Most Common Opal Nugget Ice Maker Questions Answered

The Opal Nugget ice maker is one of the most popular choices of ice makers because of its quality, brand name, features and durability. But there are a lot of common questions people have about the Opal Nugget Ice Maker ranging from why the ice is melting to why it's so loud and how to make the most out of the machine.

In this article, I will answer some of the most common questions that people have about the Opal Nugget Ice Maker. This will mainly apply for the version 1 and version 2 of the machine but some may also be applicable to the newer Opal Dispense.

By the time you have read through all the Opal nugget ice maker FAQ’s, you will be an expert on this machine. 

Can I Leave My Opal Nugget Ice Maker On All The Time?

One of the most common questions people ask all the time is can you leave the Opal Nugget ice maker on 24 hours a day or do you need to turn it off?

You can leave an Opal Budget ice maker on all the time. However, it won’t make ice during the entire duration that it is turned on. 

Leaving the ice maker on all the time is fine – nothing harmful or damaging will happen to the ice maker. 

If you leave the ice maker on all the time, it will make ice until the 3 pound bucket is full and then the ice maker will automatically switch off. So it won't run 24 hours a day unless you are constantly emptying the ice bucket every 3 hours.

If you are constantly using the ice and emptying the ice bucket then the Opal Nugget Ice Maker will eventually run out of water in the reservoir and in the side water tank. You will then need to refill it if you want it to continue to make ice.

If you don't empty the ice bucket then the Opal will switch off once the bucket is full. Over time some ice in the ice bucket will melt, triggering the Opal to make fresh ice cubes and the machine will turn back on again.

If you leave the ice maker unplugged, all the ice will melt and return back to the reservoir where it can be used to make new ice.

The Opal Nugget 2.0 comes with an app that you can use to set a schedule, choosing when you want the machine to turn off automatically. This is great as you can schedule it to be on during certain times of the day and off when you won't be using it (like when you are at work or asleep for example).

The Opal only takes about 15-20 minutes to start making ice and then make 1 pound per hour. So scheduling it to turn on 60 to 90 minutes before you need ice is a good idea.

Can The Opal Nugget Ice Maker Be Hooked Up To A Water Line?

Many ice makers offer a way to be hooked up to a water line, especially when dealing with commercial ice makers, but what about the 2.4 L Opal Nugget ice maker? 

The Opal Nugget ice maker can not be hooked up to a water line, in order to get longer lasting usage you will need to purchase the side tank. Multiple side tanks can be hooked up for longer lasting ice making. 

The Opal Nugget ice maker is not made to be connected to a water line and it has no features that can be hooked to a water line. The Opal Nugget Ice Maker works by drawing water from its own reservoir or side tank to make the ice.

There are some people who choose to modify their ice maker to be connected to the water line, but you run the risk of nullifying your warranty. Commercial nugget ice makers work by being hooked up directly to a water line, allowing them to run constantly without having to be refilled and some Opal Nugget Ice Maker alternatives have the option to be hooked up to a water line.

For example the Gevi Household Nugget Ice Maker is a newer addition to the market and can be hooked up directly to a water line, so no refilling is required.

Gevi Household Nugget Ice Maker
$489.99

This ultra quiet nugget ice maker can produce up to 29 lbs of ice per day and is insulated to stop ice from melting. Can be directly connected to a water line, meaning no refills required, and it can hold up to 4.8 lbs of ice at a time - one of the largest capacities of any household nugget ice machine.

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12/03/2022 03:23 pm GMT

The Opal Nugget ice maker does not actually need to be hooked up to a water line as it comes with a water reservoir and detachable storage water tank. 

One of the features that this ice maker has is the ability to recirculate melted ice into the water reservoir, so you don’t need to hook it up to a water line for it to work efficiently and unless you are using A LOT of ice you don't really need to refill it too often so it's not really a problem.   

What Is The Opal Side Tank For? Do You Need It For The Machine To Work?

One of the handy features of the Opal Nugget ice makers is the nifty side tank that comes with the appliance. 

The Opal side tank is a detachable water storage tank found on the side of the Opal Nugget ice maker, used to store additional water. The side tank does not need to be attached for the machine to work. 

The Opal side tank is designed to make users' lives easier so they don’t have to keep refilling the water reservoir constantly. The side tank comes with the machine and slots into its specific slot. 

It allows you to create 3x more ice than the reservoir alone so means you only have to think about refilling the machine every so often. Great for households with high usage and the great thing is this add-on isn't too expensive.

Side Tank for 2.0 Opal Nugget Ice Make
$123.60

This 0.75 Gallon side tank allows you to produce 3x more ice than the reservoir alone and can be easily attached to the Opal Nugget Ice Maker.

