Frequently Asked Questions about REALice®

REALice removes micro-bubbles from water that’s used when laying and resurfacing the ice. The ice-sheet can be resurfaced with REALice ambient temperature water which eliminates the need to burn natural gas to heat the water. By removing micro-bubbles, the ice sheet becomes a more compact sheet of ice. Learn more about the REALice technology

  1. Reduced energy usage (gas) from not heating up the water
  2. Save CO2 emissions, due to less usage of kw and gas
  3. Decreased energy usage (kw), due to raising the brine temp (ice sheet is more compact)
  4. Less usage of compressor(s), due to raising the brine temp
  5. Reduction of usage of de-humidifier, due to less evaporation by using cold water

The average savings per ice sheet (160 gallons/ resurfacing, 10/d, 48 weeks/y) are:

  • Natural Gas: 400 GJ – 600 GJ
  • Electricity: 50,000 kWh and up
  • Emissions: 50t of CO2 and up

The amount of money you can save with REALice depends on the rink size and price for gas and electricity. Our customers tell us they’re saving anywhere between $1,000.-  to $1,200.- per month on a single pad. Annual savings depend on each rink’s season, but a 12-month operation can save $24,000 a year – or more.

The return on investment can is usually between two and three years. This depends on the size of the arena, the amount of water, the number of resurfaces of the ice each day, temperature of the water applied and the ice’s thickness. With additional support from local utilities or if applied in a twin pad rink, the return on investment can be less than one year

Laying the ice using REALice treated water gives you an optimal foundation for high quality ice. REALice treated water produces ice which is hard and more resilient than traditional ice. As REALice removes the micro-bubbles fro the water, the resulting ice obtains greater clarity so that advertising and lines become more clearly visible through it.

Installation is simple and takes between 1-2 hours (certified plumber): REALice is installed next to the ice resurfacers’ water filling station.
The hose for the ice resurfacer is connected directly to the REALice system. If needed, we recommend to install a mixing valve and a back flow preventer. The mixing valve helps to add a little bit of warmer water (max. 64°F). This might be needed, if the outside temperature drops significantly below 32°F or if during the transition, when REALice is applied to an existing sheet of ice, larger gouges are being observed from heavy user groups on the ice. As the ice settles the gouges will get smaller over time. For more information on installing REALice, please refer to the Ice Academy

Yes you can. Start by planing down the ice approximately  0.59″ – 0.79″ (15-20mm), or to the point where any advertisement and other graphics show. Afterwards start to rebuild the ice with REALice-treated cold water only.  It is important to apply the new ice in thin layers that gets time to freeze in between refurbishing the ice. It is sufficient enough to add 0.59″ of the new ice since it will be considerably stronger then the old one. Important: raise the ice temperature gradually and over time!  Learn more about how to start using REALice in the ICE Academy

REALice is in use in over 320 ice arenas worldwide and by the NHL Winter Classic.

Among these are arenas are:

Many more see references

Yes, REALice is safe. The technology has been tested in ISO 17025 accredited labs for pressure (up to 98.1bar), temperature (up to 363.20ºF/ 184°C) and  food safety

REALice has been in the market since 2008 and is now in its second generation. The first ever installed REALice unit was installed in 1998 in the Malmö Arena in Sweden. It was hand-carved and is still in use.

Life expectancy is > 10 years, warranty is 5 years.

No. Regular water cannot be mixed  with REALice treated water even as little as washing the ice rag. Mixing the water would immediately aerate the treated water again. Once on REALice water, it has to be exclusive.

Snow build up on an ice sheet is created if the temperature is either too high (creates more snow, slash/wet snow), too low (creates more snow, chippy/dry snow) or the humidity in the rink is not correct. Ideal humidity in the rink lies at 53% – 57%.

In that case the wash water cannot get all the snow out of the gauges, therefore when you have a heavy load on the ice add a little warm water in to the wash water max 18-20 degrees and problem will be solved. Important: use all water thru the REALice system.

