Seven Ways to Increase the Life of Your Commercial Freezer
Good food is the food industry’s lifeblood, but behind their winning flavours is a reliable commercial appliance that guarantees their fresh taste and quality. Restaurateurs, grocery store owners, and other foodservice establishments rely on commercial freezers to keep their inventory fresh and preserve their signature flavours.
But just how well does your commercial freezer work — and when was the last time you checked its function? Well-maintained commercial freezers are your partners in effective inventory management. They hold consistent, food-safe temperatures through their energy-efficient operation, cost less in energy bills, and perform much longer to maximize your investment.
To earn these benefits, you need to look at how well your commercial freezer works — and how much longer they can maintain optimal function to guarantee food safety. Here’s how you can keep commercial freezers running smoothly and increase their usable life to avoid a costly premature replacement:
1. Check the fan, compressor, and evaporator
Commercial freezers circulate cold air to store frozen goods in ideal, below-zero temperatures. But they can only do so with proper air circulation, which requires a working fan, compressor, and evaporator to produce cold air and ideal food storage temperatures.
The number one culprit of warmer-than-usual freezer cabinets is dust accumulated on fan blades, which causes decreased cooling ability and prompting higher energy consumption because the freezer works overtime to keep cold. Not only does this cause your utility bills to skyrocket, but it can push your commercial freezer to the point of breakdown.
2. Clean the coils
Evaporator coils can become clogged with dirt and dust, which reduces their efficiency. To restore your commercial freezer’s function, make sure that these are cleaned regularly, which includes removal of frost build-up to maintain ideal food storage temperatures. Also, check the defrost system and make sure that it runs regular defrost cycles to eliminate frost and keep your commercial freezer running smoothly.
3. Check and clean door gaskets
It’s quite impossible to limit the number of times that freezer doors are opened and closed in busy commercial kitchens, especially during service rush. Kitchen staff need to quickly retrieve and store ingredients and cooked food from cold storage, but this shouldn’t lead to freezers being left open and their contents exposed to warmer room temperature air.
Prolonged exposure of the freezer cabinet to warm air leads to moisture, which causes frost build-up and overworks the compressor to restore ideal temperatures. That causes energy bills to surge. Warmer temperatures also impact food safety because frozen items are not stored in ideal, below-zero conditions.
To prevent these, remind kitchen staff to close doors right away and press on them to ensure that the hinges latched back to a tight seal. As well, check the door gaskets to make sure that they maintain their tight seal, and replace broken, cracked, or worn-out gaskets right away to seal in cold air and keep warm air out.
4. Don’t overcrowd the freezer
Even with their large storage space, there’s only so much that commercial freezers can hold — and that’s a lot for restaurant kitchens and grocery stores that continuously run through inventory. If your freezer is too crowded, you may benefit from a second unit.
Crowded freezers aren’t just a storage and inventory retrieval problem — they can also reduce energy-efficient function and shorten the life of your commercial freezer. The combination of an overcrowded freezer and tight kitchen space tends to block the compressor and its ventilation.
Blocked ventilation reduces the freezer’s cooling efficiency because the hot air generated by the compressor is not properly expelled from the unit, leading to food safety issues as items are not stored in ideal freezing temperatures. Check if your freezer has a thermal overload protector, or ask a certified technician to install one.
5. Clean the freezer regularly
A regular cleaning protocol doesn’t just maintain food safety and quality throughout storage in commercial freezers, as well as keep the kitchen organized — it also goes a long way in extending the life of your commercial appliance. Regular cleaning and sanitation eliminates bacterial growth and moulds from spills and prevents them from causing a spike in electrical consumption. To prevent these, make sure to regularly wipe down the shelving units and prevent stains and grime from hardening.
During a monthly deep clean, start by unplugging the unit to prevent electrical shocks and injuries, and empty the contents to reach tight corners and far interior walls. Then, use a toxin-free, food-safe sanitizer to clean the freezer interiors and restock the cabinet. It’s also an excellent time to book a regular maintenance service to inspect the unit and clean the coils and condenser to prevent clogging and increasing energy consumption to maintain ideal cooling conditions.
6. Calibrate freezer temperatures
Commercial freezers exist for long-term food storage and safety, but they can’t perform these functions without ideal temperature settings. While most modern freezers are equipped with smart thermostats to ensure optimal climate-controlled storage 24/7, it still pays to take manual temperature readings. The magic number to watch out for is -18 degrees Celsius — the ideal frozen food storage temperature.
Regular temperature checks allow you to monitor food safety in storage by ensuring that your commercial freezer holds consistent food-safe temperatures and adjusts too high or too low settings to prevent foods from spoiling.
7. Book a regular commercial freezer maintenance
Maximizing your investment in a commercial freezer is a balance between regular cleaning, proper restocking, temperature settings, and routine maintenance. While you can handle everyday cleaning and restocking on your own, it’s essential to book a regular maintenance service to assess the freezer’s function and identify issues that can be addressed with preventative maintenance and parts replacement.
Certified commercial freezer technicians can conduct in-depth maintenance checks using professional tools to clean and maintain essential components like the fans, compressors, coils, electrical wiring, and thermostat controls. They can also recommend and perform repairs that you shouldn’t attempt on your own to avoid the risk of more extensive damage. And while they’re at your location, they can provide more tips for saving on energy costs and getting the best use out of your commercial freezer.
To learn more about increasing the life of your commercial freezer, call Ancaster Food Equipment at 866-711-5486, or contact us here.