Restaurants or grocery stores don’t think about their walk-in coolers often, but they are essential to the operation of the business. All of them have them to store meat, prepared foods, produce, and any items that required being chilled. These are the most valuable assets of the business. USDA regulation require that all food be stored at or below 38 degrees as food can spoilage can occur from bacteria and create safety violations.
It’s critical that the owner of the business maintain their walk-in cooler to avoid emergency repairs. Repairs of this nature can be quite expensive, especially to get a technician in on short notice, and could result in considerable down time and losses for the business both in the service call, parts, and lost perishables. It’s makes good business sense to have a regular schedule for preventative maintenance, to catch any potential problems early and minimize down time. It’s also less costly than the emergency repairs.
A walk-in cooler isn’t a freezer – it’s essentially a big walk in refrigerator. It operates on the same principles. They have an evaporator with coils and blades, a condensing unit, a compressor that uses refrigerant, with sealed/insulated doors and walls. Walk-ins typically have a control panel to set the temperature and a thermometer to keep constant track of the temperature.
In order to for the walk-in cooler to operate properly, a business owner or manager can take simple steps to ensure longevity and keep their repair costs down.
Inspect Door Hinges and Seals
The door hinges on the walk-in cooler need to be checked to make sure they seal properly. The door should have some resistance when opening the door. If it opens too fast lacking any type of stickiness or suction, then the seals may need replacing or lubrication. The seals typically need lubrication every 3 months. A worn seal will let out cold air and the motors will have to push harder to keep the same temperature. This is like turning on the AC at home, but keeping your windows and doors slightly open. Your AC won’t be working its best.
Monitor Daily Temperature
If the cooler fluctuates its temperature, then this is a clear indication either that maintenance or repair is needed. The cooler’s temperature should remain relatively steady except for times where the door is opened for an extended period of time. As a matter or practice, the door of the cooler should never be left opened longer than necessary. It’s best to close it often if moving things in and out instead of leaving it open to save a few seconds. The temperature inside the unit will rise and it the unit will have to work harder to bring the temperature back to its baseline. There is also the risk of the food spoiling quicker if the temperature is not kept constant.
Keep the Evaporator and Condenser Clear and Clean
The evaporator and condenser can’t have any debris or trash around them. This will impede proper airflow. Airflow is essential for the unit to maintain temperature evenly and without putting additional burden on the fans and condenser. It is also important to clean the evaporator coils and fan blades. If this inside the unit, this should be at least twice a year. If they are outside the unit, then it will need to be more often. As part of a regular maintenance program, your technician can check these to see if they require cleaning.
Having a trusted technician who maintains your walk-in cooler on a schedule will help you maintain and protect your expensive investment and keep your energy bills lower. Contact us today so set do a check up if you haven’t done maintenance in the last 6 months. We can put you on a schedule and keep your walk-in and business running.