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It's compact and slim-lined so it doesn't take up too much bench space and it's easy to clean the Opal side tank along with your machine.

If you don’t want to fill the tank for whatever reason, or perhaps you’ve lost the tank, the machine will still work as usual. The water reservoir will be the only source of water for the machine to use. 

Should I Unplug My Opal Nugget Ice Maker When It’s Not In Use?

When it comes to electrical appliances, many people are wary about leaving things plugged in when they’re not in use. 

The Opal Nugget ice maker does not need to be unplugged when it is not in use; it is up to personal preference. 

Leaving your Opal Nugget ice maker plugged in while you are not using it will not result in any damage to your machine or electrical outlet. It also won't draw much power when it's not in use.

Many people choose to leave the machine plugged in just for the convenience, or they simply keep forgetting to unplug the machine.  

Leaving the machine plugged will not use much extra electricity as the machine is not in use. 

However, if you live in an area that is prone to electrical problems like power surges, leaving the machine plugged in is not a good idea. Surges in the electrical wires from things like lightning strikes can damage the appliance. 

Does The Opal Nugget Ice Maker Use A Lot Of Electricity?

With the cost of living climbing, many people are looking at ways to save money, and using electricity unnecessarily is one of them. So you may be wondering, do ice makers use a lot of electricity? 

The Opal Nugget ice maker usages around 300 Watts of electricity when in us, but does not run 24 hours a day as it turns off automatically when the ice bin is full. On average it uses around 1 kWh/day costing around $0.11-$0.33/day depending on the cost of your electricity.

This comes to anywhere between $3-$10 per month in electricity costs with regular usage or $12-$40/month with extremely high usage. 

This isn’t really a lot of electricity being used because unless you’re planning on making 100 margaritas in the span of 24 hours, there is no need for the machine to be running full time. 

Generally, the Opal ice makers are not the most energy-efficient, but they are less power intensive than appliances like fridges. 

You can find out more about the costs of running an Opal Nugget ice maker by checking out my helpful guide on the costs of running an Opal Nugget Ice Maker‘. 

Can I Put Juice In The Opal Nugget Ice Maker?

There is nothing better than a glass of ice-cold juice on a hot day. Imagine how good it would be if you could make nugget ice cubes with juice instead of water. What would happen if you switched things up and added juice into your Opal Nugget ice maker? 

You can NOT put juice into the Opal Nugget Ice maker as this is dangerous to the machine and creates a sticky mess. Placing juice in your Opal Nugget Ice Maker can lead to excessive bacteria and mold growth that can be difficult to clean.

As much as you may think adding juice to your Opal Nugget ice maker is a good idea, it really isn't, for a multitude of reasons. 

Firstly, the Opal Nugget ice maker was designed for use with water and it actually works best with distilled water as this will prevent limescale buildup and white residue that comes from minerals in hard water.

Adding juice to the machine can result in a number of problems. Here are some examples: 

  • The juice can cause the sensors and gears in the ice maker to get gummed up and blocked, causing serious damage to the ice maker. This is due to the high levels of sugar found inside the juice. 
  • The Opal Nugget was not designed to process juice, so when you add it to the machine, it can create a sticky mess and does not produce ice properly. 
  • The sugar in juice can lead to excessive mold and bacteria growth which can be difficult to clean.

If you really want nugget ice cubes made from juice then I suggest a small nugget ice cube tray as one of the best ways to make nugget ice at home without a machine.

Given you'll rarely want juice nugget ice cubes it's a good way to make them on the odd occassion while still protecting your Opal from damage.

Mini Nugget Ice Cube Trays
$13.97

These mini ice cube trays make 160 cubes of nugget ice each. Made from 100% food grade silicone these trays and BPA and great for kids drinks of cocktails.

Pack also comes with a ice bin for storing ice cubes and a plastic scoop for serving.

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12/03/2022 08:53 pm GMT

Can You Put Milk In The Opal Nugget Ice Maker?

I’m not sure if milk nugget ice is a trend, but if you’re probably wondering if you can add milk to your ice maker, here is the answer. 

While the Opal Nugget ice maker manual does not explicitly say not to add milk, it says not to add other liquids besides water. So no, you shouldn't put milk in the Opal Nugget ice maker. 

The Opal Nugget ice maker was designed to use water only. By adding milk, you run the risk of damaging your machine. 

It’s probably not a good idea to leave milk sitting in the water tank as it can go off rather quickly, and if the machine is not cleaned properly after adding milk, it can begin to smell and grow harmful mold and bacteria that will be difficult to clean.

I recommend NOT putting milk in your Opal Nugget ice maker. 

What Is The Warranty On The Opal Nugget Ice Maker? 

Like most household appliances, the Opal ice makers also come with a warranty. 

