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May 29, 2022 | Ice Makers

How Does a Kitchen Ice Maker Work?

How Does a Kitchen Ice Maker Work?

We love ice – especially from a good kitchen ice maker. It keeps our drinks cold while we are drinking them alongside a tasty recipe you whipped up – and it allows us to keep drinks cold on the go in a cooler. But it does not stop there. Ice also allows us to reduce inflammation injuries, keep perishable food items from going bad, and can even help with some beauty care.

Did you know that ice isn’t so commonplace around the world? We may use it as if it is standard practice, but others view it as a luxury. Those little ice cubes that melt away are like little frozen bits of luxuries.

Before you go chomping down on another one, have you ever questioned how your kitchen ice maker works? Like how does it get water to turn into a hard frozen ice cube so quickly? We’re going to talk about it.

The History

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s talk about how we got ice makers in the first place. It was invented by Dr. John Gorrie in 1850 on a small scale and by Thaddeus Lowe in 1866 for commercial use. But while you could take advantage of ice cubes in a commercial setting, there was still no ice maker for the home. Refrigerators with built-in ice makers didn’t hit the market until 1953 – almost a century later! It wasn’t long after, and Frigidaire was the first appliance company to put ice and water in the door of a refrigerator – and they did so in 1965.

All of this changed the way we see refrigerators – and ice makers – today.

Today’s Ice Makers

There are so many different ice makers on the market today, including commercial ice makers and residential ice makers. There are countertop ice makers, those in the freezer of your refrigerator, under-counter ice makers, and more.

Thor Kitchen has different options when it comes to choosing an ice maker – in the refrigerator (inside the freezer and in the door) as well as a stand-alone built-in unit. This is a good time to take a brief look at each.

15-inch Built-In Ice Maker in Stainless Steel

The 15-inch built-in ice maker in stainless steel designed by Thor Kitchen provides you with a continuous flow of ice. It works to produce 50 pounds of ice a day – and it can store up to 25 pounds of ice in a large bin. It is easy to install and works beautifully. You will never go without ice when you have a designated ice maker such as this one.

36-inch Refrigerator with an Ice and Water Door Dispenser

A 36-inch refrigerator with an ice and water door dispenser is also a fantastic addition to your kitchen. It makes it easy to access the ice whenever you need it – and it can make 4.4 pounds of ice per day while also allowing for 1.7 pounds of storage.

36-inch Refrigerator with a Housed Freezer

Another 36-inch refrigerator by Thor Kitchen has a sleek exterior with no door dispenser. Instead, everything is housed in the freezer, where you can reach in and grab what you need when you need it. It keeps the outside looking smooth and modern while still delivering the ice you need.

How a Kitchen Ice Maker Works

Alright, so let’s get back to that original question – how does a kitchen ice maker work anyways? It is a rather simple machine with a lot of different moving parts that come together to create the finished product that makes us jump for joy.

Components of a Kitchen Ice Maker

In general, an ice maker will have a few key components, including a motor, a water valve, and a heating element. There is a timer that will activate the water valve, which then sends water straight into the ice mold (this is how you get your different shapes of ice). Then, a thermostat that is built into the unit will reach freezing temperatures and determine that it has frozen.

A Little Heat? Yes, Please!

Then, why don’t we add a little heat?

Yep. That’s right – a heating element begins to warm the mold that is holding the newly formed ice, and it encourages it to let go of the ice. When this happens, the ice is dumped into a holding bucket that is placed below the unit, whether that means in the door of the refrigerator, on a shelf in the freezer, or at the bottom of a free-standing ice maker.

The dumping of the ice is prompted by a motor that spins a shaft with small arms. It scoops out the loosened ice cubes in the tray and puts them in the ice storage bucket. As it does this, the shaft will raise a shut-off arm, telling the unit that ice was just made and it is not necessary to make any more just yet. However, as the ice gets dumped into the bin, the shut-off arm drops back into its downward position.

But, wait – there’s more!

Making All the Ice You’ll Ever Need

If the shut-off arm hits ice and can’t fall down, it senses that there is ice and that we are done for now. No more ice will be made at this time, and the process will not start over. In other words, it sits and waits for you to need some ice so it can get back to work. However, if the ice is low, the arm will sense it and begin making an additional batch of ice.

This process is repeated over and over until you can be sure that you have all the ice you need stored in your freezer.

Depending on the ice maker, it can take about an hour or so to complete the full process of making a batch of ice.

Caring For Your Ice Maker

There are a few things you can do to maintain the health of your ice maker and ensure that it will last you for years to come, including:

– Not overfilling your freezer

Dumping old ice

-Cleaning your ice storage bin regularly with mild soap and water (never use harsh chemicals)

-Maintain the right freezer temperature

-Use mild soap and water to clean the ice maker

Knock a Cold One Back with Some Fresh Ice this Summer

As we are heading into the summer months, you are going to want to make sure your ice maker is in working order so that you can always count on having a cold drink. If yours is not working efficiently – you know where to buy one that will. Visit Thor Kitchen online to find a dealer near you for icemakers and much more!