
How Tos | Ice Makers

How Does a Portable Ice Maker Work

How Does a Portable Ice Maker Work – I am sure that you have a refrigerator at home and if you do then, you must have seen that most of them come with in-built ice makers. But what if you need a good amount of ice? In such a case, you can plan on investing in an efficient ice maker. It would be a worthwhile investment if you have a large family. We recommend you to buy an ice maker even if you have a refrigerator because refrigerators are not that efficient in producing ice as ice makers are.

Therefore, if you have the best portable ice maker, you will be able to enjoy pure ice without having to sacrifice much of your kitchen counter space. Imagine how convenient it would be if you have a small living area with not much space for a full-sized refrigerator.    You must be familiar with the importance of ice during summer days when you have an evening party or a family get together. In such situations what you need is one of the best ice makers.

How do you know if Your Ice Maker is Working?

Since the day refrigerators were invented, making ice has been taken for granted because it has become an easy task. All you need to do is, fill in the ice tray with water, keep it in the freezer rack, and wait for about 30 minutes. On opening the freezer door after 30 minutes, what we get is ice. Oh! So easy and comfortable, right? It does not matter much that whether you do the ice making process manually or depend on the automatic ice making mechanism of your refrigerator because the procedure is more or less the same. 

However, when it comes to the commercial ice production, there is seen a change in the ice making process. You must have seen that there are often no breaks or cracks in the ice when you buy from a commercial ice production unit. Now, how does that happen? See the thing is, they adopt a different procedure wherein the ice tray is not filled completely with water and kept in the ice rack to convert into solid form instead, a thin layer of water is laid down, freezing from the inside out (the way icicles are formed). The advantage of making ice through this method is that you would see no microscopic cracks from escaping particles. Also, the ice stays clear.

On the other hand, if we try to learn about the mechanism of the best portable ice maker available in the market then, we would see their procedure of ice making is a bit different as compared to the commercial makers. What happens in a portable ice maker is that they do not freeze the water filled in an ice mold or ice tray rather, they freeze the water directly. Thus, this is a quicker method of making ice and takes much less time to prepare a complete batch of ice. This was a brief information on the working of a portable ice maker, for a detailed explanation just stick with us and read on!

Step by Step Explanation of the Working of a Portable Ice Maker

  • Step 1: A portable ice maker has water reservoir in the unit so first of all, the water is added into the reservoir up to the fill line. An important thing to note is that because these are portable units so obviously, they would not be connected to a water line which means you shall have to fill it manually. To fill it manually, you shall just have to pour the water directly into it with the help of a faucet, jug, bucket, etc. 
  • Step 2: There is a water filter in each unit which helps in pumping the filled in water via a hole in the bottom of the reservoir and up to an ice tray that is located at the top of the unit. If there is any overflow then, it spills back into the reservoir. 
  • Step 3: Now, the refrigerator cycle begins and when it does, there are ½ inch prongs on the heat exchanger inside the unit that get lowered into the water of the ice tray. The submerged spikes get cold very quickly and thus, ice begins to form on them within minutes. 
  • Step 4: If you want to know about the size of the ice cubes then, we shall tell you that the size depends on the time duration for which the prongs have been left inside the water. If they have been left for long then, the ice made would be thicker. A rough idea about the time could be approximated for small ice cubes to be around 6 minutes and for bigger and relatively thicker cubes it would be around double the time taken for making small cubes. Two important factors to be taken under consideration when calculating for the time taken to make ice cubes in the best ice makers are as follows:
  • The total time for which the unit has been running
  • The ambient or air temperature surrounding the unit.
  • Step 5: Once the ice has reached its proper size, any remaining water (if any) is emptied into the water reservoir by the ice tray. Also, at the same time the heat exchangers task is to reverse itself and thus, the spikes begin to heat up. The spikes get heated up just enough to for the ice pieces to slide off the prongs and tumble into the ice bin. The ice bin is placed above the water reservoir inside the unit. 
  • Step 6: There is also a second sensor on the storage basket. Its job is to monitor the amount of stored ice and shut the system off if it gets too full.

A Few Tips and Facts on Using a Portable Ice Maker

Having the best portable ice maker is great but not enough. You should be able to use it properly and therefore, here are a few tips:

  1. This appliance is not a freezer which means that once frozen, it would not keep the ice cubes intact. So, you would have to use it either right away or what you can do is that just transfer the ice cubes to your refrigerator’s freezing zone. Doing this will prevent the ice cubes from melting.
  2. If the ice melts in the storage bin of your portable ice make then, it will drain back into the water reservoir. Do not hesitate to reuse it. 
  3. The freezing element of portable ice makers is placed directly into the water and this is the reason why they are capable of making ice cubes very quickly as compared to the freezing zones of refrigerators.

Why would an Ice Maker Suddenly Stop Working?

It is true that all appliances have a definite shelf life and they tend to stop working after some time. But does this mean that you can not troubleshoot? Below is given a brief troubleshooting guide in case the best sphere ice molds that you have, stops working.

As far as a portable ice maker is concerned now you have known that several mechanisms work simultaneously in this appliance. So, if any one of those mechanisms begins to face an issue, the whole machinery might break down or result into outright failure of the unit. Here are a few things you could do to diagnose some operational problems and thus, try to correct them:

  • Checking the power supply – If the unit is not turning on then, you can first check if it is connected to the power socket or not. It should be plugged into an outlet of proper voltage and the circuit breaker should be functioning properly. If you still find a problem with it then, you shall probably have to call a professional electrician.
  • Checking for the broken pump – By now you must be knowing that there is a water pump inside a portable ice maker unit. If this motor fails to function then, no water will go from the water reservoir to the freeze tray. In such a case, you should consider replacing the water pump. 
  • The problem of leaking water – It might be the case that the pump is working or operating fine still the water is not reaching the freezer tray or is leaking from the unit. What to do in such a case? Do not panic and check for a blocked or broken hose in the pump system of your portable ice maker.
  • The problem of leaking coolant – Another case could be where the system seems to be functioning properly but the ice is not being formed. This could happen because of a leak in the coolant. Also, you might be able to see an oily substance leaking from the unit in this case. You would need the help of a qualified technician to resolve this problem.
  • Insufficient ice being formed – If you feel that only a small amount of ice is being formed then, this could be because of the ambient temperature being too warm. Other reasons could be as follows:
  • Too low water supply
  • Water placed in the reservoir being too warm

 In such cases, you try using chilled water and see if it makes any difference. Still if the    problem persists, the probable reason could be a small coolant leak by which the performance of your system is getting affecting. You would need a technician’s help to resolve this issue as well. 

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