Northeast Cooling is a commercial refrigeration company based in Round Lake Illinois. We specialize in the service & repair of coolers, freezers & ice machines. We do one thing & we do it well! We cater to C Stores, Service Stations, Restaurants, Bars, Hotels, Scientific Labs & more. Read more
It’s already been one hot Summer in Chicago! Our days are filled with cooler, freezer & ice machine repairs at all types of restaurants, bars & hotels. Service has taken us from southeast Wisconsin down to the Loop in Chicago. Most emergency Chicago Refrigeration service was a direct result of a lack of scheduled maintenance.
But now it’s time to pause & take a break with a night of fun & libations during the Dog Days of Summer!
We are cordially inviting clients & friends of Northeast Cooling to join us at The Beer Bistro North, a great new bar in Lincoln Park! The event is on Thursday, July 26, between 6-9pm. We are providing 3 hours of open bar & food for your enjoyment!
The featured craft beer will be Ommegang Witte, with other domestic beers & martinis available. Food includes Gourmet Sliders, Spinach & Artichoke Dip, Wings, Jumbo Pretzels, Bruschetta, Calamari & more. We are hoping all of our clients & friends will be able to attend. Please come out & celebrate summer with Northeast Cooling!
Register with the invite below. Space is limited so pull the trigger soon! Thanks!
The following is a short, but extremely important, list of things end-users can do on their own to reduce power usage and extend the life of their commercial refrigeration units including coolers, freezers, and ice machines.
This list is easy to check, and critical in maintaining proper product temperature. If, after reading this, you should have any questions please feel free to contact us!
1: KEEP CONDENSER COILS CLEAN:
This includes condensers on coolers, freezers, and ice machines! The condenser coil is the heat exchanger on refrigeration units. It’s the coil located on the outside of unit and expels the heat from refrigerant by passing it through a coil with the aid of a fan. It is ESSENTIAL TO KEEP THIS COIL CLEAN for proper operation of the unit. Failure to do so will result in expensive repairs including, but not limited to, compressor failure, fan motor failure, capillary tubing restrictions, burnt wiring and thermostat failure.
We recommend that the condenser coil be pressure cleaned by a service company at least every six months. In between professional maintenance users can clean the coil with a brush. The brush method does not clean within the coil though, and should not be considered a substitute for regular maintenance. On a kitchen line these coils may need to be degreased and cleaned more frequently. Self contained coolers and freezers usually have the condenser coil located at the base or on top of the unit. It can usually be accessed by removing 4 Phillips type screws at the corners of a cover. Ice machines generally have condenser coil located at rear of machine. It may have an air filter covering it, that should be washed. Routine inspection should be done frequently. A clean condenser coil is one way to GO GREEN by saving on power consumption and greatly prolonging the life of the equipment. The following picture is a condenser coil long overdue for cleaning. We see this on a daily basis.
2: UNIT CLEARANCES:
In order to maintain proper air flow around the condenser coil it is important to keep minimum clearances around units. Most factories recommend 2 to 4 inches of clearance around sides & back of self contained units. Our recommendation is the more clearance the better! We would like to see 5 to 8 inches of clearance around sides and the back of unit. We understand that space is limited in commercial kitchens. We also know that the more air that can freely move through the condenser section of a unit, the less power will be consumed and the longer vital components will last. Jamming coolers against one another and directly against a wall is a sure way to expend the most amount of energy and guarantee many problems. We do not recommend boxing coolers in under bars or any enclosure. Not only will this create airflow issues, but units that are built-in are extremely difficult and time-consuming to service.
Your refrigeration has worked hard to achieve proper product temperature, why let the cold seep out? Routinely inspect the door gaskets (seals) on all coolers and freezers. Make sure all four sides of gaskets are making good solid contact with door frame. Check for tears, rips, or missing magnetic strips in gaskets. If gaskets are found to be worn out and not sealing well they should be replaced. The key to maintaining temperature and reducing run times, as well as power consumption is a good door seal. This is especially true in a hot kitchen!
4: DOOR HINGES & CLOSERS:
To ensure that doors on refrigeration units close properly most hinges have spring cartridges that assist in closing the doors. On larger coolers and freezers, especially walk-in equipment there may be a hydraulic door closer located at the top of the door on exterior section. Most cooks, and kitchen employees, are much too busy rushing orders out to be worried about ensuring doors are properly closed. This is why automatic door closers are so vital. If automatic door closers are not working properly then there is a good chance the doors are ajar. Doors that are not closed all the way will lead to excessive run time, inefficient use of energy, and shorten the life of the equipment. It will also cause the evaporator coils to ice up. Check your door closure operation by opening the door all the way and then gently pushing it closed. If closer is working correctly it should do the rest of the work and pull door closed. If door does not close on its own we recommend new hinges or closer hardware.
5: CALCULATE ACCURATE INTERNAL FOOD TEMPERATURE:
We recommend using a product sensing thermometer versus an air sensing thermometer in refrigeration units due to rapidly changing ambient conditions. Using an air sensing thermometer only tells you how cold the air is in a refrigeration unit at the moment you open it. There are times when it does not give an accurate picture of a product’s actual temperature. For actual average product temperature use Sure Temp Glycol filled thermometer. This thermometer is encased in liquid and will provide an accurate average temperature reading of the product in a conditioned space. After leaving the Sure Temp thermometer in a conditioned space for a few hours take a look and see what the temperature reading is. On a cooler 34- 40 F degrees is good. If it’s colder you can raise the thermostat to a warmer setting and thereby save energy. A freezer storing ice cream should be around -10 F. After establishing average temperature with Sure Temp thermometer adjustments to the thermostat can be made.
