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7 DIY Maintenance Tips for Commercial Refrigeration

Published on: February 4, 2020

IMPORTANT NOTE: . Our company is located in British Columbia, Canada. If you are reading this article in another location, we hope you enjoy the information, but unfortunately we cannot service you. 

Whether you’re in the high or low season at your business, it’s guaranteed that any commercial refrigeration being used daily will have an urgent need to tend to. You can prevent major breakdowns from occurring with regular maintenance before and during the busiest months, and make sure both your customers and staff are happy too.

Here are seven good maintenance tips for commercial refrigeration to keep in mind. You can add these to your schedule if needed to stay organized and keep an eye on potential problems that may build up over time.

  1. Clean both the inside and outside

One of the biggest reasons we get calls in to help fix commercial fridges and coolers, etc. is because the business or staff in question forgot that like the floors and everything else, the cooling units need to be cleaned too. Clean out any spills or stains inside of the units, and clean the outside to prevent exterior spills from making their way to the parts needed for a fridge to function properly. Keep an eye out for excess moisture, which also needs to be wiped up.

You will have to clean the floor underneath the refrigeration too. Doing so will prevent bacteria and other things like mold from contaminating your food. It will also help you control dirt and dust while maintaining the condenser coils, which is the next task you have to do.

  1. Clean up condenser coils regularly

Ideally you should clean this component in your commercial refrigeration at least once every six months. You may be wondering how often this needs to be done, but really the answer is when they’re dirty—that’s it. Once every six months is only the standard recommendation as well; the number may change to more frequently depending on your circumstances.

This is why you need to check on your business’s refrigeration regularly and clean the freezer coils to ensure there is no debris clogging things up. Build-up will force the evaporator to work harder than it should and thus it’ll take longer to cool the inside. It could even lead to calling in a technician for service on reducing strain from the evaporator’s motor.

  1. Clean up tubing and drain pans

Larger commercial refrigeration units and freezers tend to attract bigger amounts of slime and sludge formation, which can cause units to freeze up and stop working properly. This sludge tends to form the most frequently inside of tubing and the drain pans. If these pans overflow with sludge and moisture, it’ll create a nasty and pungent smell throughout the kitchen. Clogging in the tubing is also a problem, because it will cause an overflow in the defrost system and that will leak onto the floor.

To prevent these problems, clean the tubing and drain pans. You can clean out the pan using a vinegar solution or warm water and soap at least once a month. Check on the tubing every few months to avoid significant blockages from occurring. Water spots or calcium on the exterior of the hoses may build up, so if you notice these you can prevent future wear and tear by cleaning them with soap and water.

  1. Inspect the refrigeration’s door gaskets (seals)

Torn or split door gaskets, or seals, happen over time the more frequently the refrigeration unit is used. It works hard enough to cool down the conditioned space. Gaskets that become torn or split can lead to warm air seeping into the fridge and spoiling food in the process. Food debris in these worn out gaskets can also lead to bacteria and mold build-up.

Every so often it’s a good idea to inspect all four sides of the commercial refrigeration unit’s door gaskets. Check to see if rips or tears are occurring, and make sure these actually seal well on all four sides of the door. Gasket cleaning should be very gentle, using mild soapy water; this will help remove any food debris.

  1. Inspect the evaporator coil

The evaporator coil, just like the condenser coil, is a vital part of your commercial refrigeration units. This part is located by the evaporator fan and helps absorb heat as the warm air passes through the system, which then helps cool down the interior.

This part needs to be kept clean too. Keep this coil clear and clean consistently and avoid cramming the interior of the fridge or freezer, with a lot of items, especially if they’re hot. Blocking airflow to the evaporator coil will cause it to freeze up, which then leads to both a rise in cabinet temperature and water leakage.

  1. Keep the ice maker clean

If your commercial refrigeration comes with an ice maker, this system will also need to be kept clean. Leaving it alone for too long will result in greater bacteria and mold accumulation, which leads to health problems for everyone (especially your customers!). No one wants to find dirty ice in their drinks, so take the time to clean it out.

There are a lot of steps to be taken for this part, which we’ve outlined in a previous blog post. If you still find you’re having difficulty with this step, there’s no harm in calling in a professional technician to clean this part for you instead.

  1. Replace the air filter

Yes, just like an air conditioner or furnace, commercial refrigeration comes with air filters. This is why we keep insisting on keeping everything clean, because a large buildup can prevent air from ventilating the fridge or freezer properly. How does buildup develop, you ask? Simple: the grease and dust from fryers and griddles.

To take care of the air filter for your fridge, remove any dust or loose debris with a powerful shop vacuum. Clean up any thick grease buildup with a degreasing solution. You may want to refer to the unit’s manual for more tips on how to properly degrease the filter without causing damage.

Speaking of damage, that’s another thing that too much grease and buildup can cause. If you’re degreasing and notice any splits in the air filter from the debris, then replace the filter immediately.

Still experiencing problems?

There are some issues that these DIY fixes cannot correct and will require the aid of a professional HVAC-R technician:

  • Troubles with electrical connections
  • The unit isn’t cold enough, or there’s no air flow
  • There’s no power to the commercial refrigeration
  • The compressor is not running, or it’s short cycling
  • The fan motor is out
  • The evaporator coil is iced up
  • The refrigerant charge needs to be checked up on
  • A scheduled maintenance check-up and cleaning for specific components, such as the ice maker

We service commercial fridges, walk-in coolers, walk-in freezers, and ice machines in addition to HVAC systems, so get in touch with us if any of the above list applies to your situation. At Rep-Air Heating And Cooling we provide our customers with many options that will best suit your needs from heating and cooling to refrigeration. Contact us today for your complimentary quote: 1-778-728-1476 or and don’t forget to take a look at our website: Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for free giveaways!

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