Round Lake Refrigeration

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

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.

Storms Wreak Havoc Northeast Cooling Saves the Day!

Severe storms and extreme temperatures have wreaked havoc among homeowners and businesses alike across the Chicagoland and Milwaukee areas in the past two weeks. Northeast Cooling knows firsthand how nerve-wracking and frustrating outages and overworked equipment can be for those that depend upon them for their livelihood.

Last Saturday around 10 PM, we received a call from a meat warehouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The entire refrigerated warehouse was down due to a compressor that would not stay on. The temperature was rising fast and so were tensions. The owners had roughly $50,000 worth of  meat that they stood to lose within hours if something didn’t happen FAST!

Mitch headed up to Kenosha from Mundelein, Illinois and arrived around 11:30 PM. Once inside, he found the compressor overheated and off on High Pressure Safety cutout. This meant that neither condenser fans were running at all. With some thorough checking of the electrical system, he found one of the two in-line fuses for the condenser motor unit needed to be replaced.  Once the fuse was replaced he then discovered that the motor circuit was over amping. By using an amp meter, Mitch was able to find which motor was over amping and resolved that it was the reason the fuse had blown initially.

After removing the faulty motor and pressure cleaning the condenser coil, he was able to get the entire unit back online and keep it running with just one condenser motor powering the entire system.  He stayed and monitored the refrigerant pressure and found it will below the high pressure safely cut out setting. Soon after the warehouse started cooling down quite quickly and the meat was saved.

The unit was able to sustain itself until he could return on Monday and install a new 1 horse power condenser fan motor.

Northeast Cooling is happy to provide after-hours services for your EMERGENCY needs.

Check our website for further information.

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.

“Business Cards Suck. Hashable is awesome.”


Could it be true there will be no more trading of business cards around the proverbial water cooler at networking events for this Chicago based Ice Machine Repair guy? If Hashable has its way, that’s exactly how things will go.

During a recent interview with Fast Company, Michael Yavonditte, CEO of Hashable, said he wants his new brainchild to change the face of networking.  Hashable takes LinkedIn, Twitter, and Foursquare to all new levels with simple hashtagging. You check-in with people instead of just places as with Foursquare, you can exchange electronic business cards via a LinkedIn connection, and you can have all this posted directly to your Twitter feed for the world to see.  On top of that, there’s a leaderboard feature to provide some competition among friends. The leaderboard ranks users by “Hashcred.” This way you can see who the real movers and shakers are within your network.

Yayonditte goes on to say that, “People are really interested in accessing who is connected to whom, and how strong those connections are. That is the kind of data we have.”

Hashable and all its shiny new functionality will be unveiled and debuted at SXSW next week. Not only can you check in with your friends, there is no need for business cards! No business cards?! No fumbling! No forgetting who you met and where you met them! No more losing other people’s business cards! It’s all in your phone!  With its practicality and entertainment value, it’s possible Hashable could become what Foursquare was last year at SXSW.  A new sensation.

To connect with people, first register at Hashable online and get the app for your phone. Once you’re set up, you simply use the standard hashtags, or you can create your own, then add a person’s Twitter handle and you have made your connection. Some examples are as follows.

#justmet @InsertYourName





There’s also an Introduce feature, so you can play matchmaker on business and personal levels. Digital matchmaking in real time: who could have imagined?

To exchange business cards you simply use the Exchange Business Card feature. Once you’ve connected Hashable to LinkedIn your information is stored and ready to send electronically to your newest business contact or your latest love interest.

Hashable, now in Beta, available to the public without an invitation, recently released a new feature called, “The Inner Circle.” This allows users to see each other’s primary contact information and their interactions.

Before the official launch at SXSW, there will be several #HashUps. We, in the Chicagoland area are lucky enough to have Chicago pre-SXSW #Hashup next week on Tuesday, March 8th at Sushi Samba Rio!

While in its infancy, Hashable seems like a boon for the networking world. Give it a try and see if it enhances your business interaction and your social networking.


Be sure to check out the Hashable cheat sheet. Very handy for beginners.