How to Properly Maintain Your Commercial Ice Machine

The quality of your water supply will determine how many ice machine cleanings you will need per year. Ice machine maintenance in Chicago should be done at least twice a year.  Units supplied by well water require more frequent cleanings.

Ice machines can be the most complex and expensive piece of refrigeration equipment in the kitchen.  Northeast Cooling can help you create a maintenance plan for your ice machine.  Keeping an ice machine clean will help keep the original warranty valid. Failure to keep a unit on a maintenance plan can lead repairs that would not be covered under warranty.

The inside of the machine is the perfect breeding ground for mold and growth of build up and scale, caused by dark and wet conditions.  Businesses that bake bread or sell any product containing yeast should check the condition of the machine at least every six weeks. The yeast builds up a scum that covers the water supply in the machine.

Manitowoc and Hoshizaki machines have many parts that are sensitive to scale build up. This holds true for all commercial ice machines. When the machine becomes too scaled up with lime deposits it will fail to work correctly. Water level sensors and ice probes will start to fail.  Ice will have trouble dropping off the evaporator grid due to binding with the scale. Water pumps will go bad, and water distributors will plug up.

Dumping chemicals in a machine and switching it to clean mode is not good enough. All removable parts should be taken out and scrubbed in a sink. The parts should be reinstalled and then an acid scale dissolve chemical should be run through the unit. If the condenser is air cooled it needs to be pressure cleaned. The bin drain should be pressure cleaned. After the cleaning is completed it is often necessary to adjust the ice thickness sensor and discard the first couple of batches produced.

It is a good idea to have a professional perform these services.

Northeast Cooling  is Accredited by the Better Business Bureau and specializes in ice machine service and repair. We are authorized to perform warranty work for Manitowoc, Hoshizaki, Scotsman, and all other major brands and we look forward to servicing your machines!

Why it is crucial to keep line coolers properly maintained.

Most commercial line coolers are located inside  hot kitchens.

Manufacturers design their coolers and freezers to operate in an 80 degree ambient condition, 90 degrees maximum. We all know most kitchen lines are much warmer than that. This is why it is so important to keep all line refrigeration properly maintained.

Caring for your cooling system will save on electrical consumption and extend the life of the equipment!

The most common refrigerant in use on line coolers is R134A gas. These coolers usually have a metering device called a capillary tube that the refrigerant flows through before going into the evaporator coil. This cap tube has an extremely small hole that the refrigerant flows through. When these systems get overheated due to lack of maintenance and high ambient conditions the oil in the system overheats. The overheated oil gets tacky  and plugs up the capillary tube. The cooler will then stop working due to the restriction.

Replacing the capillary tube is a time consuming costly repair. When this system restriction happens the compressor may go bad as well. That is one of the many reasons it is extremely important to keep commercial refrigeration properly maintained.

How cold weather affects outdoor refrigeration units.

Winter in Chicago can be tough on outdoor commercial refrigeration equipment. Refrigeration compressor units that are installed outdoors must have cold weather controls to operate properly and maintain proper temperature in the cooler or freezer during the cold winter season.

When it gets cold out the refrigerant pressures will drop too low due to the cold air passing through the condenser coil. When this happens the space being conditioned will no longer maintain the proper temperature. A compressor unit without proper low ambient temperature controls may sit idle and not even turn on due to low pressure.  Don’t worry if this happens to you – Northeast Cooling can help keep your equipment running well this winter.

One way to maintain proper head pressure on an outdoor unit in cold weather is by using a fan cycling control. This control reads the head pressure of the system by connecting it to the high pressure refrigerant line. It makes and breaks power to the condenser fan motor to maintain a certain pressure.

Here is an example setting for R22 gas: Fan cycle setting 260# of pressure turns fan on.  230# of pressure turns fan off.

By keeping the head pressure above 200# the fan cycle control avoids a warm refrigeration unit during cold weather. This works well in most situations,but not all. A fan cycle control will not work well in sub zero windy weather. When it is very cold and windy out the pressures can still drop too low even if the condenser fan remains off. Extremely cold air can cause the refrigerant pressure to drop too low simply by blowing through the condenser coil.

Another way to maintain proper pressures in cold weather is by using a bypass valve. This valve lets refrigerant bypass the condenser coil when the pressures drop below a certain level. The dome on the bypass valve is charged with nitrogen. This gas does not change pressure based on temperature. That is why it is used to control the opening and closing of the bypass valve. When it is cold and the bypass valve senses a head pressure drop it lets the gas bypass going through the condenser coil and diverts it straight into the system liquid line. This set up works better for areas that are extremely cold and windy all winter.

When it gets cold this winter monitor your refrigeration equipment temperature, especially if the compressor unit is outdoors. If you notice your box warming up on cold days chances are it doesn’t have proper winter controls. This can end up damaging the compressor and other components within the system.

Northeast Cooling specializes in all types of commercial refrigeration and can help keep your equipment running well this winter.

Contact us for a quote on winter controlls to protect your equipment and your product!

GreenChill – The Environment’s Best Friend in the Refrigeration Industry

Everybody needs to have a support group in whatever advocacy they are trying to fight for. Thus a group of people who belong in the refrigeration industry banded together to do their share in protecting the environment. They called their group GreenChill.   Some of you may be wondering what GreenChill is all about and  now is the time to get to know the group a little bit more.

GreenChill is a group composed of the stake holders in the supermarket industry and other people who are promoting refrigeration practices that will reduce the amount of greenhouse gases they emit and lessen the use of substances that will further deplete the ozone layer.

The group is recognized by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  They are spearheading the greening of the refrigeration industry by voluntarily promoting green refrigeration technologies. As they promote ways of protecting the environment from further decline, GreenChill also promotes practices that will help the environment by reducing greenhouse gasses. These advocacies will not only protect the environment but help save money as well.

So if you want to do your share in protecting the environment, look out for the GreenChill logo in your the refrigeration equipment of your favorite supermarket. If your favorite store isn’t a part of GreenChill yet, then why don’t you encourage them to be a part of this advocacy and together let’s help create a greener environment.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Northeast Cooling would like to wish all of  our friends and customers a safe and happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy the company of your friends and family today. We are very thankful for all the  new cooler repair business that we have picked up this last year. We are grateful that our clients give us the opportunity to help them with their refrigeration repair needs!