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FAQs


Frequently asked questions about ice making and ice maintenance

Here we have prepared a list of FAQ’s related to the business of ice making and maintaining high-quality arena ice.


Q: How many gallons of water does it take to build one curling sheet?

A: If the floor is level, it will take approximately 1,000 gallons.

Q: How many gallons of water does it take to build one NHL sized rink?

A: If the floor is level, it will take approximately 10,600 gallons.

Q: What is the ideal ice temperature?

A: As a guideline only, this refers to Air / Ice Interface temperature:

  • Curling - the temperature should be 25F (-3C)
  • Hockey - the temperature should be 22F to 25F (-5.5C to -3C)
  • Figure Skating - the temperature should be 24F to 29F (-4.5C to -1.6C)

Q: At what temperature should I paint my ice?

A: Painting temperature varies, however, the colder the slab the better the results. Recommended temperatures are 16F to 18F (-7C to -9C). Keep in mind a dry building is also one of the other key factors for a good looking paint job.

Q: How do I remove oil and grease from my concrete floor?

A: Oil grease or any petroleum distillate should be removed prior to ice installation, as any floor contamination will eventually migrate to the surface. Residual board and glass cleaner have been known to inhibit bonding and cause detrimental effects on a painted surface. Citrus-based cleaners are effective on oil and grease but the least expensive is trisodium phosphate. Mix 10 parts water to 1 part trisodium phosphate to make a great concrete cleaner.

Q: Why is my ice cloudy?

A: Cloudy or occluded ice is caused by excessive mineral content or entrapped air in the water used to produce ice. Clear ice is made with treated water (low mineral content). Ice building floods should be done with water at 140F to 160F (60C to 71C).

Q: My good looking white paint went all grey?

A: Paint migration is usually caused by using too much water to seal with on a surface temperature not cold enough. Light sprays of water and a cold floor are the secret. When you think you have it sealed in, give it two more light sprays.

Q: How thick should my ice surface be?

A: Ice thickness in most NHL facilities vary from ¾" to 1½" of ice. The industry standard is 1½" and if you have heavy programming, you should carry 2" of ice. The ice re-surfacer cuts off far more then it puts down. One busy weekend, one bad driver and your goal crease has a corner missing.

Q: How do I build ice up in my goal creases?

A: Good driving practices are the best way to ensure constant thickness, but if you must build up the crease a ½" hose with nozzle is the best way to do it. Using light sprays that flash freeze is the answer. This is time consuming but it's the best way to fix it fast and while you are out there why not burn back those lines and circles a little.

Q: Why is my ice chippy or rutted?

A: Your ice is too cold. A lot of people think that chippy ice or rutted ice is soft ice. How many times have I heard “look at the big ruts, the ice is soft, make it colder”. The colder you make ice the more brittle it becomes. Raise the brine temperature when the ice becomes chippy or rutted.

Q: What is the best way to fill in holes after figure skating programming?

A: (a) Carry a higher surface temperature to avoid blowing out chunks of ice on jumps.

(b) Holes should be slushed in with wet snow prior to resurfacing. Some simply slow down the ice re-surfacer and increase the flood water - this is not an acceptable alternative.

Q: If my paint happens to freeze, can we still use it?

A: If the paint was to freeze, the pigment separates from the water and would require to be re-blended by using a drill with a special mixing attachment.

Q: How many bad ice re-surfacer drivers does it take to wreak havoc on my ice?

A: One!

Q: Softened water vs. hard water for ice making?

A: In the course of our work, we are sometimes asked about the merits of softened water as contrasted with those of hard water for arena use. Assuming that you, the arena operator have a choice of two water supplies, you should always pick the one offering the lowest sodium content. If you elect to use water from a conventional softener, you will be using “sodium water” - one whose metallic ions are 100% sodium and this will be reflected in the reduced quality of your ice surface in several ways. When you soften your water supply, you do not alter its pH, solids or alkalinity; you do however, convert all of the salts in the raw water to their sodium form - all of which are very much more soluble at low temperatures. For example, sodium bicarbonate is much more soluble at low temperatures. For example, sodium bicarbonate is much more soluble at 33 degrees than is calcium bicarbonate. This guarantees better embedment of such salts in the ice phase, which you do not want since it lowers freezing point, reduces hardness and exaggerates snow development. Further, the pH of your ice surface will climb steadily as your season progresses - more so than with less soluble calcium salts, for example - and a high pH ensures poor quality ice.


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