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Why You Need to Maintain Your Self-Contained Refrigeration

Published on: March 28, 2018

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. 

Here’s a grocery store owner’s nightmare: the customer is minding their own business and wants to grab some frozen fruit for breakfast tomorrow. As they reach into one of your fridges, however, not only do the frozen berries feel softer than they should, the inside of the fridge they’re reaching into feels hot instead of cold!

Owning refrigeration that lasts for years is a must if you run a grocery business, whether it’s small or massive. One of the most commonly used units we see in our stores is in fact self-contained refrigeration. This is the easiest form of refrigeration to service and maintain as it uses a simple “plug and go” setup and installation. However, if maintenance goes unattended to for long enough, the results of such negligence will be disastrous. Self-contained refrigerators are considered to be HVAC equipment as well, so like any asset in your business, it needs proper maintenance to keep running. These are the most important pieces of your self-contained refrigeration where maintenance is crucial.

The Condenser

The condenser in your self-contained refrigeration is one of the most important parts to maintain. It can be located anywhere within the unit, but it absolutely must connect to the evaporator. These two components are connected via tubes, which then carry coolant throughout the cooling system, ensuring that heat is exchanged for a cold temperature which keeps perishable foods chilled and at their proper temperature.

If the condenser is dirty, however, it will work harder than it should to keep the air cool, thus shortening its lifespan. A dirty condenser will also retain its heat rather than dispersing it throughout the unit, and if it gets too hot the entire unit will shut down. By the time the condenser cools, your food will have warmed up. Not only that, it can also lead to a huge spike in your energy bill!

To avoid such a financial predicament, it’s best to make sure to clean the area where the condenser is located. Once a year should suffice as far as how often to clean it, however it may need to be cleaned more frequently if cobwebs or other debris builds up faster.

The Compressor

You want your compressor to last as long as possible. Next to the condenser, this is the most important piece of your self-contained refrigerator’s system that needs regular maintenance since it keeps the fridge interior cool.

If the compressor goes unmaintained, it will not run properly—and you need it to be running, otherwise the same problem of your food warming up will occur! Typically, you should clean any dirt, grease, dust, and more from your compressor every 3 months.

The Evaporator

The evaporator coils in self-contained refrigeration work similarly to A/C units in that they evaporate the coolant connected from the condenser. Unlike the condenser, which can be installed in different areas of the self-contained fridge, the evaporator is always situated on top where the actual cooling process takes place. This is where the coolant coming from the condenser changes from liquid to gas.

Much like the A/C units, evaporator coils in the fridge can get iced up and dirty if they’re not attended to. It’s important to defrost the fridge once a month and ensure it is properly cleaned afterwards. This will help those evaporator coils stay defrosted. You should also double-check the temperature; sometimes setting the temperature too low can cause the evaporator to ice up.

When to Call for Help

It’s important to call a professional for help if you notice the following signs with your self-contained refrigeration:

  • An unusually noisy compressor
  • Iced-up evaporator coils not being defrosted
  • No cool air flowing through the cabinets
  • A compressor switching off and on
  • A compressor that is constantly running (it shouldn’t be!)

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