It’s Friday evening just before the dinner rush and you open your kitchen’s refrigerator. But instead of that welcoming, icy cool blast of air (that is usually so refreshing in contrast to the hot kitchen), you feel the luke-warm surprise of an under-performing refrigeration unit. Do you need a service call? A replacement? Could this have been prevented? In many cases, your unit may be just struggling to overcome the environment where it is located.
Regular Condenser Cleanings and Maintenance
You can lengthen the reign of your refrigerator with consistent preventive maintenance from the day you buy it. Your kitchen is a hot, damp, greasy and dusty environment that can negatively affect any piece of equipment. That is why it is important to regularly clean your unit’s condenser coils of dust and debris. Most manufacturer’s recommend a monthly check and cleaning that takes just minutes.
Manufacturers have made accessing the condenser relatively easy. In most cases, the front grill can be removed from your unit by turning a few screws or wing nuts. Here you will find the condenser which helps pull the heat out of your coolant and returns cooler air to the inside of your unit. If this bundle of fins, tubing and metal lattice is blocked, your refrigerator is being overworked when trying to maintain the proper temperatures. Use a heavy duty nylon wire brush to clear the fins in a top to bottom motion. Be careful not to poke or prod the tubing which can cause costly damage. Afterwards, you can use a shop vacuum to remove the smaller dust particles that remain. Usually, it is not necessary to use soap or water to clean this part. Your job is done when you can see through the condenser to the back of the unit.
Remember Your Fan Blades Too
While your maintenance access is open, check the fan motor and blades. Of course, you’ll want to make sure the refrigerator is unplugged to ensure they don’t start up during cleaning. Again, a soft brush or shop vac is useful here, although a soapy rag with warm water may be necessary if there is grease or other buildup on your blades. Just be careful to safeguard your motor and other electrical parts from the water.
Other Preventive and Cosmetic Maintenance
There are several other parts of your refrigerator that can use some consistent attention. First, many manufacturer’s units have easily removable door gaskets. These should be removed periodically and soaked in warm soapy water to remove debris that can block your door from completely closing or even contribute to food contamination. Position of food inside your refrigerator can also affect performance. When vents are blocked, or air is not permitted to flow properly around the edges of your unit – the performance is decreased. Refer to your unit’s instruction manual to learn the best configuration. Finally, is your refrigerator in view of your customer? Then you’ll want to help your exterior shine. Food grade stainless steel cleaner or mild hand soap with warm water is recommended. Never use abrasive cleaners or steel wool.
Central is Here to Help
Back to the Friday night scenario. You checked your airflow, condenser and gasket and there are still problems. Remember, your Central Restaurant product consultant can help you find a service option or even work to rush you an in-stock replacement from True or any of our other valued vendors. But remember, in many cases these issues can be prevented or prolonged with some simple ongoing maintenance steps. Steps that can reduce your energy costs and increase the longevity of your unit from the very day you buy it.