DIY Commercial Refrigeration Maintenance Inspection

DIY Commercial Refrigeration Maintenance Inspection

We’re here to help you with all things commercial refrigeration. We’d like to help you keep your machines running smoothly between maintenance calls. So, with some information and timely tips our aim is to assist business owners in better understanding when it’s time to make that call to schedule a maintenance appointment for their commercial coolers and freezers in Chicago. We’re also sharing some handy pointers on preventive maintenance that the end user can perform on their own.

First TIP, and essential, to a well running cooler or freezer:

Routine maintenance should be performed at least twice per year.

A thorough plan performed by a service company should include the following:

  • Pressure Cleaning Condenser Coils (degrease if necessary)
  • Pressure Clean Drain Lines
  • Monitor Temperature & Cycling
  • Check Refrigerant Level
  • Check Condenser and Evaporator Fan Motors & Blades
  • Check Electrical Connections: Wiring & Compressor
  • Check Unit Thermometer: Door Gaskets & Insulation
  • Check Door Hinges & Closers
  • Ice Machines should be taken apart & cleaned.
  • An acid descale solution should then be run through the water circuit.

This is what a dirty ice machine can look like:

Dirty Ice Machine
Ice Machine covered in slime & mold.

If you own commercial refrigeration YOU should be aware of when the last maintenance service was performed.

If  you had maintenance service preformed over six months ago then you might be surprised to learn that it’s now OVERDUE. In between service calls you can help keep your machines running as efficiently as possible by cleaning out the dust and dirt. Most self contained coolers and freezers have a cover at the top or bottom. This cover can be removed by taking out two screws on each side. Refrigeration owners can remove this cover to inspect the condition of the condenser coil once a month.

This condenser so dirty it can cause compressor to fail:

Dirty Condenser Coil On A Commercial Cooler
Dirty Condenser Coil

Here is the same condenser with half,  and then all, of the dirt removed with a brush. BIG difference, right? This is something the end user can do in between full maintenance programs. Although, this does not remove all the dirt it will help you keep your unit running more efficiently between service calls. A service company will still need to come and blow out the coils with a pressure clean a few times a year.

Dirty Condenser Coil On A Commercial Cooler  Dust Blanket Removed From Condenser Coil On A Commercial Cooler

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If the refrigeration unit is a remote rack type like one pictured below, remove a side cover and look up from bottom to inspect condition of condenser coil.

Remote Refrigeration Rack Unit

 Here are the main things a customer can do between maintenance visits:

  • Check air-cooled condenser coils on coolers, freezers, and ice machines. These are the fan coils on the exterior of the unit. Brush off the dirt without damaging the aluminum fins.
  • Check ice machines. Remove cover and inspect interior for signs of mold or slime build-up. If any build-up is found call a service company.
  • Check door gaskets on coolers and freezers. Inspect for rips or tears.
  • Check automatic door closers and hinges on equipment.

Keep in mind the following:

Equipment may still maintain temperature EVEN when in need of maintenance. It will also use significantly more electricity and be prone to major component failure.

In the case of refrigeration equipment an ounce of prevention is definitely worth a  pound of cure!


Spring Cleaning for Commercial Refrigeration Equipment – Comprehensive Maintenance Checklist

Spring has Sprung!

Thoughts turn to blue skies and flowers. (Shh! Yes, it is snowing right this very minute in Chicagoland!)

Have you given thought to your commercial refrigeration needs? Probably not. When everything is chugging along in perfect working order, preventative maintenance often slips our minds. So, we’d like to give you a gentle reminder that preventative maintenance is always better than trying to find a cure for something that has already met its demise.

The best way to stay on top of your preventative maintenance needs is to keep a to-do list. Sounds like one more thing to add to your already full schedule, but it can be very simple. No need to complicate things. All you need is a straightforward checklist with the following:

  • Task
  • Department
  • Person
  • Date Checked

To make things easy for you, we’ve put together a list of items you should check on a regular basis.