If your ice resurfacer doesn’t have wash water capabilities, then add a little bit of warm water, again max 65°F- to your resurfacing water, when dealing with heavy user groups.

NO, what happens is, when the machine is driven too quickly, the snow in the gauges will jump up, resulting in a rough surface. If the standard resurfacing practices are followed for resurfacing the ice, (NHL size 8-10 min), there will be no problem, REALice creates less gauges and even without wash water, it will be no problem to get a great sheet of ice.

  • Older machines, no wash water installed
  • Yes can be mounted after, sledge needed to be changed and tank need to be mounted
  • Wash water tank, +/- 100L
  • Purpose of wash water, to clean gauges
  • As REALice creates less gauges, less wash water will be needed
  • We recommend to use wash water
  • Wash water need to have some temperature, approx. 20 degrees Celsius

Starting with REALice you have to adjust your brine temperature up (warmer) right away. As you lower the temperature of the resurfacing water you go up (warmer) with the brine temperature. Observe the snow produced on the ice. Best ice produces powdery snow. Start using the wash water with every ice clean. The wash water will fill the gauges.

To resurface the ice, allow at least 8minutes and 3-5 minutes to let the ice dry. Drive the ice resurfacer machine slowly, especially in the corners.

REALice is 100% maintenance free, no additional energy sources systems needed

  • Always ensure that your blade is good and sharp
  • Shave the ice with each flood in addition to collecting snow
  • If needed, add tempered water (max 68°F) to the resurfacing water
  • Use tempered water for the wash water
  • Take your time to do the ice and drive the ice resurfacer slowly:
  • NHL size: 8-10 min, Olympic size: 10-12min
  • Use a handheld device to build the ice, and to perform maintenance and repairs
  • REALice Water and normal water cannot be mixed. Do not bypass the system! 
  • Comparing current to previous utility bills (monitoring kWH, GJ / therm / m3 of natural gas usage / oil usage)
  • Monitoring compressor loads and running time and comparing with previous logs
  • Install separate sub meters on compressors and logging the run time and kWh usage, i.e with Eyedro Business Electricity Monitors
  • Calculate savings by entering the temperature difference for resurfacing water & increase in brine temperature:
More Frequently Asked Questions

FortisBC completed a pilot project investigating into vortex mechanical de-aerator technology during 2014 ice season. Ten arenas in the Canadian province of British Columbia were chosen to evaluate REALice in their arenas.

See Study Results from the FortisBC pilot program

Yes, with the REALice technology cold water can be used to flood and resurface the ice. Depending on the conditions some ambient temperature water needs to be mixed in. The temperature of the water although should never exceed 18 degrees Celsius.

In untreated water, limescale appears in the form of calcite, which has an angular shape on the limescale crystal. This means that it easily attaches to other limescale crystals, pipes and nozzles, forming limescale deposits. These limescale deposits obstruct the water supply and routinely have to be removed. In water treated using the REALice System, calcite is transformed into aragonite, which has a more rounded shape and consequently does not attach itself to other limescale crystals, pipes or nozzles.

The adoption rates of REALice in Europe (as of fall 2012):

  • The Netherlands 50%
  • Finland 17%
  • Sweden 15%
  • Germany 5%
  • Switzerland 5%
  • France 2%

Italy, Russia, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Spain, currently feature 2-3 units per country. Thanks in large part to the strong support from the KHL, the number of systems in Russia is quickly growing and is on track to reach 10-15% in the near future.

Besides removing the micro air bubbles present in the water, the vortex generator has a big influence on other aspects of the water, such as increased heat transfer capacity, lowered viscosity, increase in electrical conductivity…

Yes. Due to the reduced compressor loads by using REALice the service life of the compressors can increase by about 10 % or 2.5 years.

  • International Ice Hockey Federation
  • Swedish Hockey Federation
  • Finnish Hockey Federation

Yes, the ice rink water treatment system assessment, by the Design & Engineering Services Customer Service Business Unit Southern California Edison, was conducted in Dec. 2010.

