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Do Ice Makers Need a Drain? (Quick Answers)

An ice maker, sometimes also called an ice generator or an ice machine, is an appliance for – as the name implies – making ice.

Ice makers are comfort appliances that are used to make and store ice in the comfort of our home. Apart from stocking the ice up for beverages, parties and guests, ice has its medical and cosmetic uses as well.

Commercial ice makers are used to produce large sheets of ice commercially—often used to store food products, for instance, fish, meat, fruits, vegetables, and so on. 

The appliance can either be a consumer device found in a solitary device for making ice, a home freezer for producing small amounts of ice, or an industrial-sized freezer to produce ice on a large scale.

Let us learn some interesting facts and other FAQs (frequently asked questions) regarding ice makers.

Do ice makers need a drain?

Ice makers need a drain. However, most undercounter ice makers need drains to drain out the melted ice, but it also comes with exceptions where the appliances either recycle the melted water or keep the ice frozen. Besides, every commercial freezer needs to have a drain to drain out the water. 

If there’s a need to produce a large amount of ice, we need commercial-based equipment. In that case, drains are a necessity since these appliances use a huge amount of water.

But if our needs for ice are small, the consumer-based ice makers don’t always need drains, especially the portable ones since they have reservoirs and can recycle the melted water.

Ice makers come in various types and further variations. Let’s head on to some brief factual descriptions to gain a better understanding of why some ice makers need drains and others don’t.

Countertop Ice Makers:

As the name suggests, countertop ice makers are made to be functional on a regular line of time. While some countertop ice makers need drains to drain out the purged water, other highly advanced appliances can recycle the melted water.

Frigidaire EFIC189 Compact Ice Maker, Aglucky Portable Ice Maker, etc. are some examples of countertop ice makers.

Freestanding Ice Makers:

Freestanding ice makers produce a large quantity of ice throughout the whole day without requiring a permanent water line. It’s freestanding, has no need to be integrated, and requires limited space to be functional.

Some freestanding ice makers include Igloo Automatic Portable Electric Ice Maker, Crownful Countertop Ice Maker, and Euhomy 40-Pound Portable Ice Maker.

Built-In Ice Makers:

These particular ice makers are built into the kitchen cabinets, under-the-countertops, or beside a bar, but can occasionally work as freestanding units as well. All built-in ice makers need a constant water line but no drains. 

With the exception of a few, built-in ice makers do not need drains. 

Under-counter Ice Makers:

The name is self-explanatory, and they’re built under the counters. Most of them require a drain, except for some that don’t because they act as a freezer and keep the ice frozen. However, they have no need for a constant water line. 

Do all ice makers need a drain?

No, not all ice makers need a drain. Because all commercial ice machines need drains but not all consumer ice makers need them since some of them recycle the melted water or keep the ice frozen and prevent it from melting.

Commercial ice equipment needs a drain to filter out the purged water that melts due to these large appliances using a massive amount of water, and depending on the configuration, the drains can range from a single one to four or five.

Can an ice maker be installed without a drain?

No, ice makers cannot be installed without a drain. However, there are some ice makers that do not need drains, particularly to function. But, most of the ice makers do need a drain for proper functionality.

As described previously, commercial-based ice makers deal with a massive amount of water and that results in a lot of melted water. 

To keep the ice makers functional and avoid flooding, every commercial ice maker needs drains ranging from one to three or four installed to help drain out the water.

On the other hand, consumer device-based ice makers have a fifty-fifty need for a drain to be installed since some of them have the need for water to be drained out and some don’t. 

In particular, portable ice makers have no need for drains as the appliance recycles the melted water into additional ice.

3 reasons why ice makers need a drain

Your ice maker need drain for the following reasons –

Draining the extra water before ice forms:

During ice making, the appliances release a certain amount of water. This is to avoid the water in the line from getting frozen and clogging the whole system and increasing losses. 

To keep the machine working, clean and to avoid clogging, drains are made to drain out the water systematically and efficiently.

Draining the condensation from the air conditioning units:

The air conditioning units that work to freeze the water or keep the ice frozen, drip condensation. This condensation needs a way to drain out of that area to avoid flooding. To get that water flushed away, a specific drainage system has been created.

Draining the purged water from the stored ice:

Ice makers don’t always have the required low temperature to keep the stored ice from melting. Thus, a certain amount of ice always ends up melting. 

When the purged water melts, it needs designated drainage to be drained away; otherwise, the efficiency of the appliance might be put to test.

How to install an ice maker drain?

The following steps will help to install an ice maker drain –

Make sure the icemaker is not connected to any outlet:

To install a functional drain, the first and foremost thing that needs to be done is to make sure it is not connected to any outlet.

Finding out if the ice maker is in need of drainage:

After making sure that the icemaker is cut loose from any connections to certain outlets, it is necessary to know if the ice maker needs a drainage system. Most commercial ice machines need drains that range from one to four and are permanent.

Consumer ice makers don’t always need drains.Thus, while we install the ice maker, it is very important to find out whether or not the ice maker we bought for ourselves needs a drainage system.

Check whether the icemaker has a factory installed pump:

It is very important to check whether the icemaker you got for yourself has a factory-installed pump inside it. It is highly likely that the hose connections inside the drain pump might have gotten loosened. 

Thus, check the connections carefully and fix them accordingly to avoid any kind of unwanted accident.

Deciding the place for the ice maker to be installed:

After finding out if the ice maker that you are about to install needs a drainage system, the next step—probably the most important step—is to figure out where the ice maker is to be installed.

It is a crucial step since, once it’s integrated, the area cannot be changed constantly, except for a portable ice maker. Also, the drainage system depends on the location of the ice maker.

Examining the surrounding floor:

It is important to examine the floor thoroughly for the presence of any water and other foreign particles that can cause the icemaker to get electrocuted. It is very necessary to prevent any kind of electrocution either inside or outside the icemaker.

Installing the ice maker per the instructions on the package:

After figuring out what type of drainage system the ice maker needs, the steps or instructions to install the drain usually come with the package of the ice maker. 

Onwards, the appliance can either be installed by ourselves if we’re confident enough in our skills, or professional help might be needed.

Does an ice maker need a water line?

Yes, an ice maker needs a water line. However, this usually depends on the type of ice maker that is being used.

As we have already discussed four types of ice makers earlier above, we have noticed that some of them need constant plumbing while the others don’t.

Moreover, as we’ve established, countertop and freestanding ice makers usually stay above the counter and usually have reservoirs set in them. As a result, they have no need for a water line.

But, on the other hand, built-in ice makers always need a water line, and, without a few exceptions, so do under-counter ice makers. Therefore, the usage of water lines in ice makers is dependent on what type of ice maker we are getting for ourselves.

Final Thought

Ice producers do, in fact, require a drain. Moreover, most undercounter ice makers require drains to remove the melted ice. However, there are outliers where the melted water is recycled or the ice is kept frozen. Furthermore, every industrial freezer must include a drain for the water to drain.