It’s likely you rely heavily on your commercial refrigerator to be working in tip-top condition at all times, to ensure you can effectively run your business. Whether you work in a busy restaurant with several large fridges, or you own a small cafe with an old fridge out the back, you need the peace of mind knowing your fridge is reliable and can get the job done. Commercial refrigeration issues can cause a disruption to business, issues with food safety, and huge losses of stock and income.
Here are a few tips for easy commercial refrigeration maintenance to keep your fridge working well:
Someone should be delegated the task of cleaning the fridge (inside and out) at least once a work – more often if required. This will reduce the chance of food spills and debris making their way into the vents and causing problems. It will also reduce the chance of mildew and mould building up and stop offensive smells from occurring.
Use a solution of warm water and baking soda (alternatively, warm water and vinegar) to wipe down the inside of the fridge, including all shelves and drawers. Use a damp cloth to rinse the inside of the fridge, and then a towel to dry it completely. It can be helpful to remove shelves and drawers and wipe them down over the sink. Remember that food absorbs odours, so you don’t want to use any strong-smelling cleaning solutions.
Spend some time cleaning the fridge door seals, as this is often a spot where crumbs and spills will collect. Use a stiff washing up brush to ensure you scrub out every bit of grime. Be careful not to damage or dislodge the seals.
Watch out for ice build-ups
A build-up of ice in your fridge can be as a result of various different problems – and can cause more problems if left untreated. If you have a build-up of ice, check the seals on the fridge doors. If there is an air leak, warm air may be making its way into the fridge, meaning the fridge has to work extra hard to maintain the cool temperature.
Dusty or dirty coils may cause the condenser to work overtime to keep the fridge cool and can lead to a build-up of ice. There may also be an issue with the evaporator fan or the thermostat.
Sometimes a build-up of ice is simply a result of improper closing. Check that everyone that goes into the fridge is closing it properly every time. Remove the ice build-up, and if everyone gets on board with ensuring the fridge door is properly sealed after every time it’s opened, you shouldn’t face the same problem again.
If your commercial fridge is a walk-in unit, an ice build-up can be especially treacherous, so it’s important to get it sorted as soon as possible.
Location of fridge
The location of your fridge is important. Make sure it isn’t next to anything hot, such as an oven, or it will work overtime to maintain the cool temperature and drive up your energy bills. The fridge should be in an area that maintains a fairly constant room temperature.
The space behind your fridge should be clear and clean, allowing clear airflow from the vents and exhaust. Placing the fridge on even flooring will help ensure it’s working as it should.
If you have a fridge that gets moved around frequently (for example, for catering services), be aware of how you transport it. The fridge should never be laid down on its side or transported upside down. Keeping the fridge upright during transport will ensure the refrigerant remains in the right place and doesn’t cause any internal issues.
Regular temperature checks
It’s important to monitor the temperature of your commercial fridge daily to avoid the spoiling or unintended freezing of food. The ideal temperature for chilled foods is between 0° and 5°, and you should be checking this regularly. This will allow you to identify any potential temperature problems early on, potentially caused by thermostat or compressor issues.
Regular service and maintenance
Regular servicing of your commercial refrigerator will save you money in the long run. Not to mention avoiding the hassle of sudden emergency problems arising! To get tip-top performance from your commercial unit, have qualified commercial refrigeration experts come to service the fridge at least twice a year – or quarterly for additional peace of mind.
They will be able to identify any issues before they worsen, and help you avoid bigger problems down the road. While regular basic cleaning and maintenance on your end is a great way to improve the longevity of the unit, there are some aspects of servicing that you will need a professional to perform. If you ever have any concerns about your unit, don’t hesitate – get in an expert qualified to service Perth commercial fridges and fix the problem before it gets worse.