If you work in the food industry and have been successful at it for several years, congratulations! That’s an impressive feat that should be celebrated. You’re familiar with the pressure that comes with figuring out how to start a business, making payroll each month, and trying to stay competitive in a world where every couple of months, a new culinary trend makes people flock to try out the newest avocado craze, raclette-style dishes, or green tea sorbets.
But with time comes the wear and tear of big item kitchen essentials, one of them being your commercial refrigerator. How do you know if some of the issues you may be experiencing can be resolved with maintenance, or when is it time to literally pull the plug and buy a new one?
The items listed below, on their own, aren’t definitive signs that you need to buy a new refrigerator; but if you keep facing the same issues over and over again, and it’s affecting the quality of your food, it’s time to throw in the towel and buy a new appliance.
1. Frost buildup. If frost is suddenly popping up in your refrigerator, it means that it’s not cooling properly. You know this could very well result in substantial loss for your business. Although regular maintenance can take care of the issue temporarily, if you find yourself constantly having to call for repairs, it may be time to buy a new one.
2. Water puddles around the refrigerator. There are several reasons why your commercial refrigerator is leaking water. Some of them include that the evaporator pan is full, clogged drainage hose, or you may have to replace the gasket. If all of these parts are in good shape, and you still regularly experience leakage, the problem may be the entire unit.
3. Food spoils too often. Granted, plant-based foods and meats don’t last that long, and processed foods have an expiration date. But if every time you open your commercial refrigerator, it smells foul, the fridge is not cooling properly.
Other signs that there are problems with the cooling system is that you never hear the refrigerator’s compressor running (the humming sound we have all come to associate with fridges). A way to keep it working in good shape is to clean it every 90 days.
4. The refrigerator is too loud. Commercial refrigerators are much noisier than home fridges, so constantly hearing a sound is no reason to panic. But if you hear clinking sounds that don’t sound anything like a normal refrigerator hum, you likely have a problem with the motor or with the condenser fan. The good news is that if the issue is with the fan, it might simply be a matter of removing any debris that may be blocking it. Before you check to see if this is the problem, turn off your refrigerator and shut off its power supply.
5. The refrigerator is old. It’s hard to use an estimated timeframe as a bright line rule, since depending on the size and model, the range could be between 10 and 17 years.
How to Provide Proper Maintenance to a Commercial Refrigerator
The best way to extend the life of commercial refrigerators as much as possible is to provide them with proper maintenance. Some of the things you can do include:
- Read the manufacturer’s manual. It’s boring, but it tells you which cleaners are best for the make and model of your unit, and which ones you should avoid.
- Regularly toss items you no longer need. This will allow better air circulation.
- Pay attention to the gasket. If it’s not sealing properly, it will prevent the fridge from cooling your food and drinks.
- Regularly check that the drain lines aren’t clogged.
- Pressure clean the condenser coils with foam coil cleaner every six months.
- Check refrigerant levels.
- Check the wiring for any damaged parts and replace them accordingly.
- Take apart ice machines and clean them.
- Regularly test the hinges. This is easy to overlook in busy establishments.
- Use a thermostat to monitor temperature changes.
Call our HVAC professionals and let us help you
Our HVAC technicians are always ready to help with any issues you may have with commercial refrigerators or any HVAC issues. We provide services in all over central Florida and also have a 24/7 emergency line.