Should You Get Maintenance Checks on Your Commercial Fridges?
Many business owners are guilty of a lack of preventative maintenance of appliances like commercial refrigerators. They view regular maintenance checks as an added expense, one that recurs on top of the significant investment required to obtain the refrigeration units themselves.
Commercial refrigerators are the lifeline of foodservice operations. They store ingredients in a busy commercial kitchen and keep merchandise fresh in grocery stores. Freezers need to run continuously, so without regular inspections and preventative maintenance services, even the sturdiest and newest cooling units are at high risk of breakdown.
From a slight dip in temperature to the breakdown of the condenser unit, a malfunctioning commercial refrigerator will result in inventory losses and disruptions to regular business hours, which can severely impact your bottom line. The good news is, commercial refrigerator maintenance is easy and inexpensive compared to emergency repairs.
The Benefits of Regular Commercial Refrigerator Maintenance
Regular maintenance is an investment in the long-term use and health of your commercial refrigerator. Routine checks and preventative repairs keep your unit in good condition and working correctly. They also reduce the risk of costly breakdowns and even more expensive emergency repairs.
When was the last time you booked maintenance for your commercial refrigerators? Here’s why you need one now:
1. Energy-efficient function
Commercial refrigerators consume a sizable amount of energy to maintain optimal temperatures for food storage. Regular maintenance helps you keep checks your energy consumption and identify issues early, keeping utility bills affordable.
2. Food safety
A well-maintained commercial refrigerator holds a stable optimal temperature for food storage. Regular maintenance includes thermostat checks to ensure that food is kept safely cool.
Frequently sanitize your commercial refrigerators to eliminate harmful bacteria and reduce the risk of contamination.
The Risk of Neglected Regular Maintenance
If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, right? Wrong.
As a restaurant or grocery store owner, the worst thing you can do is use your appliances without regard for their longevity. Without regular maintenance checks, you run the risk of a costly breakdown.
The number — and price — of parts that require replacement and the increased time needed to repair malfunctions, cost infinitely more than a predictable amount set aside for routine maintenance. Issues are detected and quickly fixed before they worsen, saving you money in the long run.
The recurring cost of maintenance services puts off many business owners, but this is a cost-effective alternative to expensive repairs because it guarantees your appliances won’t stop working. When commercial refrigerators breakdown due to a lack of regular maintenance, you also end up losing money on damaged merchandise, foodborne illnesses, and customer dissatisfaction.
Commercial refrigerators can’t stop running — they need to keep food at the right temperature all the time. Without regular maintenance, you risk:
1. Inventory loss
Chilled foods and ingredients will quickly turn rancid and spoil if stored in less-than-optimal refrigerator temperatures, or if the unit breaks down.
2. Lost sales
With lost inventory comes profit loss, as you won’t be able to sell spoiled food or serve it to customers.
3. Health inspections
Commercial refrigerators need to maintain a consistent temperature to keep foods properly chilled. Even the slightest change in conditions can impact quality, resulting in food safety violations and possible sanctions.
4. Higher energy costs
Older and poorly maintained commercial refrigerators tend to consume more energy due to the wear-and-tear of their parts, which results in higher utility bills.
A Guide to Commercial Refrigerator Maintenance
How often should you schedule a maintenance check? There are many things you can do to check your commercial refrigerator's condition and ensure reliable function over the years of use.
You can divide regular maintenance into two areas: essential everyday tasks that kitchen staff can do, and monthly, quarterly, or annual maintenance services that require a certified technician. Following this schedule allows you to detect and resolve these issues early on.
Daily or Weekly Commercial Refrigerator Maintenance
1. Temperature check
Check the thermostat to ensure that the refrigerator is holding the right temperature. While Newer models have self-regulating thermostats, you still need to ensure that the temperature isn’t set too high to avoid spoilage, or too low that the unit works overtime, which shortens its lifespan.
2. Keep surrounding areas clear
Restricted airflow surrounding a commercial refrigerator causes debris to accumulate, which strains the unit’s performance, resulting in higher energy consumption and even overheating.
3. Clean the interiors
A clean commercial refrigerator guarantees food safety and long-term use — as long as you’re doing it correctly. Avoid toxic chemical cleaners, and ensure thorough disinfection to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
4. Prevent cold air from leaking
The constant opening and closing of doors in busy commercial kitchens often result in wear-and-tear damage. Hinges, latches, strikes, and gaskets can lose their tight seal over time. Regularly clean these to remove lodged debris to help prevent this from happening too soon.
Monthly and Quarterly Maintenance
While kitchen staff can take care of daily cleaning, the more complex parts of a commercial refrigerator must be checked and maintained by a certified technician. This regular maintenance service includes a full equipment tune-up, as well as preventative repairs and parts replacements as soon as issues are detected to prevent a massive breakdown.
- Cleaning and inspection of condensing unit and evaporator coils to remove built-up dirt and grime
- Disassembly and thorough cleaning of ice makers
- Inspection of compressor and fan motor
- Cleaning of fan blades
- Door gasket replacement, hinge lubrication, and repair of air leaks to restore a tight seal and consistent cooling temperature
- Inspection of refrigerant levels
- Checking electrical connections
- Recalibrating thermostats.