Why Is My Commercial Ice Maker Producing Soft Or Murky Ice?

Ice dispensers are essential appliances for commercial kitchens, restaurants, and cafes. If it stops making ice or the ice quality is poor or murky, it can affect your business. This is why you should be quick in case any problems occur with your ice maker and consult a commercial appliances repair expert. If you want to fix the ice dispenser yourself that is making poor quality or soft ice, here are the common causes of this problem.

Bad Water Quality

The quality of water directly impacts the quality of ice. If you’re not using any kind of water filter for treating the water, it may be the culprit of soft or murky ice coming out of your commercial ice maker.

Hard water, which is a common issue in the US, can slowly cause huge damage to your ice maker and its ice production capacity and quality.

How Hard Water Wreaks Havoc On Your Ice Maker?

Hard water contains excess amounts of minerals like calcium and magnesium. These minerals cause scale buildup everywhere the water flows through.

This scale is responsible for the malfunctioning of various ice maker components such as the water inlet valves and water drain valves. It can cause the valves to stay open or stay closed. For instance, if the water inlet valve becomes stuck open with excess scale buildup, the ice machine will overflow with water. This can lead to the machine overflowing with ice or water leakage from the ice maker.

Similarly, if the dump valve becomes stuck open, the ice maker will keep draining water. In turn, the ice maker won’t make enough ice and the ice that will be produced won’t be of the right size or may be of poor quality.

In another case, if the water inlet valve becomes stuck closed due to scale buildup, the ice maker will trip and show the error message that there is not enough water. It won’t produce ice.

On the other hand, if limescale buildup causes the dump valve to stuck closed, the machine will keep working but will become extremely dirty in a short amount of time. This can cause many kinds of problems with the components and the ice produced will be soft or murky.

Moreover, scale buildup from hard water limits the operations of other parts of your commercial ice maker as well. For example; some ice machines have an ice thickness probe that regulates the thickness of the ice cubes. When a layer of limescale is formed on this probe, it can’t perform correctly and the ice thickness becomes irregulated.

Therefore, if your commercial ice maker is producing poor quality or murky ice, you should make sure that you’re using a water filter that not only filters out minerals but also impurities and microorganisms from the water. Because ice is also considered a food item and must be hygienic, so using a water filter is for the best of your ice maker as well as your food business.

Dirty Or Broken Water Filter

Water filters can be built in the commercial ice maker or your facility may have its own water filter. Whichever method you use for water filtration, make sure that the water filter is clean and working at its optimal condition.

Because if the water filter is dirty or broken, hard water issues will occur as we have explained in the earlier point. To avoid this, inspect the water filter. If it only requires cleaning, have it cleaned. However, if it’s broken, consult an expert so they can determine whether you should repair or replace it.

Keep in mind that even after the cleaning, repair, or replacement of the water filter, you should not begin using the ice maker. The appliance must be thoroughly cleaned first because if you detected an issue with the water filter after noticing murky ice, then the ice maker is already dirty. So, clean all the internal parts of the machine before starting its usage.

The Ice Machine Is Dirty

Even if you have a water filter and it’s clean and functional, your ice maker will collect a mild amount of scale buildup. However, if the ice maker is not cleaned at the end of every day, this mild amount can transform into a thick layer of scale that will cause problems.

So, if your ice maker is dispensing ice that is soft or murky, it’s a sign that you need to clean the ice machine. You should also consider cleaning your commercial ice maker if it’s not releasing ice or harvesting slowly.

Ice Thickness Problems

If the ice is shallow, soft, or incomplete, these can be the causes of this problem.

Ice Thickness Probe Issues

Many commercial ice makers feature an ice thickness probe that controls the thickness and shape of the ice. If it goes out of adjustment, the ice maker won’t produce ice of the correct thickness. The ice produced may be too thick, too thin, or incomplete.

For the readjustment of the ice thickness probe, check out the operation manual of your commercial ice maker. However, if it’s hard to adjust, consult an expert.

Additionally, if the ice is too thick or too thin, you should also inspect the water filter from which the water is flowing to the ice maker. A dirty or faulty water filter won’t filter out minerals that will build up on the thickness probe. With this buildup, the probe will lose its capacity to regulate the thickness of the ice.

Similarly, if you’re not using a water filter, it may be the reason for the shallow ice. Plus, get the ice maker cleaned as well.

Water Level Is Not Right

When the water level inside an ice maker is too high or too low, it impacts the thickness of the ice. You should first clean the ice maker because if the water inlet valve is stuck open or closed, this issue can be caused.

After this, check the operation of the water inlet valve because it may be faulty. Have an expert check out the valves. Moreover, request the expert to adjust the water level probe as well.

The Ice Maker Is Not On A Level Surface

Ice problems like soft, shallow, or incomplete ice can be due to the surface where the ice maker is placed. If the machine is not level, the ice produced may be of poor quality. Another sign that the machine is not in a level position is that the ice machine leaks water.

Check the floor under the ice maker. If it’s not even, move the appliance to another location. It can also be that any lower part of the machine is damaged that is preventing it from standing flat and straight.

Low Water Pressure

The ice thickness, shape, and quality depend on the water quality and quantity. If the water pressure is low in your facility, the formed ice may be soft, shallow, or incomplete. You may also notice low production of ice or no production of ice.

So, check out the water pressure in your place. If it’s low, connect with the utility company to make arrangements.


A commercial ice maker producing soft, murky, too thick, or too thin ice is a common problem. Clean the ice maker and the water filter and then get in touch with commercial ice maker repair Northern VA services for an inspection.