Regardless of the model, the Opal Nugget ice maker comes with a limited one-year warranty and nothing else. 

While the Opal Nugget may be an amazing ice maker, the warranty that comes with it leaves a lot to be desired and makes people question whether or not the Opal Nugget Ice Maker is worth the money.

The maker, GE Appliances, only provides a limited one-year warranty and does not offer extended warranties at a further cost. This can suck if one year and one day into your machine's lifespan the Opal Nugget ice maker stops making ice for some unknown reason.

However, some credit card companies do offer automatic warranty extensions when you purchase using their card. This could be one way to get a longer warranty on your Opal Nugget Ice Maker.

Also, some store offer extended warranties up to 4-5 years on products that you purchase from them. If this offer is available I suggest you get it as the Opal Nugget Ice Maker can have problems that are difficult to fix.

One of the reasons nugget ice makers are so expensive is they have complex parts and these can break easy and be difficult to fix when it does happen. So an extended warranty is usually money well spent.

The warranty only covers problems that were caused by poor workmanship or defective products within one year from the day the machine was purchased. 

These are the things that the warranty does not cover:

  • Improper installation 
  • Replacements of house fuses and circuit breakers 
  • Damage caused after delivery 
  • Incidental damage to the appliance  
  • Damage caused to the appliance by flooding or fire 

You can up more on the Opal Nugget ice maker warranty here

How Does The Opal Nugget Ice Maker Know When To Stop?

You may have noticed that your Opal Nugget ice maker stops on its own when it's made enough ice. But how does it know how to do this? 

The Opal Nugget ice maker knows when to stop once the built-in sensors alert the machine that the ice bin is full. 

The Opal Nugget ice maker comes pre-built with a number of senses that can tell when the ice box is full. The ice maker has two sensors that are found at the entrance of the ice chute. 

One of the simplest ways the ice maker does that is by weighing how ice is in the ice box. If the ice box is over 3 pounds, the machine will stop producing ice. 

Why Is The Opal Nugget Ice Maker So Loud?

One of the downsides of owning an Opal Nugget ice maker is that it can sometimes be quite noisy, but more often than not, this just means that they are doing their job. 

The Opal Nugget ice maker is loud because it is running multiple functions at once. For example, the noise you’re hearing could be the water pumping, the condenser fan running, the auger scraping ice off the internal cylinder, or the clicking of icing dropping into the ice bin. 

When your Opal Nugget ice maker is silent, then you should start to worry. 

Opal Nugget ice makers are noisy appliances because they complete so many functions. Running the compressor to cool down the internals plus the Opal uses a spinning auger to scrape ice off the walls of the cylinder which it then compresses into nugget ice cubes. Click here to see exactly how the Opal Nugget Ice Maker works.

This means when the Opal is running it's bound to be fairly noisy and some people have complained about this. However, the noise isn't high pitched or too annoying – it's more of a low hum.

The Opal will automatically switch off when the ice bin is full and then it will go quiet.

The surface of where you’ve placed the ice maker can also determine how noisy your ice maker can get. For example, the vibrations of the ice maker on a marble counter can be amplified. 

Why Is Ice Melting In My Opal Nugget Ice Maker?

It is frustrating when the ice in your ice maker is melting before you even get a chance to use it. There are a number of reasons why this could be happening. 

The ice melts in your Opal Nugget Ice Maker because the ice bin tray is NOT insulated nor refrigerated. Melted ice drips back into the water reservoir and is turned back into fresh ice. The warmer the outside temperatures the faster the ice will melt.

Many people forget that the Opal Nugget ice maker is not a freezer, nor is the ice bin insulated, so the ice stored in the ice bin will eventually melt.

There are some things you can do to stop the nugget ice sticking together in your Opal but the best solution (if you want to stop the ice melting completely) is to remove the ice from the storage bin and place it in a freezer bag and then store it directly in your freezer.

Can The Opal Nugget Ice Maker Make Larger Ice Cubes?

If you own an Opal Nugget ice maker, you will have noticed that the ice cubes produced are tiny, and you may be wondering if your ice maker can make larger ice cubes. A lot of cheaper ice machines have the option to choose either large or small ice cubes, can you do this with the Opal Nugget ice maker?

The Opal Nugget ice maker can not make larger ice cubes. The machine pushed compressed flakes ice through small metal holes which are broken off to maker the nugget ice cubes. There is no setting to make these holes, or the nugget ice cubes larger so only one size is available.

Other ice makers are able to make larger ice cubes as they have a different freezing process where ice freezes around a cold pipe. The longer the ice maker operates before the ice drops the larger the ice cubes become.

However, the Opal Nugget has parts that are only able to produce individual nugget ice blocks; check out my article explaining how a nugget ice maker works to understand the technology of the ice maker.