Commercial Refrigeration Maintenance Checklist

Basic Refrigeration Maintenance Check List:

  • pressure clean / degrease condenser coils
  • clear condensate drain lines
  • check condition of  door gaskets
  • monitor thermostat operation and adjust as needed
  • monitor temperature and cycling
  • check compressor operation and control wiring
  • check refrigerant level
  • oil motors if oil ports exist
  • check unit thermometer
  • check suction line insulation
  • inspect door hinges & door closers
  • check and adjust defrost timers

Ice Machine Maintenance Check List:

  • all removable parts should be taken out and cleaned
  • bin drain should be pressure cleaned
  • an acid wash should be done on evaporator
  • bin should be scrubbed and sanitized
  • after cleaning ice level sense probe will need to be adjusted

Maintenance Check List for A/C:

  • pressure clean condenser coil
  • replace air filters
  • replace blower belt
  • clear condensate drain
  • check thermostat operation and settings

Did you know it can be dangerous to have a dirty ice machine?  It is very important to keep your ice machine clean!

Important Ice Machine Maintenance Tips

  • Clean Ice Cooler: Do this every other week and you’ll have ice cubes that are uniform in shape and don’t harbor an unpleasant odor. You risk your machine shutting down if you don’t clean regularly.
  • Check for Brown Slime: Ice machines can develop a brown slime.  This brown slime develops from specific types of yeast such as: airborne yeast, beer, brewing yeast, and baking yeast. We recommend that you consult your ice machine manufacturer’s manual.
  • Check Ice Machine Temperature: It’s important to keep your ice machine in a cool location. It will expend less energy and make better cubes.
  • Replace Ice Machine’s Water Filters Regularly: Every six (6) months. Ice quality will increase, and the speed in which ice is produced also increases.
  • Clean Your Condenser Coils: Condenser coils are often ignored by restaurants. Dirty condenser coils have an adverse effect on your ice cooler’s temperature, resulting in slow ice production. If your condenser coils are weighed down by gunk and grease, you should give us a call or Tweet us!
  • Maintain a Regular Professional Cleaning Schedule: Ice machine cleaning should be on your list of highly important kitchen jobs.  We recommend you hire a certified technician, like Northeast Cooling, to clean your ice maker every 6 months.

It’s easy to take your commercial refrigeration, especially your ice machine, for granted. It’s always there: churning out perfect cubes for your every need. To keep those cubes perfect, you need regular preventative maintenance.

Benefits of Regular Preventative Maintenance

  • Reduce power consumption. It’s easy to be GREEN with a little preventative care.
  • Extend life of equipment, especially critical components like the compressor, capillary tube, and condenser fan motor.
  • Avoid costly EMERGENCY service caused by lack of maintenance.
  • Avoid mold growth and contaminated “spotted” ice. (To combat this, have ice machines taken apart and cleaned at least twice per year.)
  • Properly maintained line coolers won’t cause system oil and capillary tube breakdown and/or compressor failure.
  • Proper door seal reduces power consumption and extends life of equipment.

Find more helpful information on how you can save energy, and money, by following @Refrigeration on Twitter and Northeast Cooling on Facebook.


Maintenance to-do List Saves You Precious Money

If you want to keep your refrigeration equipment running at its designed best then you must have a preventive maintenance schedule to remind you. A schedule is important for a busy person like you. At least having this list would not make you forget about what you should be doing at a particular time. You keep a daily-to-do list, right? Then why not keep a maintenance to-do list as well.

The list does not have to be very exhaustive;  just a couple of points with the corresponding task and person assigned to do the work should do.  A good example on your maintenance to-do list would be:

Task  – Department In-Charge – Person In Charge – Date checked

This list is by no means exhaustive and you can always format your maintenance to-do list according to your need. There really is not hard and fast rule about this. Just create a schedule and stick with it so that you get to reap the benefits of a preventive maintenance schedule.

Another  benefit of having a schedule is that you can acquaint your people with how the refrigeration equipment works. They will be able to sense if the equipment is not properly working because they have spent enough time maintaining it. It is always best to incorporate a weekly or bi-monthly schedule as part of your maintenance people’s work load. This way they would be able to repair equipment that is need of their attention as soon as possible.

Preventive maintenance schedule helps you save money by making sure that your equipment works as it should because it is well taken cared of.  Better yet you can contact the specialists to do the job for you.  Contact Northeast Cooling LLC for more details.

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