Commercial Refrigerator Maintenance Puts Service Bills on Ice
When it comes to a major restaurant equipment purchase like a commercial refrigerator or commercial freezer, you want to do everything you can to ensure your commercial cooler is functioning at its best and that it lives as long as possible. Keeping your commercial refrigeration in proper working order can also provide considerable energy savings, considering commercial coolers account for as much as half a food service establishment’s power bills. Anything that makes a condenser work harder adds to that number.
To ensure proper maintenance and avoid costly service calls, KaTom offers the following checklist of maintenance tips to take you from install through years of reliable cooling.
A Commercial Refrigerator and Commercial Freezer Maintenance Checklist
Use a certified or licensed mechanical contractor when installing a walk-in cooler. There’s a lot to consider when bringing in one of these very large and very expensive commercial refrigerators. Though putting the walls up may seem easy, it takes a true professional to ensure the evaporator lines are installed properly, the line set is charged correctly, and everything else is just so.
Give it a day to rest before you plug it in. During transit and its move into your facility, the commercial refrigeration you ordered is likely to have been jostled and may have even been turned onto its side, particularly if you have short doors. As it shifts during shipping and delivery, the oil that lubricates the moving parts in the motor is likely to have shifted around the system, potentially leaving delicate parts uncovered. That could mean those parts scrape, wear, and even break within hours of your plugging it in if you don't give it time to rest. At least several hours is essential and a full day is recommended.
Position your commercial refrigerator away from sources of compressor troubles. If your commercial cooler has a bottom-mounted condenser, that’s probably going to be your dry storage area, where dropped bags of flour can become clouds of compressor clogs. For top-mounted refrigeration, the fryer can produce compressor-killing clots in the form of oil vapor that catches in the system. (Note: It’s never a good idea to place commercial refrigeration next to a fryer, with the potential exception of a worktop unit.)
Clean condenser coils regularly, at least once every six months. There’s an old joke among those in the foodservice industry that answers the question, "When should I clean the coils on my commercial coolers?" The answer is when they’re dirty. The standard recommendation is once every six months, but that number may change depending on circumstances. Check your commercial refrigerator’s or commercial freezer’s coils regularly to ensure they’re not clogged with debris. Build-up there can cost you money by making the evaporator work harder and longer to cool, and may even lead to a service call from strain on the evaporator motor.
When it’s time for a cleaning, trust a professional. It takes more than just a paper towel to truly clean condenser coils. When you trust an experienced service company, you can rest assured they’ll go through the entire process to get your commercial cooler coils clean. Plus, they’ll provide you documentation that proves you had the task performed regularly. That comes in handy if you have to make a claim on the warranty and there’s a question about whether the issue could have been prevented.
Keep an eye on those gaskets. The rubberized liners that create the seal between the door and the cabinet will become worn and/or damaged with extended use. Regularly run your fingers along the gasket when the door is open to check for bumps, indentations, or other issues. Do the same when the door is closed and take note of any cold air escaping. If you notice a problem with the gasket, either replace it yourself or have a service company do so. Otherwise, you’re paying to cool air that you’re losing.
Clean both the interior and exterior of the commercial cooler regularly. While cleaning with a disinfecting solution or stainless steel cleaner, check the surfaces of your commercial refrigerator or commercial freezer for imperfections. Dings or deep scratches in metal and cracks or chips in ABS interiors can serve as a breeding ground for bacteria, compromising the safety of your food. These will require special attention when cleaning and you may need to considering replacing the liner if the damage is bad enough.
Clean under your commercial refrigeration regularly with a wet mop. That not only keeps that area free of bacteria and other things that could infiltrate the cabinet and contaminate your food, it also helps you maintain clean condenser coils by controlling dirt and dust. Ordering your commercial refrigerators and commercial freezers on casters helps with this task and makes other regular refrigeration maintenance easier. It can also save you time and money on service calls.