Many businesses rely on commercial refrigerators, from bars and restaurants to hotels and grocery stores, and from bakeries and delis to ice cream parlours. However, if your fridges aren’t operating efficiently, they can put your customers and guests at risk. They can also drain energy, adding to your energy bills. Because an old and unmaintained refrigerator is dangerous, it’s important for businesses that depend on commercial refrigeration to recognize the signs that it’s time to replace your fridge.
Here we look at the signs your fridge is failing, the types of fridges available and how to take better care of your fridge.
When and Why You Need to Replace Your Commercial Refrigerator
Commercial refrigerators play an integral role in the foodservice industry. Regardless of whether you are simply selling milk and staples at the local corner store, have several aisles of frozen and chilled food and drink products at a major grocer or are storing food for preparation at a café, deli or restaurant, proper food storage is crucial to customer safety.
Here are the five most common signs you need to replace your commercial fridge:
1. Leakage and Frost Build-up:
Old and worn out seals cause water and air leaks. If there is water in your fridge or freezer, it can allow frost to build up, a sure sign your fridge is not cooling properly.
Why it’s a problem:
Leakage and frost build-up stops your food from being cool or fresh. It also increases the risk of bacterial growth due to condensation.
2. Increase in Energy Costs:
If you notice increases in your energy costs, chances are there’s an issue with your fridge. This is because things such as flaws in sealing systems can put your fridge's temperature in a state of fluctuation. As it heats up and then has to reboot to cool down, it uses up more energy. This also means the internal temperatures of your fridge are inconsistent, which also affects energy costs.
Why it’s a problem:
These sudden unexpected rises in temperature can put food at risk. As well, your rising utility bills eat into your profits.
3. Loud or Odd Sounds:
Fridges and freezers are infamous for being noisy. However, did you know it’s only fridges that are old or malfunctioning that make noise? If you notice a constant unusual clicking sound, it can mean the motor or condenser fan is failing.
Why it’s a problem:
With these types of malfunctions, the fridge may turn off and on, causing food preservation issues.
4. Increasing Repair Costs:
Although a high-quality commercial fridge can last up to 20 years with proper maintenance, you’ll eventually see signs your fridge is failing. If you find you require more and more service calls, chances are your fridge is on its way out.
Why it’s a problem:
If you have increasingly frequent repairs, it’s usually cheaper to replace your fridge. You not only save money on repair costs but also on energy savings.
5. Food Spoils Before the Expiry Date:
If you notice foul smells from your refrigerator, this is a clear sign of food spoilage. If you notice food is spoiling more frequently, or before the marked expiry date, this indicates your fridge is not cooling effectively.
Why it’s important:
Improper or inconsistent cooling leads to faster food spoilage. Not only is this costly, but it also puts your customers and guests at risk of food poisoning.
Type of Commercial Refrigerators
Once you decide it’s time for a new commercial fridge, you have the opportunity to choose the best fridge for your needs. As you probably know, different commercial refrigerator categories, their layouts and door styles significantly affect their application and functionality. Therefore when it comes time to replace your fridge, you should consider your needs and look for the fridge that will be the most effective in your environment.
Here are the types of commercial fridges available:
These fridges are used to keep food accessible while preventing food from going bad too quickly. They offer:
- More cooling power and storage space
- Your choice of top or bottom mounted compressors
Walk-ins allow staff to find the food products they need easily. They are designed for storing food products in bulk, providing a large area that can be customized. They offer:
- Reliable insulation with airtight seals
- Standard and custom configurations
Under Counter Refrigeration
As the name implies, these fridges are designed to conveniently fit in small spaces, including under a counter. They offer:
- Excellent functionality
- Low-profile design
- Better affordability than full-size fridges
1, 2, or 3 Door Cooler
This is the popular choice for delis, convenience stores, bakeries, take out restaurants and more. You choose the size best suited to customer needs. They offer:
- The perfect option for storing packaged and sealed products
- Maximum space for storing food products
- Durable exterior with double pane glass doors
- Patented lighting system for improved views of your merchandise
These fridges are used to display chilled items at a convenient level. They offer:
- An optimal chilled temperature
- An eye-catching display perfect for merchandising
- Better energy efficiency than larger commercial refrigerators
You can choose one fridge or several to suit the different areas and functions of your business.
Energy Saving Tips to Extend the Life of Your Commercial Fridge
Commercial fridges are big energy drainers. On average, a large commercial freezer consumes up to 38,000 kWh of electricity, while typical commercial fridges consume up to 17,000 kWh. This has a huge impact on your energy bills. However, because they work so hard, it can also quickly burn out the different components of your fridge.
Use these tips to save energy while also extending the life of your fridge:
- Condenser Coils: Keep the condenser coils clean by vacuuming around the fridge if your condenser is on the bottom. You can also do regular cleaning by removing the grate and gently wiping away dust and dirt. This helps avoid compressor failure, fan motor failure, capillary tubing restrictions, burnt wiring and thermostat failure.
- Door Seals: Your door gaskets and auto closers help keep your fridge properly sealed. Check them regularly to make sure they are in good condition. A tight seal is needed to maintain fridge temperatures and reduce power consumption.
- Clearance: Tight spaces often lead to storage challenges. Always be sure to keep minimum clearance around your fridges to keep air flowing. Airflow issues lead to energy wastage.
- Motion Sensors: Install motion sensors for case lighting systems to turn lights on when customers approach. This can greatly reduce energy consumption.
Once you recognize the signs of fridge failure, you can start shopping around for a new fridge replacement. The team at Ancaster Food Equipment can help you find the best commercial fridge solutions for your needs.