Hot Tips on Keeping Things Cool
Commercial Refrigeration Maintenance
Summer is on the horizon and as your thoughts turn to warmer days and bigger crowds at your operation, have you given thought to your commercial refrigeration needs? The fact is refrigerators, along with other HVAC units, have a tendency to break down in the summer, usually when we are at our busiest servicing valued customers. The result tends to be wasted product, unhappy customers and lost dollars.
Why does this happen? According to the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, it’s often due to the absence of a Preventative Maintenance Program. When the sun is shining and your equipment seems to be in good shape, preventative maintenance can slip our minds. In fact, some operators continue to practice reactive maintenance or “run it 'til it breaks,” which may have low upfront costs, but will ultimately degrade equipment performance and reliability. It can also cost 2-3 times more in the long run. Starting a proper Preventative Maintenance Program allows refrigeration equipment to operate more efficiently, which can greatly reduce energy consumption and prolong your equipment’s life span.
Guy Mears, chief engineer for the Oasis Convention Center and Fire and Ice Restaurant in Springfield, Missouri, has over 22 years of experience in HVAC operations within the foodservice industry. He suggests that the base of any Preventative Maintenance Program is to hire a professional to conduct a Commercial Refrigeration Check-up twice a year. But because that doesn’t always cover it, you should follow these 5 tips to keep your equipment in working order at all times.
Listen to your units. Often it’s the odd noise you hear when you enter your restaurant in the morning that is a sign that something is ready to go wrong.
Look for leaks and corrosion on the refrigeration unit itself. Sometimes this occurs around the internal coils and can leak on to product leading to contamination.
Check door gaskets on coolers and freezers. Watch for buildup of food in the door seals and inspect them for rips or tears to ensure proper closure.
Check automatic door closers and hinges on equipment. Make sure all doors are closing tightly and you are not losing cold air.
Watch your temperature gauges outside and inside. It’s best to keep a log to track any odd readings to see if patterns develop when reporting it to an HVAC professional.
Commercial refrigeration is core to your operation, so take care of it! Putting a Preventative Maintenance Program into place is a win-win for your operation.