Commercial Refrigeration Maintenance: Summer Tuneups Prevent Meltdowns
Last Updated on
Last Updated on June 25, 2015
The food service manager’s nightmare
It goes something like this:
Your commercial kitchen is bustling, yet you have this feeling of impending doom.
You look around for the source of the problem, but everything looks normal.
Then you suddenly realize… your refrigerated display case was making funny noises yesterday. You head over there at a run.
The light is out.
There’s no more funny noise; now it’s deathly quiet.
And your buttercream is drooping and melting like an ice cream cone on a hot day. NOOOOOOO!
If you run a food service establishment, it’s not surprising if refrigeration issues are keeping you up at night. Especially as we head into summer with those hot days that put your refrigerated items in jeopardy. If one piece of equipment goes down, in just hours it can cost you a fortune in lost product.
And it gets worse.
Without product you’ll lose business until the problem is fixed. And when your customers are disappointed, you can even lose your reputation. And those are just the costs that hit you in the face. There are even more costs that you probably aren’t even aware of.
The good news is, there is an easy and relatively inexpensive way to prevent refrigeration equipment breakdowns.
Your equipment just needs a little TLC with commercial refrigeration maintenance.
The costs of neglected commercial refrigeration maintenance
1. Wasted product. Add it up: how much will it cost you if you have to throw away the contents of even a single case? What about your entire walk-in freezer?
2. Lost business. Let’s say that display case is out of commission for 2 days, which can easily happen if it needs a part. Or worse, needs to be replaced. How much business will you lose in 2 days?
3. Your NYC Health Inspection Grade. If you’re already having nightmares about losing product, imagine the disaster if the health inspector shows up and your refrigeration equipment is not up to temperature. Now you’re facing health code violations and a hit to your health inspection grade, which will be visible to everyone in your front window!
Related Article: Avoid Refrigeration Repair and Improve Your NYC Restaurant Grade.
4. Higher energy bills. Neglected refrigeration equipment has to work harder to stay at set temperature, which means it runs more and uses more electricity.
5. More expensive repairs and replacements. When that display case breaks down, it will cost you for expensive parts and very likely for overtime labor charges. Because of course it will break down on a weekend when you need it most!
And things get worse if you need to replace the unit. You’ll have to shell out top dollar for what’s available fastest no matter what the price, instead of shopping around for the best deal.
How commercial refrigeration maintenance takes away one big source of stress
As a food service manager, you have so much to worry about on a daily basis. Wouldn’t it be a relief to cross one of those concerns off your list?
Here’s why commercial refrigeration maintenance can do that for you:
1. Maintained equipment is more reliable. When your refrigeration equipment is regularly inspected and tuned up, small problems are proactively fixed. Without commercial refrigeration maintenance, those small issues would lead to breakdowns that turn Saturday dinner into a crisis.
2. You can trust that your food is safe and fresh. When you invest in commercial refrigeration maintenance, you can be sure all your units are operating correctly and at set temperatures, so food stays fresh and safe for customers. And you can even smile when that health inspector walks in unannounced.
3. No worries about what’s lurking in your ice machine. How long has it been since your ice machine was professionally cleaned? This is a case where what you don’t see can really hurt you. Namely, microbes, bacteria and mold, which can be present even if your ice looks fine.
It’s easy to forget that ice is consumable food, and if it gets contaminated, you can make people sick. And face lawsuits and worse. Cleaning your ice machine with professional tools and materials, as part of a regular commercial refrigeration maintenance plan, takes away that concern for good.
Related Article: This Ice Machine Cleaning Checklist Could Save Your Restaurant.
Take care of your refrigeration equipment and it will take good care of you…
… as well as your product and your customers.
A few simple tasks and an affordable visit from your friendly commercial refrigeration maintenance technician, and you’ll save yourself a bundle of money and stress.
Commercial refrigeration maintenance you can do yourself
CLEAN: At least once a week (or even daily depending on usage) you should do a thorough cleaning of the inside and outside of each unit, using mild soap and hot water. Never use harsh chemicals or abrasive tools which can damage the finish. Don’t use water on electrical components; just wipe with a damp cloth.
CHECK: At least weekly, inspect all units for signs of problems, including water leaks, condensation, excessive noise from a fan motor or compressor, gaskets that won’t seal or broken hinges or fasteners.
If you spot any concerns, consult a commercial refrigeration service expert to take care of the problem.
REDUCE CLUTTER: Remove storage items, furniture, décor or debris that impede the flow of air around your refrigeration equipment.
Call in the pros for these tasks
Mission-critical equipment like refrigeration units require specialized care from experienced professionals. Consult with a refrigeration service provider to determine the schedule that works for your needs and your budget, and make sure the following tasks are taken care of:
- Clean evaporator and condenser coils
- Check refrigerant levels
- Check lines for condensation
- Clean fan blades and inspect the fan motor
- Check for loose electrical connections
- Clear drain lines of debris
- Check temperature and defrost settings and calibrate thermometers
- Check filters on ice makers
- Thoroughly clean all ice maker components
- Check integrity of insulation
- Check for air leaks through cracks, holes, and worn parts like gaskets and seals; replace any faulty parts
- Lubricate door hinges and handles
Stop losing sleep over refrigeration issues
You’ll be surprised at how little it costs to banish all your commercial refrigeration nightmares once and for all. A commercial refrigeration maintenance agreement doesn’t cost as much as you might think. The right refrigeration service company can customize the plan based on your equipment, your needs and your budget.
To learn more, check out our free guide to Refrigeration Preventive Maintenance Contracts: How to Find the Right One for Your Food Service Operation.