A commercial fridge or freezer is a significant investment for any business, which typically costs a princely sum to purchase outright. And then you’ve got the cost of a breakdown to consider: all the spoiled food you’ll throw away and all the business you’ll lose until you can get your fridge up and running again. Thankfully, you can mitigate the risk of an unexpected breakdown by adhering to a thorough maintenance routine.
Follow these 10 simple tips to keep your fridge clean and well maintained.
1. Clean it regularly, both inside and out
Consistently cleaning your unit will avoid the build-up of food scraps which can block the vents and cause pungent odours. Schedule a thorough cleanout on a weekly or fortnightly basis, ideally when the fridge is near empty and/or when you don’t expect many customers.
For the inside, remove all the contents and store them in another unit while you use a soft brush with warm water and a vinegar solution to scrub the shelves. Remove any drawers and let them rinse in a similar solution. Avoid harsh chemicals at all costs for the risk of contaminating your produce. As for the outside, you’ll also want to use a soft brush and a solution of warm water or detergent, as this avoids staining and scratching the surface. Caked on grease easily comes out with baking soda or a degreaser.
Train one particular staff member to do the job, as they’ll learn to identify specific parts and become more efficient over time.
2. Keep an eye out for mould and mildew
These nasty little microscopic spores are the last thing you want growing inside your fridge, so you must inhibit their ability to grow. A solution of one cup of white vinegar to two cups of water stops mould in its tracks. Use this formula to wipe down your fridge during your scheduled cleaning days.
3. Clean your condensing coil
If this essential apparatus collects too much dirt or grime, it’ll cause the temperature inside the fridge to rise, which will spoil your food and potentially damage other parts of the unit.
You’ll find the coil near the condenser, so consult your user manual to pinpoint the exact location. Be sure to turn off the unit, then scrub the coil with a stiff brush and use a vacuum cleaner to suck up the remaining dust. The task should be done every three months or so.
4. Keep acidic foods covered up
The acids in foods such as citric fruits can cause corrosion over time, so it’s essential to keep these covered up. A well-sealed plastic food container will do the job. Similarly, clean up any spills straight away as a build-up of moisture can cause your unit to freeze up.
5. Keep the evaporator coil clean
The evaporator coil is a crucial part of a refrigeration unit that absorbs warm air as it enters the cabinet, thus keeping the contents cool. And much like the condensing coil, it’ll start to malfunction if you don’t keep it clean.
Again, consult your manual to learn how to locate the coil, which will be attached to the evaporative fan. A quick scrub with a brush or wipe down with a wet cloth will do the job.
6. Keep the evaporating vents clear
The evaporator has a series of vents that pump cold air into the unit. If these become blocked, the coil might freeze which could cause the interior temperature to rise as well as unwanted water leaks. Avoid overpacking the unit and train staff not to put produce directly in front of the vents. Everyone should be particularly careful not to put hot food here.
7. Comply with the manufacturer’s recommended professional maintenance regime
Although it might be tempting to shun professional maintenance to save money now, a broken refrigeration unit will end up costing you far more in the long run. Some maintenance tasks simply can’t be done in-house, so be sure to get a professional to check your unit over. Consult your manual to determine how a professional check-up is necessary.
8. Check your gaskets
If these crack or won’t seal properly, then your unit won’t maintain the desired temperature and your produce will spoil. Be sure to examine them during your regular cleaning regime. Fix any damage immediately. You’ll need to acquire a gasket of the same make and model; otherwise it won’t fit properly.
9. Clean your air filters
The air filters are another problematic area that can quickly become blocked, especially if the fridge lies near a fryer. A blocked air filter will inhibit ventilation, which can spoil your food and potentially destroy other delicate parts.
Check the air filters during your scheduled cleaning routine, removing any gunk with a vacuum cleaner or brush and getting rid of grease with a degreaser.
10. Clean the drain pans and attached tubing
The drain pans are designed to collect sludge and slime, so be sure to empty these regularly to avoid a stinky fridge. It’s a good idea to rinse these in a warm water and vinegar solution every month or so as well. While you’re at it, check the draining tubes for signs of blockage.
By following these ten simple maintenance and cleaning tips, you’re well on your way to having a long-lasting and reliable freezer or fridge.
If you’re after commercial refrigeration repairs in Adelaide, then get in touch with the professional team at John Bossy Refrigeration today. With over 30 years’ experience in serving the region, they’re your one-stop-shop for all things refrigeration.