We hope this information has been useful and IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS about energy conservation, maintenance, or the Sure Temp thermometer in the Chicago area GIVE US A CALL AT: 847-409-3332.
They look innocuous enough. Just sitting there waiting to quench our thirst and cool our beverages any time we need them.
We grab the provided cup, put it under the ice dispenser, then fill up with our desired beverage. Simple. Easy. No worries. Right? We all take soda machines, and commercial ice machines in general, for granted. Maybe we should think twice.
We use them every day as business owners and consumers. They are reliable and a staple of the hospitality industry, yet it’s easy to forget that the quiet workhorse of the industry needs just as much TLC as its fancy espresso-making counterparts. Commercial ice machines, whether the kind found attached to fountain drink dispensers, or stand-alone units, are prone to scale build-up, as well as mold growth, on the water lines. These undesirables can come in contact with the lines and DIRECTLY with the ice that goes into your beverages! This can create taste issues, health concerns, and equipment failure!
The idea that we can come in contact with mold or lime scale overgrowth as we enjoy our icy cold beverage is reason enough to take care to clean these machines, but beyond cleanliness there is the issue of proper maintenance. Many machines, even leading brands, such as Manitowoc, Scotsman, and Hoshizaki are as sensitive to lime scale build-up as the lesser known brands. ALL commercial ice machines need regular professional cleaning to maintain the integrity of the unit. If commercial ice machines aren’t cleaned properly their parts may fail to operate, and eventually become irreparable. When lines become overgrown with lime scale or mold they may cause other parts, such as sensors, water pumps, and water distributors to fail, rendering your equipment useless. This can cause huge problems, especially in summer months!
Don’t think it’s enough to pour some stinky chemicals into your machine and walk away. This isn’t proper cleaning and benefits no one, least of all your machine. You need to have the machine professionally disassembled and thoroughly cleaned. There is intense soaking and scrubbing involved that is best left to professionals. You can maintain your unit on your own between service calls by investing in replacing water filters every six months, using antimicrobials, and sanitizing your machine regularly.
As summer approaches consider having your commercial ice machines checked and properly serviced. We, at Northeast Cooling are happy to help accommodate your needs! Give us a call! We certainly don’t want to see you lacking ice when the summer heat and vacation crowds descend upon us!
In our last post, we focused on Commercial Refrigeration and Freezer Energy Star definitions and specs, continuing our education of green refrigeration, this post we’re going to talk to Energy Star Commercial Ice Machines.
Just like the commercial refrigeration and freezer products, ENERGY STAR Commercial ice machines save a great amount of energy. On average Energy Star commercial ice freezers are 15% more energy efficient than non-energy star ice freezers. These energy star products are also 10 percent more water-efficient than standard ice freezer models.
That energy savings equals real money to restaurants and other businesses that use these ice machines.
Which Ice Freezers Can Qualify For Energy Star Products?
Air-cooled, cube-type machines are eligible for ENERGY STAR qualification, including ice-making head, self-contained, and remote condensing units.
Water Consumption Energy Star requirements:
- There are specific maximum potable water and energy consumption limits to earn the ENERGY STAR. Products must not exceed maximum energy use limit (kWh/100lbs ice), as determined by harvest rate (lbs ice/day) and equipment type. Units also must meet potable water use limits. Only air-cooled, cube type units may qualify.
Commercial Ice Machine Definitions:
- Ice Machine: A factory-made assembly (not necessarily shipped in one package) consisting of a condensing unit and ice-making section operating as an integrated unit, with means for making and harvesting ice. It is an assembly that makes up to 4,000 lbs of ice per day at Standard Ratings Conditions, as defined in Section 5.2.1 of ARI Standard 810-2006, and may also include means for storing or dispensing ice, or both.
- Ice Making Head (IMH): A model with the ice-making mechanism and the condensing unit in a single package, but with a separate ice storage bin.
- Remote Condensing Unit (RCU) or Split System Unit: A model in which the ice-making mechanism and condenser or condensing unit are in separate sections.
- Self-Contained (SCU): A model in which the ice-making mechanism and storage compartment are in an integral cabinet.
- Air-Cooled: An ice machine wherein motor driven fans or centrifugal blowers move air through the condenser to remove heat from the refrigerant.
- Cubed: Cubed ice machines have an alternate freezing and harvesting period. Water is circulated over an evaporator where it freezes until cubes are fully formed. The cubed ice is then harvested and moved to storage. The ice may be in cube shape, or in a variation of a solid shape.
- Flake: Flake ice machines produce ice continuously, usually in a barrel-shaped evaporator. An auger inside the evaporator scrapes ice off the sides into a storage bin.
- Nugget: Nugget ice machines use the same process as flake machines but compress the ice flakes into nuggets.
As we continue to post educational blog posts regarding green refrigeration, we hope to spark your interest in this movement and segment of commercial refrigeration. If you feel that your business would benefit from energy efficient ice freezers and are interested in purchasing an Energy Star product please contact Northeast Cooling.
We’re happy to answer any question for you. We have several models to offer, including Manitowic Foodservice models which recently were awarded the energy star partner of the year.