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Ice Machine Audit Checklist

Our ice machine audit checklist will help you identify possible gaps in your maintenance program. This resource will provide guidance on the optimal maintenance of healthcare facility ice machines, and contribute to safer machine use for patients, staff, and visitors.

The importance of an ice machine audit

Ice machine audits help to identify potential blindspots and associated health risks. The temperature inside ice machines (up to 100°F) creates the ideal conditions for Legionella to grow and spread, producing a serious risk of illness. In healthcare facilities where ice machines are used for patient care, the presence of Legionella and other pathogens is especially significant. Due to the risk of illness, the Joint Commission has specified that ice machines in healthcare facilities be regarded as critical control points in a facility’s water management plan, as they are considered to be high-risk utility system components. Performing routine cleaning, descaling, disinfection, and sanitization support compliance with the TJC guidelines. Additionally, regular ice machine maintenance helps eliminate bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants from the machine’s surface and inside the bin, and will ultimately improve performance. 


Answer the following questions to prepare for an ice machine audit

1. Does your setup have clear or translucent tubings or housings?

  • Light penetrating the system can facilitate the growth of harmful bacteria.

2. What is the capacity of your equipment and does it match your filter’s capacity? Are all of your equipment’s needs being met?

  • An ice machine may require up to 12 gallons of water for every 100lbs of ice. A 400lb-capacity ice machine will ultimately require 48 gallons of water per day. If your machine cleaning process occurs every 3 or 6 months, you need to multiply that by 48 gallons.

3. What are the capabilities and limitations of your current filtration system — is it designed to handle the following?

  • Taste
  • Odor
  • Scale
  • Chlorine or chloramine removal 
  • Soluble lead removal
  • Metal particulate 
  • E.coli
  • Is your filter FDA-cleared(1) to aid in infection control?
    • Does it address bacteria or viruses? (Legionella, Pseudomonas, NTM)

4. Alongside the capabilities and limitations of your filtration system, are there any warning labels that must be addressed? 

Example:

Do not use with water that is microbiologically unsafe or of unknown quality without adequate disinfection before and after your filter system.

  • This warning label provides information that indicates this filter is not a microbiological barrier, and that the media may only be rated for taste and odor reduction. This may allow bacteria to grow within the equipment.
  • This warning label also draws attention to the rest of your equipment’s system. This includes the disinfection of the tubing and equipment found before and after the filters within your system.

5. Have you tested the quality of the water sources for your ice machine?

It is very common that water filters for ice machines do not protect against bacteria, viruses, or endotoxins, and therefore do not provide microbiologically safe water. Additionally, there may be residual chemicals such as chlorine or chloramine present in your system before your filter.

Summary

Ice machines are an often overlooked critical control point in many healthcare facility water management plans. The insights gained from using this checklist will help you optimize system performance, contribute to streamlined maintenance processes, and support a safer environment for patient care.


(1) FDA-cleared filtration is time-sensitive (90-180 days), not based on capacity.

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Did you know…
Auditing your ice machine filtration program is an important way to both reduce maintenance costs and protect your customers from harmful pathogens.

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