Refrigeration Maintenance Pays: A Client Lesson

It never pays to be penny-wise & dollar-foolish when it comes to maintenance of commercial refrigeration. Hopefully you can learn from this customer’s expensive lesson!

We received a call on a Saturday in August for emergency service. As Murphy’s Law would have it, their 2-door cooler broke down on the weekend, when repairs come at a premium.

Let’s backtrack for a minute. We quoted this customer a full comprehensive maintenance plan back in November of 2011. This maintenance, if performed, likely would have prevented the cooler in question from breaking down. The maintenance would definitely save the customer on energy usage & extend the life of the equipment. Unfortunately, as is all too often the case, the customer did not schedule or approve our refrigeration maintenance proposal. Have a look at our quote below for the maintenance work:

Fast forward to the emergency service call. Their 2 door cooler was running at 70 degrees, which we diagnosed as a bad condenser fan motor. Most likely, the fan motor overheated due to the condenser coil being plugged with grease. The compressor was extremely overheated & tripping off on overload. We had to cool the compressor with ice, degrease the coil several times & replace the condenser fan motor. All this was done at our Saturday rate, which is 1.5 times our regular rates. Now take a look at the invoice for emergency Saturday service:

(Note: Our current regular business hour rates are as follows $65 service charge $115.50 per hour plus parts)


Here is how it breaks down:

  1. The emergency service on the one cooler was almost $200 more than the entire maintenance proposal for 12 Refrigeration Units.
  2. The other 11 Refrigeration Units are still overdue for maintenance.
  3. The compressor on cooler serviced has been severely strained & may fail soon.

This scenario is something we see all the time: We try to preach the benefits of  routine maintenance, but it is all too often ignored. For the handful of clients who routinely maintain their refrigeration equipment, the units are operating much more efficiently and have far fewer breakdowns than units that are not serviced regularly. We recommend a thorough maintenance inspection be done a minimum of twice per year.

Here are a couple other maintenance-related posts that are useful:

DIY Commercial Refrigeration Maintenance Inspection

5 Steps To Conserve Energy & Extend Life Of Refrigeration Equipment

Problems Caused By Lack Of Commercial Refrigeration Maintenance

Please contact us with any questions regarding commercial refrigeration.

ENERGY STAR LED Lighting Will Make Your Business Shine

With Earth Day quickly approaching in April, and a general push to do as much as we can to conserve natural resources, it’s only RIGHT to mention commercial refrigeration lighting. Okay, so commercial refrigeration lighting isn’t the sexiest part of your business, but it is an integral one. It’s essential, or at a minimum desirable, to showcase your products in light that shows their best side.

Enter ENERGY STAR Qualified LED lighting products.

What is LED lighting?

LED stands for light-emitting diode. LEDs are small light sources that make lighting more efficient and durable than incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. LEDs emit light in a specific direction, while other types of bulbs emit light and HEAT in all directions. LED lighting uses both light and energy more efficiently while generating almost no HEAT. This helps your refrigeration system run more efficiently, saving you hard earned money, while preserving our energy sources.

How are ENERGY STAR Qualified LED lighting products different from other lighting products (fluorescent or incandescent)?

  • Reduces energy costs: Uses at least 75% less energy than incandescent lighting, saving on operating expenses.
  • Reduces maintenance costs: Lasts 35 to 50 times longer than incandescent lighting and about 2 to 5 times longer than fluorescent lighting.
  • Reduces cooling costs: LEDs produce almost no heat.
  • Easy and affordable to retrofit: Low cost, minimal disruption of service.
  • Durable: Won’t break like a bulb. Estimated 5-10 year bulb life.
  • Reduces Carbon Footprint: No mercury and no chronic replacement and disposal.

ENERGY STAR reports that, “Qualified commercial products use at least 75% less energy and last 35 times longer than incandescent lighting. Plus, qualified LED lighting produces virtually no heat and provides optimal light color for any environment.”

Not only are commercial refrigeration LED lighting products energy efficient, they are a sound financial and environmental investment. LED lighting products can help you save substantially on cooling costs. These savings afford the opportunity to develop other areas of your business.

Producing clean, clear, sharp, natural lighting while saving energy and protecting the environment: That is very sexy.

Come see Northeast Cooling at Green Chicago’s Earth Day Event on April 18th. We’d love to share our thoughts about environmentally friendly cooling options.

3 Easy Refrigeration Energy Consumption Tips To Save Money

With the current economy teetering back and forth on a recovery, Chicago restaurants need to make every penny count and go as far as they can.  As Chicago’s premiere commercial refrigeration and ice freezer maintenance, repair, and sales company… we’re here to help stretch your restaurant’s energy dollars with some helpful tips.

The three tips we’re covering today are easy to implement and don’t cost anything for your restaurant to initiate.  But don’t let these tips’ lack of needed effort fool you into thinking it’s not real savings.  Implementing these fast energy savers will save real dough in your restaurant’s kitchen.


Defrost Your Restaurant’s Food On A Regular Basis

How does your restaurant currently defrost your food?  Are you traditionally just using the practice of defrosting food under running hot water?  How about developing a schedule and pattern to defrost your food.  Think about this: If a two-gallon-per-minute faucet is used for this purpose just one hour every day for a year, the cost may be greater than $800!


Allow Air To Circulate Around Your Commercial Refrigerators And Ice Freezers

As we’ve explained in previous posts, commercial refrigerators remove heat from inside the box unit and rid the heat through the coils.  When you and your restaurant staff are cleaning the kitchen and cleaning around your commercial refrigerator or ice freezer units, do not push your units into tight spaces where the heat will build and build, forcing the unit to work harder and use more energy.  We all know more energy means more money, so give your commercial refrigeration units and your bottom line a break.


Move Your Ice Production To The Night Shift

Install a timer and shift ice production to nighttime, where it’s considered off-peak hours. Most restaurants will pay less for electricity at night (off-peak hours), so shifting ice production to the off-peak hours will save you some money while using the same exact power.  An added benefit is that you’ll also eliminate the distraction of a noisy, hot piece of equipment during normal kitchen hours.

For other tips on how your restaurant can save energy and money, be sure to  follow Refrigeration on Twitter, and Fan Northeast Cooling on Facebook.