‘Just Me and My Blast Chiller’
If you run just about any type of food service operation, your blast chiller is your best buddy…or at least one of your most critical pieces of commercial refrigeration equipment. It increases the productivity of your kitchen by allowing you to make larger batches and produce more product during slow periods. It reduces waste since you no longer need to throw out leftovers every day. Most importantly, it preserves the flavor, aroma, color, texture, and nutrients in your food, improving the quality of what you serve. Use of blast chillers can even reduce your legal liability by ensuring that your food is handled in compliance with food safety regulations.
The best part is, your blast chiller asks for very little in return. These units are very reliable and can easily last 15 to 20 years. All you need to do is some simple cleaning and maintenance. What more could you ask from one piece of equipment?
Clean and sanitize surfaces.
Daily cleaning and sanitizing of your blast chiller’s surfaces is essential for maintaining food quality. If there is a spill, immediately clean it up with soap and hot water. The longer it sits, the harder it will be to remove. Don’t use any abrasive materials or harsh chemicals to clean a blast chiller, since they can cause damage and even corrosion. If your unit does not have ultraviolet sterilization lights, you can occasionally use a mild bleach solution to disinfect surfaces. You can also periodically polish the exterior with a stainless steel polish. But be sure to avoid use of water on the control panel; use only a slightly damp, soft cloth to clean any electronic components.
Keep the air flow clear.
The air intake and exhaust of your commercial refrigeration equipment need to be in a well-ventilated area. If the air flow to the cooling components is impeded, your blast chiller has to work harder to cool your food, reducing the life of your unit and using more electricity in the process. Do not stack boxes, supplies or other equipment around the unit so that air flow is blocked. Also, be sure to regularly dust the air intake and the exhaust so that your blast chiller can operate as efficiently as possible.
Clean door gaskets.
Depending on the usage of your equipment, the door gaskets need to be cleaned about once a week. Again, don’t use anything abrasive, corrosive, or sharp. Just a soft cloth and warm, soapy water will do the trick. As you are cleaning, make sure the gasket is sealing properly and is not damaged. If your blast chiller’s door does not seal properly, cold air will leak out, causing the unit to work harder and use more energy. If the gasket is badly damaged, the unit may not reach the correct operating temperature, which means the quality and safety of your food can be affected.
De-ice and clean the coils.
The condenser coils are among the most critical components of the blast chiller. They circulate the refrigerant that cools the interior of the unit. As your food is chilling, humidity is removed and condensation can freeze on the coils. It’s imperative to de-ice the coils so that air flow is not restricted. At least once a day, remove the ice accumulation by running your unit on de-ice mode and leaving the door open. In addition, you should also periodically clean the coils by first disconnecting the power, and then using a stiff brush or vacuum to remove any dust and debris from the coils.
Tips for maximum performance.
In order to ensure your blast chiller operates effectively, try these 3 tips:
- Before putting the first load into the chiller, remove residual heat by pre-chilling for 30 minutes.
Avoid stacking trays or containers which can increase chilling time significantly.
Covering food increases the cooling time by as much as 30 percent.
Make it a priority!
If you make it a priority to take care of these tasks on a regular basis, you can count on your blast chiller to provide worry-free service for years to come. Don’t have the time or staff to maintain your NYC commercial refrigeration equipment? No problem. Often, HVAC companies like Arista offer specialty commercial refrigeration services that can be combined with your traditional preventative maintenance program to help keep your restaurant running efficiently from the kitchen to the dining room.
If you’re looking to transition to a full service HVAC and commercial refrigeration company that can help you keep your kitchen running optimally, grab a copy of our free guide to Contract Confidence: Transitioning to a New HVAC Service Provider, or download our guide to making sense of refrigeration preventative maintenance contracts.