    • The study was conducted on a small arena (75 gallons per resurface, 8 x daily) in California, applying the first generation of REALice.
    • Edison quantifies the electricity savings and estimates the savings on natural gas without quantifying it.
    • Edison mentions improved product as a result of using REALice;  better, harder ice through elimination of impurities through the Vortex treatment process.
    • Edison also mentions the impact of REALice on other applications such as preventing hard water scales build up. Preventing lime scale build up in the ice resurfacer machine for example extends its life span and reduces maintenance time.
    • Edison recommends REALice to all their ice rink customers as an energy savings solution


Large-scale study through FortisBC with 10 participating arenas across British Columbia


  • 90% of the pilot participants successfully adapted their operations to the REALice technology.
  • The achieved ice quality was evaluated from acceptable to excellent.
  • Fortis quantified the average savings across the participating pilot arenas at 330 GJ in Natural Gas per year
  • Across the pilot arenas, an increase of the slab temperature was required at all sites and an average increase of  3°F was observed. A reduction in the ice slab thickness on average by 0.25 – 0.5 inch was noted also.
  • Electricity savings through increasing the slab temperature (approx. 20,000 kWh per 1.8°F) and reduction of the ice thickness (according to SaskPower and Manitoba Hydro) are significant and can be added on top of the calculated electricity savings from the Fortis report. Please refer to the Ice Rink Resurfacing Efficiency Pilot – Summary of Study Results to see internal results and estimates from some of the arenas.

Yes, using cold water to flood the ice eliminates the need to operate with hot water 60ºC/140ºF to 71ºC/160ºF takes away the risk of burning injuries for anyone involved in the ice making process.

REALice is engineered, designed and manufactured in Sweden by Watreco AB in Sweden.

The trademark REALice is owned by the Watreco Group in Sweden.  Watreco operates within the fields of limescale reduction and ice & snow.

The REALice system is based on the processing and treatment of water in a natural, ecological and environmentally-friendly way.

Within the framework of REALice, a complete system for treating water for artificially-frozen ice rinks has been developed, which delivers harder, better and more energy-efficient ice.

The Watreco/REALice vortex generator is protected by an international patent. It is able to generate a well-defined vortex at a considerably lower pressure and flow than what can be achieved through other techniques.

Yes, we offer support for any arena installing and using REALice:

  • Comprehensive manual, guide and tips
  • Connecting ice makers with ice makers already using REALice
  • Phone support from USA and from the manufacturer in Sweden.

Yes, we offer to help you monitor and evaluate at the savings with the REALice System.

No, REALice is not removing anything out of the water except from air bubbles. By removing of the air bubbles, the properties of the water is altered – viscosity is decreased and the heat transfer capacity increased.

The REALice system is a complete solution, developed, applied and tested to the highest standards of engineering, executed (3D printing) and quality controlled in Sweden. The system is priced on a ROI of  2 – 3 years on a single sheet of ice (depending on the arena and prices paid for gas and electricity) and enables you to fundamentally change the operation of your arena by using cold instead of hot water to resurface the ice. Besides creating excellent ice, saving energy and costs these are the additional benefits:

  • less humidity in the arena – less draw on de-humidifiers,
  • less draw on compressors and therefore extended life,
  • reduced load on hot water boilers,
  • reduced lime scale build up,
  • less ice cleans and less water used

Absolutely, the heat recovery only will affect the gas bill, since wouldn’t have to pay for heating up the water. Significant savings using the REALice system will still occur for:

1.) compressors, less running time
2.) de-humidifer, less running time
3.) less maintenance in the building, due to less humidity
4.) less maintenance on the Zamboni
5.) without air bubbles, thinner ice and less energy used

Yes, it is. Studies have shown that the overall uniformity of ice strength is much better after the installation of the REALice system. This means that the ice was more consistent in hardness across the entire rink.

You can contact Cypress, Ltd. 24/7/365 Customer Service Center 380 N. San Jacinto Street Hemet, CA  92545 E: Call us toll free: (844) 464-8408

Savings Calculator