Automatic Commercial Ice Makers


Automatic commercial ice makers make and harvest ice and may include a means for storing and dispensing ice. They have a condensing unit and ice-making section operating as an integrated unit, and the condenser can either be air-cooled or water-cooled. Ice makers can be divided into two categories: batch type and continuous type. Batch-type ice-makers operate with alternate freezing and harvesting periods and include cube-type and tube-type machines. Continuous-type ice-makers continually freeze and harvest ice at the same time and primarily produce flake or nugget ice. Automatic commercial ice makers are typically found in hotels, restaurants, health care facilities, and educational settings.


Federal standards for ice-makers were adopted in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and became effective in 2010. The standards, for cube ice-makers with capacities between 50 and 2,500 lb per 24-hour period, were based on state standards adopted earlier by Arizona, California, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington. The standards for energy use are expressed as kWh per 100 pounds of ice and vary based on capacity and equipment type. The current standards also limit the condenser water use for water-cooled equipment.

DOE published a final rule for updated standards in January 2015. DOE extended coverage to flake, nugget, and tube-type machines and to capacities up to 4,000 pounds per 24 hours. Standards are based on the maximum energy use and maximum condenser water use to make 100 pounds of ice. The 2015 standards are effective in 2018.

Air-cooled, cube-type ice makers are eligible for ENERGY STAR qualification.  Qualified units use about 15% less energy than standard units. The ENERGY STAR specification also contains a requirement for potable water use. Businesses could save about 1,200 kWh/year and about 2,500 gallons of water a year by using ENERGY STAR-qualified models. 


The minimum amount of water necessary to produce 100 pounds of ice is 12 gallons. However, additional water is typically required because of incomplete freezing, purge water, or harvest melting, which can add about 15-50 gallons per 100 pounds of ice. The ENERGY STAR specification limits potable water use to 25 gallons per 100 pounds of ice for most types of ice-makers. Technology options for improving the energy efficiency of ice-makers include higher insulation levels, higher efficiency compressors, and improved fan motors and fan blades.

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Federal Date States
Potential Effective Date of Updated Standard 2026
Updated DOE Standard Due 2023
2nd Federal Standard Effective 2018
2nd Federal Standard Adopted (DOE) 2015
Test Procedure - Last Revised - Active Mode 2012
Test Procedure - Last Revised - Active Mode 2012
2010 RI Standard Effective *
2010 NY Standard Effective *
1st Federal Standard Effective 2010
2008 WA Standard Effective
2008 AZ Standard Effective
2008 OR Standard Effective
2007 CA Standard Effective
EPACT Initial Federal Legislation Enacted 2005
2005 WA Standard Adopted
2005 AZ Standard Adopted
2005 RI Standard Adopted
2005 OR Standard Adopted
2005 NY Standard Adopted
1st Federal Standard Adopted (Congress) 2005
2004 CA Standard Adopted

* State standard never went into effect due to preemption by federal standard.

Timeline reflects state standards from 2001 to present; federal standards from inception to present.