How Much Electricity (Amount & Cost) Do Ice Makers Use?

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Ice makers are a handy appliance to have around, as you don’t need to constantly fill and re-fill ice cube trays to have ice for your various beverages. But, like most small or large appliances, they can use a lot of electricity, which can significantly raise your energy bill. How much electricity do ice makers use?

Ice makers use 350-kilowatt hours (kWh) per month, which translates to about $10-$20 per month, based on a cost of $0.06/kWh, which applies to commercial and refrigerator ice makers. Portable ice makers, depending on the size, can use almost the same amount. 

If you’re considering getting a portable ice maker, or a refrigerator with an ice maker, then keep reading to find out how much higher your electric bill will be every month. 

Portable vs. Commercial Ice Makers

When you think of ice makers, you probably think of the portable countertop ice maker that people buy to use at home. However, there are several types of ice makers, including those that restaurants and other large businesses use.

Portable ice makers use 350-kilowatt hours (kWh) per month, and if electricity costs about $0.06 per kWh, it should cost around $21 per month to run your ice maker.

However, it doesn’t seem to matter if you have a large commercial ice maker or a residential portable ice maker, as it costs about the same to run. But the volume that a commercial ice maker makes compared to a portable ice maker is a lot higher. 

For example, a commercial ice maker can make 500 lbs (226.8 kg) of ice in one day.

But, portable ice makers can only make up to 40 lbs (18.14 kg) of ice in one day. For the money, commercial ice makers might seem to make more financial sense. Of course, if you don’t have the space or need for a commercial ice maker, then you might choose to get a portable ice maker.

Refrigerator Ice Makers

If your refrigerator already has an ice maker, along with an ice and water dispenser, then your electricity usage will already be factored into the cost of running your refrigerator. To calculate that cost, look at the “watts used” sticker on the back of your refrigerator.

Divide this number by 1,000 to get the kilowatts per hour. So if your refrigerator is 700 watts, then it uses 0.7 kWh. If the price of electricity in your area is about $0.03/kWh, then your energy cost is $0.21/kWh. 

That’s significantly more expensive than portable ice makers, but you also need to remember that it’s running your entire refrigerator and not just the ice maker. 

Water Cooled Ice Makers

While you won’t see water-cooled ice makers with portable ice makers, commercial ice makers often use water to transfer the heat from the refrigerant coils. These conserve energy because it takes less energy to run. But, they do not conserve water, as it takes at least 100 gallons (378.5 L) of water to cool the ice maker per 100 lbs (45.3 kg) of ice.

For example, if your business makes 62,500 lbs (28,349.54 kg) of ice per year, it would only cost $206 per year to run, compared to $323 per year for a base model ice maker. 

As you can see, using a water-cooled ice maker for your business might make sense if you’re not concerned about water consumption. If you are, let’s talk about the air-cooled ice makers and how much they would cost you to run per year.

Air-Cooled Ice Makers

Another type of commercial ice maker is the air-cooled version. These ice makers use fans to remove the heat from the refrigerant coils rather than water and are better for the environment due to their water conservation.

However, they don’t save you money on energy costs, as they can cost you up to $229 annually in electricity while still producing the same amount of ice as a water-cooled ice maker.

Ways To Save Money On Ice Makers

If you have a portable ice maker, there are ways that many people make it more expensive per month. They tend to use hot water, place it in a sunny place, or use it near heat sources. But this makes your ice maker work harder, which uses more electricity.

To save money on electricity with your portable ice maker, let’s talk about the different things you can do.

Use Cold Water Only

While this might seem like an idea that most people understand, you might be surprised to learn that many people seem to think that hot water freezes faster. However, when adding water to your ice maker, cold water takes less time to freeze. If you want to save money on your electric bill, only use cold water for your ice maker.

Place In a Cool Area

You don’t want to use your ice maker next to a heat source, such as the furnace or your kitchen stove, as the ambient temperature will make your ice maker work longer and harder to freeze your ice cubes. 

Instead, try putting your portable ice maker in a cool space, such as your basement or near the air conditioner in the summer. Or, if it’s during the cooler part of the year, such as winter, you might try putting your ice maker near the outdoors. 

However, you may not want to put it in the garage or outside if the temperature gets below freezing, as this could ruin the electronics in your appliance.

Keep It Out Of the Sun

Just as you don’t want to place your ice maker near a heat source, you also don’t want to place it in the sun. If your kitchen is sunny or has many windows, you’ll want to place it either on the floor out of the sun or in another room that doesn’t have a lot of sun exposure. 

The sun will cause the ambient temperature to get too warm, and your ice maker will work too hard and too long. This will cost you more money over the long term.

Keep It Clean

Dirty ice makers tend to cost more money in energy use than clean ice makers. This is because, over time, the bacteria and mold that grows in that damp environment will damage the machine, making it work harder to produce ice.

If you notice that your ice tastes funny or “off,” you will need to clean out your machine. There are several products you can use, including the Affresh Cleaner, found on Amazon.com. This product removes limescale and deposits on most free-standing ice makers and works for most brands.

Don’t Block the Air Flow

Most things that use electricity need airflow for them to run properly. Air conditioners, computers, and, yes, ice makers all need airflow to work right. Otherwise, they will overheat and not work properly. Therefore, to keep your ice maker working properly, make sure that nothing around it impedes airflow.

Otherwise, it will take a lot more electricity to run, which costs you more money.

Is It Cheaper To Buy Ice?

It can be cheaper to buy ice, depending on how much or how little ice you use per month. If you enjoy iced coffee or tea, then it might be more expensive to buy ice. However, if you use ice once in a while, it might be cheaper to buy ice.

Bags of ice usually cost around $3 per bag, and, depending on how much ice you use per day, you might spend more on ice bags rather than electricity. Of course, if you want to supplement your ice maker’s capabilities with bags of ice, that’s perfectly fine.

Why would you want to do this?

Let’s say that your ice maker is starting to break down, and it’s not making as much ice as it used to. Rather than use more electricity making ice, you can use store-bought ice instead.

On the other hand, if you use a lot of ice for iced coffee or tea or making smoothies, you might spend more money buying ice than you would on electricity for your portable ice maker. In this case, you would save money by using your ice maker.