Commercial refrigeration units are among the most important appliances found in any restaurant, and you can't afford to mistreat them if you want to protect your business. Neglected refrigerators and freezers will fail prematurely, resulting in costly repairs and replacement, and malfunctioning units might even cause foodborne illness.
That is why you should learn how to effectively maintain your commercial refrigeration units. While some maintenance tasks should be left to professionals, there are several things you can do on your own to keep your units in tip-top shape. Below are five things you can do to ensure your refrigerators and coolers are well-maintained.
1. Make Maintenance an Assigned Duty
Before you do anything else, establish refrigerator maintenance as a regular, essential duty. That means you will need to create a maintenance calendar with each duty listed, and then assign the duties to a specific person. By doing so, you will create accountability and help ensure that maintenance is always performed on a predictable basis.
2. Clean the Interiors of Refrigerated Units
While it may seem obvious that regularly cleaning the interiors of your refrigerators, freezers, and coolers is important from a hygiene perspective, doing so is also critical to preventing breakdowns. A dirty refrigerated unit can be responsible for damaging the inner workings of an appliance.
For example, moving parts such as fans can become dirty or sticky, and this can reduce their efficiency if the interior of the unit isn't kept clean.
When cleaning a refrigerated unit, be sure to use chemicals that won't damage the interior finish. Avoid harsh cleaning compounds and scrubbing tools that will scratch or mar the finish, and never use any chemicals that may contaminate food items.
3. Keep the Space Around Units Open and Well-Ventilated
As with most devices that provide refrigeration, commercial refrigerators and freezers depend on adequate air circulation to work properly. Poor air circulation will prevent heat from being released into the surrounding atmosphere and could cause overheating and failure.
That means that you should keep the space around refrigerated units clear of debris and other clutter. For example, don't stack up cartons next to a refrigerator or freezer; instead, provide a reasonable amount of room for air to circulate.
4. Maintain Door Hardware and Gaskets
The doors to your refrigerated units may not seem as important to the overall well-being of your appliances as their internal parts, but proper maintenance of these components is essential. If the doors don't form an airtight seal, the loss of refrigerated air can force the units to work harder and wear out sooner.
That is why door gaskets should be inspected on a regular basis to ensure they still maintain their pliability and are tear-free. A flattened or worn-out gasket should be replaced by a qualified refrigeration technician.
In addition, pay attention to the door hinges; in particular, be sure they are clean and well-lubricated and that they close the door smoothly. As with bad gaskets, hinges that are past their prime should be promptly replaced with new ones.
5. Clean the Condenser Coils
The condenser coils are where heat from the refrigerant is transferred to the outside air. If they become dusty, dirty, or grease-covered, as can easily happen in a commercial kitchen, they won't be effective, and refrigerant won't be able to pass heat into the atmosphere.
That is why condenser coils should be cleaned regularly with a duster or a commercial coil cleaning solution. When cleaning coils, be sure the unit isn't plugged in, and also be careful not to damage any components on the backside of the refrigerator. If you need help or aren't sure what to do, contact your refrigeration specialist for assistance.
After you purchase new or used equipment from A M Refrigeration, use these tips to keep it in tip-top shape.