Ice Machine FAQ

Which ice bin will fit my ice machine?

If you're unsure which ice bin will fit your ice machine, or need to find out which top kit adapter you need, please see our Ice Bin Top Kit Guide.


How to Clean a Hoshizaki Ice Machine

Hoshizaki recommends ice machine owners clean and sanitize ice machines at least once per year, according to the company website. Cleaning your Hoshizaki ice machine regularly helps ensure the ice machine functions properly while producing clean and sanitary ice.


When ice machines are not cleaned regularly, lime or calcium scale may build up. This can affect the ice machine’s efficiency, and quality of ice. In addition, some parts of the ice machine may become more prone to failure as a result of calcium or lime build up.


Step 1 – Cleaning a Hoshizaki Ice Machine

According to Hoshizaki, the first step in cleaning the ice machine involves removing all the ice from the storage bin. It is important to remove the ice, so cleaning solutions will not contaminate the ice.


After the ice has been removed, Hoshizaki recommends turning off the water, and draining the water sump tank. This may be accomplished in a variety of ways depending upon the model of the ice machine.


For Hoshizaki’s small KM units, there is typically a drain or suction hose which can be pulled off, and the water in the bin will drain out. Other Hoshizaki ice machines may have an overflow pipe which can be removed in order to allow the sump to drain. The pipe must be turned counter-clockwise in order to remove it. For stackable KM units, there may be a plug to remove in the middle of the ice drop zone, toward the front of the unit. For KML units, there is an automatic drain switch, which will allow a technician to use the units’ water pump to drain the sump. KML models also have a drain plug, so the reservoir may be drained.


Step 2 – Cleaning the Hoshizaki Evaporator

According to Hoshizaki, the next step in cleaning the ice machine involves cleaning the Evaporator. Since Hoshizaki utilizes stainless steel evaporators, any commercial ice machine cleaner may be used. Hoshizaki recommends LIME-A-AWAY or Hoshizaki Scale Away.


Hoshizaki advises ice machine owners to mix their cleaning solution with warm water in a bucket while following the instructions on the rear of the front panel for the correct mixture ratio. Next, the cleaning solution may be poured inside the sump. After that, move the toggle switch to the wash position. It is important to note, KM units typically have an additional cleaning valve which should be moved to the open or clean position.


Cleaning solution may now flow in between the evaporator plates as well as over the ice making side of the plate. Hoshizaki recommends leaving this valve open for approximately 5 minutes at the beginning of the cleaning cycle. The return valve must be moved to the closed position for the unit to make ice, and the compressor will not operate unless this valve is completely closed.


For the KML units, there will not be a manually operated cleaning valve. Instead, there is typically a solenoid valve which automatically energizes when the second toggle switch is moved to the wash position, according to Hoshizaki.


KML units usually have two toggle switches which are marked differently. The first toggle switch is marked with Service, Off, and Ice. The second toggle switch is marked with Drain, Circulate, and Wash. The first toggle switch must be placed in the Service position in order to disengage the compressor and engage the second toggle switch. With this switch, you can drain the unit or circulate cleaning solution, according to Hoshizaki.


It is important to circulate the cleaning solution until the ice machine is clean. Depending upon how dirty the ice machine is, this may take varying lengths of time. Locations with lower water-quality may require extensive cleaning. For ice machines in bad water conditions, Hoshizaki recommends moving the spray tubes out about 1/2” to allow the cleaning solution to run down the fins of the evaporator. An evaporator brush from Hoshizaki may also be used to easily clean scale from the channels of the evaporator.


Step 3 – Emptying the Sump and Soaking Components

The next step involves emptying the sump from one of the methods described above. Hoshizaki recommends removing the check valve, spray tube, and float switch along with the rubber connector. Once removed, these components can be taken apart and soaked in ice machine cleaner. This should help break down any particle build up.


While the components are soaked in cleaning solution, the water inlet valve strainer can be removed and cleaned. Hoshizaki says, “It is also a good idea to take the water valve apart and insure that the diaphragm is free of scale and the diaphragm’s weep hole is clear.”


Step 4 – Sanitizing the Ice Machine

At this point, the ice machine should be clean, however the unit should also be sanitized. Hoshizaki claims de-scaling chemicals have little effect on removing algae and bacteria which may develop on the ice machine. A sanitizing solution should be run through the ice machine in the same way the ice machine cleaner was circulated.


NOTE: Do not mix the ice machine cleaner and ice machine sanitizer as this could be harmful.


Source: How to Clean a Hoshizaki KM Cuber Ice Machine


Sizing an Ice Machine


Are you struggling to figure out how much ice you might need? This helpful chart below from Hoshizaki can give you an idea on approximate daily usage for your industry.



Approximate Daily Usage



1 ½ LBS. of cubed ice or 2 LBS. of flaked ice per person served.


Night Club or Bar


3 LBS. of cubed ice per customer


Lodging - Food Service


1 ½ LBS. of cubed ice or 2 LBS. of flaked ice per seat.


Lodging - Banquet Service


1 LB. per seat


Lodging - Guest Service


5 LBs. per room


Convenience Store


12-16 oz. cup - 8 oz. of ice
20-32 oz. cup - 10 to 16 oz of ice
32-64 oz cup - 1 to 2 lbs of ice (1 ½ full of ice)


Fast Food


12-16 oz. cup - 8 oz. of ice
20-32 oz. cup - 10 to 16 oz of ice
32-64 oz cup - 1 to 2 lbs of ice (1 ½ full of ice)


Schools and Universities


1 ½ of cubed or 2 LBS. of flaked ice


Correctional / Institutional Dining Hall


1 ½ LBS. of cubed or 2 LBS. of flaked ice


Supermarket Case or Salad Bar


32 LBS. of cubed ice per cubic foot to fill or 30 LBS. of flaked ice to fill


Health Care - Food Service


1 ½ LBS. of cubed ice or 2 LBS. flaked ice per person served.


Health Care - Nursing Station


3 to 5 LBS of ice per room per day.


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