Refrigeration works hardest in the summer months because there is more heat to remove. If it’s not well maintained, your energy consumption will increase, equipment will wear out quicker, and you increase the risk of breakdown and potential loss of stock. Remember the last time you had an $800 service call on the weekend?
Plan ahead for a hot, busy season - prevention is better than cure. Talk to your refrigeration person about the best time to service all your equipment in one go.
Hot tips for a money-saving preventative maintenance program:
- Note the make, model and serial number of equipment to provide to your repairer before they come to replace any parts required. This save time and money – take a photo of the labels or asset plate, which can sometimes be hard to find.
- Have everything you will need, ready before you start. Tools, cleaning equipment, chemicals and safety gear, gloves, goggles, apron etc.
- Turn equipment off and disconnect power after removing stock & before cleaning or moving the equipment.
- Always reconnect and turn power on before restocking product
- Ensure power leads are lifted to avoid damage from castors, legs or wheels.
- Check refrigeration drains are in position to avoid potential leaks
- Never move or lift heavy items without assistance, always follow OH&S procedures
- Check all door seals for rips, tears or lifting – this is where hot air gets in (contrary to popular belief, chilled air does not leak out), putting an extra strain on the motors 24/7.
- Check all condensers (the cooling fins on the external motor, like a car radiator) for dust and debris, clean regularly – these can be hard to access, and staff will often avoid this task.
- Check evaporators (inside the fridge) for ice buildup, food scraps and debris. If there is consistent ice buildup, check door seals and other potential air leaks, you may need to log a service call to find the cause.
- Check drains are free from blockages. All refrigeration has a drain to remove water from the evaporator during the defrost cycle, some drain directly to the plumbing and others into a drain pan or evaporator pan within the cabinet. Drain pans need to be emptied regularly and evaporator pans needs to be maintained and kept clean or you will cook a soup you cannot eat!
- Check internal shelves are clean and free from rust
- Check doors open and close properly and that hinges and handles are in safe working order
- If the cabinets are not fixed into position, remove and clean all external surfaces, floors and walls
- Remote refrigeration motors should be serviced by a qualified technician.
- All refrigeration should be professionally serviced by a qualified technician (at least annually) to confirm no refrigerant gas leaks.
Cool & Freezer Rooms:
- Remove all stock, clean and sanitise shelving, floors, walls & ceilings.
- Check the bell is operational – repair or replace if needed
- Check light is working and no moisture in the cover & signs of mould – if there is moisture or mould, and there are no air leaks, you will need to have a professional inspection to assess
- Check shelving is free from dirt and rust - is it time to replace with modular plastic shelving that can go through the dishwasher?
- Confirm when last professional service was completed, this should be done every 6 months at a minimum
- Replace the water filter every 6 months
- Run the wash cycle using specified chemicals to descale and sanitise trough and evaporator plate, every 6 months
- Empty ice from bin, wash, sanitise and dry thoroughly every week – make this a part of your cleaning roster
- Make sure drain hole and hose is not blocked
- Check inlet and drain hoses are in good condition. No leaks = SAVE WATER = SAVE $$! We will talk more about saving money by reducing water consumption in the near future...
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By Cathy Goodwin CFSP | Senior Consultant
Cathy Goodwin & Associates - Foodservice Equipment Consultants. Your fresh set of eyes...
phone +61 404 093 863