So many aspects of our lives depend on refrigeration: it’s vital for food, medicine and the manufacture of many things we use every day.
Refrigeration is even more vital if you operate any type of food service business: your livelihood depends on its reliable operation.
Restaurants, bakeries, convenience stores, hotels, catering facilities, cold storage facilities, food products manufacturing, supermarkets, and even medical facilities all require a dependable industrial refrigeration system. When a piece of refrigeration equipment goes down, the clock starts ticking, and if the problem is not solved in a matter of hours, you’re going to be throwing out a great deal of valuable product.
Refrigeration downtime is a complicated problem, but there is one simple way to prevent it: regular maintenance of your industrial refrigeration system.
In your home, you’re probably accustomed to doing routine maintenance to keep things working as they should, from servicing your heating and air conditioning system to weeding your garden. Yet we don’t think about maintaining our home refrigerators and freezers beyond cleaning. An industrial refrigeration system is different. Not only because it gets more usage and endures more wear-and-tear, but because there is a lot more at stake when it fails.
How Industrial Refrigeration System Maintenance Prevents Downtime and More
Here’s why no food service establishment should go without regular refrigeration maintenance:
Industrial Refrigeration System maintenance prevents the dreaded breakdown
When your industrial refrigeration system is regularly checked by a refrigeration expert, he can spot problems and fix them before the equipment goes down and you lose an entire shipment of expensive product. Here are some of the tasks that are part of a refrigeration maintenance plan:
- Worn parts are replaced before they cause the equipment to shut down.
- Electrical connections are checked to prevent power loss.
- Clearing suction lines and drains prevents blockages and water leaks that can damage equipment and supplies.
- Regular cleaning reduces wear on the system, keeps critical parts working efficiently, and prevents buildup of deadly contaminants that cause illness.
- Cleaning evaporator and condenser coils reduces the load on the compressor and minimizes the risk of failure.
To learn more about the components of a good industrial refrigeration system maintenance plan, read this related article:
The Restaurant Owner’s Guide to Commercial Refrigeration Maintenance
Industrial refrigeration system maintenance cuts your risk of contaminated food and ice
An industrial refrigeration system that has not been serviced regularly is a breeding ground for mold, bacteria and viruses, including Salmonella, Listeria and E. coli. Ice machines are especially prone to this problem, even the ones that have an automatic cleaning cycle. But it can also happen to refrigerators that are not maintaining the proper temperature due to thermostat issues or even faulty gasket seals. The next thing you know, a customer will be getting sick from your contaminated food or ice. Preventing this problem requires regular deep cleaning of all surfaces of your industrial refrigeration system. For your ice machine, it needs to be completely disassembled and sanitized at least twice a year.
BONUS: Clean ice machines produce a higher yield of ice.
To learn more about properly servicing your ice machine, read this related article:
This Ice Machine Cleaning Checklist Could Save Your Restaurant
Industrial refrigeration system maintenance extends the life of your equipment
Regular cleaning and maintenance not only makes your industrial refrigeration system work more efficiently, but it also helps it last longer. It’s a vicious cycle: when parts are worn and dirty, the unit runs more frequently causing more wear and tear on those already-straining parts. When one part fails, it can lead to a chain reaction that causes critical components to fail (like the compressor). Eventually, the unit fails once and for all at the worst possible time (think: a busy weekend dinner shift).
Industrial refrigeration system maintenance reduces your electric bills
Bet you didn’t know that regularly servicing your industrial refrigeration system can save you as much as 10 percent on your energy bills. It’s a fact: keeping your units operating at peak performance makes them use considerably less electricity. When a refrigerator’s condenser coils are dirty, it has to run longer and work harder to maintain the set temperature, using more energy in the process. Other maintenance issues that increase energy consumption include worn gaskets, hinges, door handles or faulty seals that cause cold air to leak out. Your service technician will also check temperature settings and defrost frequency settings for maximum efficiency and minimum power consumption.
Industrial refrigeration system maintenance prevents waste
A poorly maintained industrial refrigeration system causes a great deal of waste. When your equipment runs inefficiently, it wastes energy resources as well as your money. When they break down, you lose both time and money, not to mention all that food. Waste is bad for everyone, including the environment and even the economy.
Get Industrial Refrigeration System Maintenance Before a Refrigeration Emergency Strikes
Speaking of waste, don’t waste another day putting it off. Instead, take action to get the right care for your all-important industrial refrigeration system. Consult a qualified refrigeration service company to put together a customized maintenance plan for your business.
TIP: Not sure who to call? Look to your HVAC service company first. Your best bet is to have a single provider that can handle all your service needs. To learn more, read this related article: 5 Reasons to Combine Your HVAC and Refrigeration Repair Services.
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.