Unfortunately the Opal Nugget Ice Maker does not have a refrigerated ice bucket. This means that once the ice is made it will eventually start to melt and refreeze back together again.
This tends to result in thick clumps of ice… not the crisp small crunchy nuggets you were hoping for!
However, there are a few different things that you can do to stop your nugget ice from sticking together in your Opal machine.
The best way to ensure that the ice from your Opal Nugget Ice Maker does not stick together is to only make the ice you need. The Opal starts working in as little as 20 minutes and can be turned on via the Opal App. Making it easy for you to produce ice on a schedule – when you know it will be used up. Also consider storing your Opal in a cool room out of direct sunlight, this will help reduce the rate the ice melts in the bucket.
If you want to know how to keep those ice nuggets cool, crisp and fresh then read on for some more helpful tips.
Why Does Ice In The Opal Nugget Ice Maker Stick Together?
1. Only Make The Ice When You Need It
One of the problems with the Opal Nugget ice Maker is unfortunately it does not have a refrigerated ice bucket. The ice bucket is just made of plastic and it also lacks any real insulation from the outside.
Once your nugget ice is made it will begin to melt, this happens faster on warm summer days than on cooler days and any melted ice drains back into the water reservoir and is recycled.
This is great for water conservation, however it also means that ice at the bottom of the 3 pound ice bucket will melt and stick together forming large solid clumps.
The best solution is to only make ice when you need it and then use the ice relatively quickly so it doesn't have time to melt and stick together.
The Opal only takes approximately 20 minutes to make its first cubes of ice and will produce approximately 1 pound of ice per hour so if you can plan ahead slightly then you can have fresh ice as you need it.
If you only produce ice when needed this will stop any ice sticking – if there is no ice in the bucket it will not start melting and refreezing back together again.
Why not consider downloading the Opal App?
The Opal is one of the only ice maker with Wifi and app capabilities you may as well take advantage of this handy function.
You can create an ice making schedule that suits your needs and reduces over production. This will also cut down the ongoing costs of running your Opal Nugget Ice Maker.
For example, you can set the Opal to turn on in the morning 1 hour or so before you wake up and need the ice. This way there will be a good amount of fresh ice ready for you when you wake up.
Or if you know you like to have your ice around lunchtime then set the Opal to turn on 1-2 hours before lunchtime.
Following this simple tip will ensure that only high quality crunchy nuggets of ice end up in your drink!
2. Transfer Ready Make Ice To The Freezer
The Opal can make up to 24 pounds of ice every single day! But it can only store 3 pounds of ice in the collection bin at a time.
24 pounds per day is way more than most people will ever use and the bin fills up pretty quickly.
Given the Opal will naturally make more ice than you can use why not transfer some of it to the freezer?
The key is to store the ice correctly, so that it doesn't stick together and also so it doesn't pick up any odors and make your drink taste awful!
Lots of articles suggest storing ice in paper bags because paper is porous and will soak up any excess moisture. Preventing the ice from melting and sticking together. But if I'm honest I really don't like this method of ice storage.
Paper bags will not stop contaminants reaching the ice! For this reason, paper bags should only be used as a moisture barrier and only if you REALLY need them. Most of the time you wont and a plastic ziploc bag on a tupperware container is a much better option.
Place your ice inside a ziplock bag or an airtight container. This prevent the ice sticking together and it will stop any funky smells or contaminants from entering the ice.
This way you can store bulk quantities of nugget ice and have it whenever you need it (or while you wait for your Opal to make more). Because the freezer will keep it completely frozen it won't stick together as much as it does in the Opal's catchment bin.
To ensure your ice doesn't stick together you want to make sure you don't put heavy things on top of the ice. When weight is placed on top of your ice it'll cause some of the ice to melt and then refreeze – making it stick together.
We recommend that you store your ice at the back of the freezer, away from the door where the temperature fluctuates the most and your ice is most at risk of melting and re-sticking.
Finally, ensure that your freezer is cold enough. The optimum temperature is 0°F (-18°C) or colder.
Using the Opal Nugget ice maker to make ice and then storing it is large bags is one of the fastest ways to make large quantities of ice in a short period of time. It's way faster than making ice the traditional way in your freezer at home.
3. Regularly Break Up The Ice With The Scoop
The longer your nugget ice sits the more likely it is to begin sticking together. However, you can minimize this by regularly breaking up the ice with the scoop.
Each time you grab some ice from your Opal don't just scoop the ice you need and leave the rest. Actively break up all the ice in the ice bin, even if you don't plan on using it all now.
By making it a habit to mix the ice in the bucket at regular intervals throughout the day, you can prevent the ice from sticking together.
4. Try To Take Ice From The Bottom (Not The Top)
Because the Opal stores up to 3 pounds of ice at a time most people when they need ice will just scoop the freshest ice off the top.
This can be fine as that ice won't be stuck together. However, what this means is the ice at the bottom of the bin will sit there for longer and have more time to melt and stick together.
Instead of just grabbing the ice from the top get in the habit of scooping the ice from the bottom of the collection bin and using that first.
5. Keep Your Opal Out Of The Sun
Placing your Opal on a countertop that catches the sun is really going to intensify the problem.
Not only could this slow down the ice making process and potentially reduce ice cube size or quality. It can also cause the ice in the ice bucket to melt faster.
By placing your Opal somewhere that remains in the shade throughout the day and isn't exposed to any direct sunlight will drastically reduce the problem.
Ideally keep your Opal in the coolest part of your kitchen. The less outside heat it's exposed to the less the ice cubes will melt and stick together.
6. Discard The Entire Bin of Ice and Start Again
Sometimes the ice has been sitting in the collection bin for so long that it's a lost cause.
Take the bin out of your Opal and tip all of the ice out. Then fill up the water canister and make a brand new fresh batch of ice.
It'll only take 20-30 minutes to start making fresh ice (due to the unique way the Opal Nugget Ice Maker works) and the bin will be full of fresh ice in just 3 hours.
7. Keep It In A Cool Room
Another factor to consider is the ambient temperature of the room you are storing the Opal in.
Most people store in the kitchen, this makes sense as it is where you make and prepare food and drinks.
However, it can be one of the hottest places in the home due to the heat produced by the oven / stove.
If you can reduce the temperature of the room you store the Opal in, you will reduce the ice melting and sticking back together further.
Why not consider storing it in the coolest room in the house?
8. Get An Insulated Alternative To The Opal
If you haven't already invested your money into the Opal then there are actually a variety of other nugget ice maker alternatives that feature insulated storage containers for the ice – leading to less melting and less sticking.
You can even get alternatives that self dispense the ice straight into your cup – breaking it up before it goes in and ensuring you never have stuck ice again.
The Opal Nugget Ice Maker does not have a refrigerated ice bucket which leads to the ice melting and sticking together. The best way to stop the Opal Nugget Ice sticking together is to only make what you need when you need it.
Try downloading the Opal App and creating a handy ice making schedule to suit your needs. That way you can ensure that only the best quality ice makes it into your drink!
Secondly, consider freezing the ice from the ice bucket in the freezer if you do accidentally over produce!
Just ensure that you store the ice correctly to avoid it sticking in the freezer or absorbing and rank odors. I recommend wrapping the ice in a paper back and then storing it in a zip lock bag or air tight container. Place this at the back of the freezer away from the door where the temperature is most stable.
Be mindful of where you are storing your Opal. Keep it out of direct sunlight, preferably in a cool room.
Finally, make it a habit to give the ice in your ice bucket a good shake or stir with the scoop at regular intervals throughout the day to prevent it sticking together.
Wondering if the Opal is worth the money?