If you are in the food business, whether you are running the smallest restaurant or café or the largest warehouse facility, you will understand the importance of a commercial refrigerator to your work. If you have a breakdown, it can affect your business badly. But commercial fridge repair is probably not something you can handle yourself. Before you need an emergency fridge repair, find yourself asking “Where can I find a commercial fridge repair near me?” and call on the services of a commercial refrigeration engineer or mechanic for technical support, there are some essential regular upkeep tasks you could do to maintain your fridge, freezer or cold room, keep your bills down and improve the efficiency of your commercial fridge.
Regular manual cleaning of a commercial fridge, freezer or cold room in your restaurant, café or storage facility is the first essential step to avoid expensive servicing bills or commercial fridge repairs. You should schedule a deep cleaning of the complete refrigeration unit every week or two weeks to maintain it at peak efficiency. To do this, remove all food and drinks and place them in another commercial fridge, or in a temporary cooler. If possible remove all the shelving and drawers, soak then rinse. Scrub all the shelves and surfaces with a soft brush using warm water and soap, or a solution of vinegar.
Make sure you also clean the exterior of the unit using proper solutions and materials. For instance, you should not use abrasives or chlorinated cleaners on stainless steel – instead use a soft brush or cloth and a solution of warm water and detergent or vinegar. For grease or baked-on food, you may need to use a paste made with baking soda, or a degreaser formulated specially for stainless steel.
One of the most difficult manual servicing and maintenance jobs is cleaning of the condenser coils. This should be done every three months using a stiff bristle brush, as dirty or dusty coils can cause the internal temperature of the commercial fridge to rise and may lead to failure of other components. If your commercial fridge is in a kitchen you may also need to degrease the coils. You may need to consult the manual from your manufacturer or call technical support for help in cleaning the coil, which is usually near the condenser. If this isn’t possible, consult a specialist in commercial refrigeration repairs and ask for a qualified refrigeration mechanic.
You should also check and clean the area by the evaporator coil, and maintain the door gaskets, the air filters, drain pans and tubing. Make sure to clean up any spilled drinks or other moisture, particularly in units such as the Foster Walk In Fridge where it could cause a slip hazard.
If you have a cold room with hygienic shelving in stainless steel or polypropylene, it can usually be moved or completely removed for easy cleaning.
Food chiller cabinets have their own cleaning problems. The base plate, drain and condensate tray of a chiller tend to get gunked up with mould, algae and bacteria, causing leaks and shorted fan motors, so chillers need special treatment with surfactants and biocides.
Maintain your fridge, freezer, chiller cabinet and cold room in this way and you will save money on commercial fridge repairs and in energy efficiency, and could avoid the necessity of an emergency fridge repair, so your restaurant, café or warehouse will benefit in the end.
Make sure power to the unit is disconnected before you clean the coil. After cleaning, remove remnants using a vacuum cleaner.
In most cases, a commercial freezer unit will be fitted with an auto-defrost system. This is particularly true where the fridge is designed to maintain the temperature at or below the freezing point. The auto-defrost system normally kicks in when ice builds up around the evaporator coils, but this can vary according to the model of freezer, the intended running temperature, and the type of products stored.
The other factor taken into account by an auto-defrost system is how often the doors are opened. For walk-in freezers like the Foster Walk In Fridge, obviously it’s important to open the doors for as short a time as possible, and for staff to spend as little time as possible in the freezer, as any entrance of warm air will cause the compressor to keep running.
There are several types of auto-defrost system – some will have a timer which shuts off the compressor but keeps the fans running, while others will activate defrosting heaters to melt any frost which accumulates on the coils, turning the fans on again once the coils have cooled.
Normally, commercial freezers will defrost three or four times a day, taking 15-20 minutes for each cycle. If this isn’t happening automatically you may need to shut down the freezer to make it defrost properly, or call on technical support or a qualified mechanic for servicing. Having to call for a commercial fridge repair may not be welcome, but when the unit is a necessity for your business, a commercial refrigeration engineer may be vital.
There are several well-known brand names for commercial fridges, but a qualified refrigeration mechanic should be able to deal with most of them. Some of the most common are:
In theory, a gas refill or ‘regassing’ of a commercial fridge is possible – but here’s why it is not a good idea. The refrigerant gasses in a commercial fridge – usually R134a or R404a – are in a sealed unit, and should never ‘run out’ or be ‘used up’. If your commercial fridge is malfunctioning because of low gas levels, the cause is probably a leak – just regassing won’t fix it, at least not for long.
The function of the refrigerant gas is to absorb heat inside the fridge from the evaporator, and to expel it outside through the condenser. This heat exchange process is how a fridge produces its low internal temperature. It’s best to have commercial refrigeration repairs carried out by a commercial refrigeration engineer, because the black market is flooded with fake, illegal or unsafely packaged refrigerants. That’s another reason why trying to do a gas refill yourself is not a good idea.
Gas leaks are often found in the evaporator part of a refrigeration system, due to low-quality components or food acids eating away copper pipes from inside the cold space. If you maintain your fridge properly you should be able to avoid the necessity of getting a professional service engineer to perform regassing or commercial fridge repairs, in which case a gas refill should be a last resort.
To avoid the possibility of needing an emergency fridge repair, it’s suggested that professional maintenance of refrigeration equipment should be carried out every three to six months. Commercial fridge repair should be carried out by a trained engineer certified by a body such as REFCOM.
Here are a few tips you should follow to keep your commercial fridge repair and maintenance charges down and your refrigerators working at peak efficiency.
Are you in need of commercial fridge repair but have absolutely no idea where to start? Then ACR Repairs are on hand to help. ACR Repairs are a leading provider of commercial fridge repairs in London, and can help with just about any commercial refrigeration unit. Discover more by getting in touch today. You can get in touch by calling us on: 0800 634 3060 or 0207 870 9645, by emailing us at [email protected] or by using our contact form. Discover more about commercial fridge repairs today…