10 Smart Strategies For Keeping Your Restaurant Refrigerator Running

Posted on: 9 October 2014

As a restaurateur, one of the last things you need is for your walk-in refrigeration unit to decide to call it quits during the middle of a busy weekend. Although you can't avert every possible disaster, you can do 10 things on a regular basis that will probably keep your restaurant refrigerator running. They are:

1. Clean Condensing Coils Monthly

Gentle, thorough cleansing of condenser coils every 30 days will keep accumulated dirt from causing the compressor to overheat. Compressor malfunctions can cause both the interior temperature of the unit and your monthly utility costs to rise.

2. Provide Air Space Around the Coils

Make certain to keep the area around the condensing coils free of food items and other objects that would restrict the airflow around the coils. Not enough air circulation will result in the unit working harder to keep things cool.

3. Keep Door Hinges Well-Oiled

Keeping the hinges on the door of your walk-in refrigerator well-oiled will ensure that the doors always close properly -- something that's easy for kitchen staff to overlook during the course of a busy shift. On average, the hinges should be oiled once per year, but don't hesitate to do so more often if you notice that the door is not closing as easily as it should.

4. Keep Fan Blades Clean

Keeping the blades on the fan in your walk-in clean will reduce drag, therefore making your unit run more smoothly as a whole. Cleaning frequency will depend on factors such as the size of your unit and how heavily it's used, but on average, count on doing this once every few weeks.

5. Keep Outdoor Vent Area Clean

Outdoor refrigeration vents are generally located in easy-to-overlook areas such as side alleys and small strips of land between buildings, and that means that weeds and trash can build up easily in these locations. Checking them periodically for overgrown vegetation and accumulated trash will keep the vents from becoming obstructed. Most restaurant personnel completely overlook this area until it becomes too unsightly to ignore.

6. Keep Drain Lines Clear of Debris

Drain lines should be checked about once a year and cleaned of any debris that may have accumulated. The suction lines between the evaporator coils and the condensing unit should also be cleaned out at this time.

7. Keep Temperatures Steady

Keeping the thermostat in your walk-in refrigeration unit steady will prevent the system from becoming overworked.The thermostat of your refrigeration until should be kept below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

8. Keep the Drainage System Clear

Checking the drainage system for obstructions should be done as a matter of course whenever the unit is cleaned - which should be at least once per week. This often gets overlooked by employees who are in a hurry to get out of the cold.

9. Appoint a Person in Charge

Putting one person ultimately in charge of making certain that your restaurant's walk-in refrigeration unit is the best way to ensure that it will run smoothly and safely. Create and maintain a checklist that the employee signs off on as tasks are completed will provide incentive and accountability. This responsibility is usually given to secondary kitchen staff such as dishwashers and prep cooks rather than to chefs or line cooks.

10. Schedule an Annual Checkup

Your walk-in refrigeration until should be given a complete inspection by an experienced, qualified refrigeration professional from a place like K & D Factory Service Inc. That person can check the gaskets, make certain that the thermostat is working properly, inspect the wiring to ensure that it is functioning as it should, and generally make certain that your walk-in is in good working order.