Frequently Asked Questions about REALice®

How does REALice work?

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

What are the benefits of using REALice?
  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
How much energy, GHG emissions and money can I save with REALice?

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.

What is REALice's Return On Investment (ROI)?

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.

How is the quality of the ice?

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.

How is REALice installed?

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.

Can I use REALice on existing ice?

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 than the old one. Important: raise the ice temperature gradually and over time!  Learn more about how to start using REALice in the ICE Academy

Who is using REALice?

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

Is REALice safe to use?

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.

How long has REALice been on the market and is there warranty on the product?

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.

Can regular water be mixed with REALice treated water?

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.

Why is there snow build up on the ice?

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%.

How can I melt all the snow left in the gauges after heavy user groups have been on the ice?

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.

Can lack of a wash result in more snow on the ice?

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.

Getting started with REALice, what do I do if now the cold water freezes too fast and the ice gets brittle?

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.

What is the wash water used for, and does every ice machine have wash water?
  • 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
What are Best Practices when using the REALice Technology?
  • 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:
How much time should I allow to resurface the ice?

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.

How about maintenance for the REALice System?

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

Ways to measure/calculate savings with REALice?
  • 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! 
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