When things are running smoothly, it’s hard to imagine the equipment we rely on breaking down, especially at the most inopportune time. Though certain equipment failures can temporarily be resolved with backup equipment and other improvisations, unfortunately nothing will chill business quicker than a downed refrigeration system at your restaurant or food service business. So stop taking your refrigeration units for granted before a breakdown sends you into a panic mode and your customers out the door.
There are many reasons why your refrigeration system could go on the blink. But the good news is, not all refrigeration problems are expensive to fix and most emergency refrigeration service and commercial refrigeration repair calls can be avoided entirely with routine preventative maintenance. Though you surely don’t want to see your fine foods and ingredients spoil, there is something else more valuable that you don’t want to see spoiled: your reputation.
Let’s take a look at problems you may be facing now or that could be on the horizon if you don’t embrace a regular maintenance schedule.
Avoid making an emergency refrigeration service call: Don’t ignore these signs
Busy restaurant owners may like to embrace the old saying “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” But what if your refrigeration system is working, yet displaying some worrisome symptoms? Better to address these telltale signs that a problem is lurking than to ignore them and have a total breakdown necessitating an emergency refrigeration service call at the worst imaginable time.
- A puddle of water could mean clogged condenser coils.
- Condensation inside your unit might mean your doors need to be realigned.
- Rattling sounds could mean a problem with the motor or compressor.
Don’t wait till you hit a desperation point and must make an emergency refrigeration service repair call.
Preventable problems that prompt an emergency refrigeration service repair call
Condenser coils are a vital part of the optimum operation of a commercial refrigeration system. These coils circulate the refrigerant and must be kept clean or it will have difficulty discharging heat form the system. The condenser coils are cooled by a condense fan. If this fan becomes inoperable, the coils will not be cooled, which will result in a system breakdown and could lead you to dial in an emergency refrigeration service repair request.
Another coil that you need to pay attention to if you want to avoid an emergency refrigeration service call is the evaporator coil, which contains the refrigerant that absorbs heat. If the evaporator fans motor is not working, it will not circulate the cool air.
Compressor issues could prompt an emergency refrigeration service call. The compressor could be shutting down because of excessive dirt on the condenser. The compressor could overheat if the fan motor is not working. If the compressor’s start capacitator is not working, the compressor will not start.
If your unit’s temperature sensors are malfunctioning, the result could be two extremes: a lack of cooling or ice buildup.
How to prevent problems and preserve your perishables and reputation
Keep units clean. One of the easiest and least costly tasks that can be undertaken to ward off emergency refrigeration service repair is to be vigilant about keeping a spotless refrigeration unit. This means cleaning your unit at least once a week or more depending storage contents and frequency and number of hands taking food to and from the unit.
You inclination might be to use a heavy-duty chemical cleanser, but it’s better to avoid harsh chemicals and abrasive tools that can damage the finish. Instead, use mild soap and hot water. Though you might be at your peak customer service time, do not let a spill sit; otherwise you will be hard-pressed not to use an abrasive that is enemy to the overall condition of your system and can lead to damage and corrosion. Be careful not to use water on electrical parts. Use only a minimally damp cloth.
Ensure air flow. Another no-cost undertaking that can help you avoid emergency refrigeration service repair and surprisingly is an underlying cause for commercial refrigeration repair call-outs is a very simple housekeeping task. Clear the area surrounding your unit of anything that could be blocking air intake or exhaust vents. If airflow to your refrigeration unit is impeded, your unit will have to work harder to cool its contents, which can lead to breakdown, a shortened life span for your system and add to your electric bills.
Though kitchen space is often cramped, avoid the temptation of stacking supplies, crates or other equipment against your unit. Furniture and trash receptacles need a location away from your system’s ventilation area. Don’t forget to dust the intake and exhaust vents to maximize efficiency.
Do not over-stuff your refrigeration units. If food comes flying out when you open the door, you are overdoing it. Air circulation is impeded when a refrigerator is too full.
Clean gaskets. When it comes to avoiding emergency refrigeration service calls, inspecting and cleaning gaskets should be on your weekly checklist. Do not use anything sharp, abrasive or corrosive. Check to make sure the gasket is sealing properly and not damaged. If the seal is inadequate, it will force your unit to work harder to keep things cool and could make it impossible for it to reach the optimum operating temperature. A diminished temperature can compromise the quality of your food and lead to bacteria growth and premature spoilage.
Invest in preventative maintenance. When you have a professional regularly clean, inspect and tune up your refrigeration units, it prevents problems that lead to expensive and inconvenient breakdowns.
Professional preventative maintenance prevent emergency refrigeration service calls & loss of customers
You’ve worked hard to establish your reputation and all it will take is a couple of sloppy sorbets, sagging soufflés or worse yet one person getting sick from a meal and you will have to redouble efforts to regain the trust of your customers. Unfortunately, bad news travels like wildfire.
Obviously, this is not a risk you can afford to take and can be eliminated by signing a preventative maintenance contract with a professional refrigeration service company like Arista.
Besides, avoiding being forced to make an untimely emergency refrigeration service call, routine maintenance will save you the cost of wasted food and ingredients and electric operating costs resulting from an inefficient system.
Routine maintenance should include:
- Coil cleaning
- Fan blade cleaning
- Clean and inspect fan motor, refrigerant levels, drains, pans and gaskets
- Check lines for condensation
- Properly clean ice maker and check filters (read this: This Ice Machine Cleaning Checklist Could Save Your Restaurant)
- Check electrical connections and components
- Check doors and insulation for proper seal
A service contract will give you peace of mind and banish the worry of having to make an emergency refrigeration service call that could disrupt business and result in the loss of customers. To explore more fully what preventative maintenance contracts entail, check out our free guide: Refrigeration Preventive Maintenance Contracts: How to Find the Right One for Your Food Service Operation.