Why It’s Important For Your Commercial Freezer To Have Defrost Cycles
Used commercial freezers are designed with a defrost cycle, a common self-maintenance mechanism.
While older models required manual defrosting to eliminate ice build-up and the risk of freezer burn on foods in long-term storage, newer models are designed to automate this function. All you need to do is ensure that the defrost cycle runs regularly and effectively to preserve the taste and freshness of food inside.
What is a defrost cycle?
Depending on the brand and model, used commercial freezers are equipped with different defrost control settings. Whether it’s through an “off-cycle” compressor or an “air defrost” using warm or room temperature air, a defrost cycle regularly removes frost build-up inside the freezer. This ensures that the food stored inside is kept frozen at the ideal temperature.
Why do freezers need a defrost cycle?
The evaporator removes heat and warm air from the freezer to keep foods freshly frozen. If your commercial freezer is itself in an isolated, climate-controlled environment, you wouldn’t need to defrost it. But because in a busy kitchen, exposure to humidity is inevitable. Steam from cooking and using hot water for cleaning creates humid conditions; this moisture can travel into the freezer. Upon reaching the evaporator coils, the resulting condensation turns to frost.
As frost develops into a layer of ice over the evaporator coil, there’s less heat absorbed from the freezer cabinet, and less cold air pushed inside. This raises the interior temperature of a commercial freezer, so much that it can become dangerously warm and compromise the taste, quality, and overall food safety of frozen goods.
Over time, extreme frost can overburden a commercial temperature as it has to work extra hard to achieve ideal freezing temperatures, causing it to fail. Regular defrost cycles prevent these by eliminating ice build-up.
How does a commercial freezer defrost?
Every used commercial freezer is designed with a specific defrost system. A defrost cycle runs when the heating component attached to the evaporator coil is activated. During the defrost, the coil runs hot to melt accumulated frost and ice, which allows the evaporator to resume its optimal heat absorption and freezer cabinet cooling functions.
As the freezer defrosts, the freezing function is reversed temporarily. It circulates warm air to melt away accumulated ice and frost build-up and evaporate the melted condensation to prevent it from rusting the surrounding metal components. Defrosting not only restores the evaporator coil to optimal cooling function, but it also eliminates any potential of new condensation forming on it to ensure the longevity of your used commercial freezer.
When does a defrost cycle run?
Regular maintenance is often a sore point for many appliance owners because of the downtime associated with it. But it shouldn’t interfere with peak, revenue-generating business hours. The good news is, it’s virtually hassle-free to defrost a used commercial freezer because it’s an automatic, time-initiated process.
Defrost cycles can be programmed based on regular system operation without compromising storage conditions and food safety. Pre-programmed defrost settings allow for regular frost removal and evaporator maintenance based on when and how you use your commercial freezer. This ensures that the freezer cabinet is optimally cold when new products are loaded.
Food Safety and Defrost Cycles
Maintaining consistent, below-freezing temperatures is the key to the best food safety and fresh, quality taste. A defrost cycle — which involves exposure to warm air — seems to threaten precisely that. Still, it’s necessary to ensure your used commercial freezer functions properly, and when done correctly, won’t affect food quality.
While defrost cycles involve heat, these temperatures are not so high that they cause frozen foods to become rancid and spoil. The heat produced is just enough to melt the ice accumulated on the evaporator coil. It doesn’t run long enough to alter the freezer cabinet’s interior temperature drastically. This mechanism ensures that frost build-up is effectively removed without affecting frozen goods’ food safety and revenue potential.
Long-Term Frost Prevention and Climate Control
Even during a defrost cycle, the melted condensation is piped directly into a tray underneath the freezer so it can evaporate quickly, which prevents it from collecting on the evaporator and freezing. The evaporator fans also remain off during the cycle to mitigate increases in air pressure when dense, cold air blows over the warmed-up coil. This also prevents residual condensate from blowing off the coil and onto the freezer cabinet itself.
Defrost cycles are a self-regulating maintenance function. Beyond the immediate benefit of removing frost build-up, regular defrosting prevents the freezer’s interior temperature from continuously rising — and the unit from overworking to maintain the temperature. The resulting long-lasting function of your used commercial freezer also guarantees business continuity.