There are 5 steps you can do to save energy and extend the life of your refrigeration equipment.
The following is a short, important list of things you can do to reduce power use and extend the life of your commercial refrigeration units, including coolers, freezers, and ice machines.
This list is simple to check and essential for keeping product temperatures consistent. If you have any questions after reading this, please do not hesitate to contact us!
1. Clean Condenser Coils
Coolers, freezers, and ice makers all have condensers! The heat exchanger in refrigeration units is the condenser coil. It is the coil on the outside of the unit that expels heat from the refrigerant by forcing it through a coil with the help of a fan. It is essential to keep this coil clean in order for the unit to work properly. Failure to do so will result in costly repairs such as compressor failure, fan motor failure, capillary tubing constraints, burnt wiring, and thermostat failure, to name a few.
Every six months, we recommend having the condenser coil pressure cleaned by a professional. Users can clean the coil with a brush in between expert maintenance visits. The brush approach, on the other hand, does not clean within the coil and should not be used in place of routine maintenance. These coils may need to be degreased and cleaned more often on a kitchen line. The condenser coil is commonly found at the bottom or on top of self-contained coolers and freezers. It’s normally accessible by removing four Phillips screws from the corners of a cover. Condenser coils are usually found at the back of ice machines. It could have an air filter that needs to be washed. Inspections should be performed on a regular basis. A clean condenser coil is one approach to GO GREEN by reducing energy usage and extending the equipment’s life. The image below shows a condenser coil that has been neglected for much too long. This is something we see on a daily basis.
2. Clearances Around Units
It is critical to maintain minimum clearances around units in order to maintain optimum air flow around the condenser coil. Self-contained units should have 2 to 4 inches of clearance around the sides and back, according to most manufacturers. The more clearance, the better in our opinion! We’d like 5 to 8 inches of clearance around the sides and back of the unit. We recognize that commercial kitchens have a restricted amount of room. We also know that the more air that can freely circulate through a unit’s condenser section, the less power it uses and the longer key components last. Jamming coolers against each other and against a wall is a surefire way to waste a lot of energy and cause a lot of problems. Coolers should not be boxed in under bars or any other enclosure. Not only would this obstruct airflow, but built-in units are incredibly complex and time-consuming to maintain.
Why let the cold seep out after your refrigerator has worked so hard to maintain the right product temperature? Inspect the door gaskets (seals) on all coolers and freezers on a regular basis. Ensure that all four sides of the gaskets are in solid contact with the door frame. Inspect gaskets for tears, rips, or missing magnetic strips. Gaskets that are worn out or not sealing properly should be changed. A good door seal is essential for regulating temperature and lowering run times as well as electricity usage. In a hot kitchen, this is especially true!
4. Door Closers and Hinges
Most hinges feature spring cartridges that assist in closing the doors of refrigeration units to guarantee that they close properly. A hydraulic door closer may be situated at the top of the door on the external area of larger coolers and freezers, notably walk-in equipment. Most cooks and kitchen personnel are just too preoccupied with hurrying orders out to be concerned about properly closing doors. It is for this reason that automatic door closers are so important. There’s a good likelihood the doors are ajar if the automated door closers aren’t working properly. Excessive run time, poor energy use, and shorter equipment life are all consequences of partially closed doors. The evaporator coils will also ice up as a result of this. Check the operation of your door by opening it all the way and then gently closing it. If the closer is working properly, it should finish the job and close the door. If the door does not close on its own, new hinges or tighter hardware is recommended.
5. Check Internal Food Temperature
Due to rapidly changing ambient circumstances, we recommend utilizing a product sensing thermometer rather than an air sensing thermometer in refrigerated units. When you use an air sensing thermometer, it only informs you how cold the air in a refrigerated unit is when you open it. It does not always provide an accurate image of a product’s real temperature. Use a Sure Temp Glycol filled thermometer to determine the real average product temperature. In a conditioned space, this thermometer is immersed in liquid and will offer an accurate average temperature reading of the product. Take a look at the temperature reading after leaving the Sure Temp thermometer in a conditioned room for a few hours. On a chilly day, temperatures between 34 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal. If it gets colder outside, you can turn the thermostat to a warmer setting to save energy. The temperature in a freezer for storing ice cream should be around -10 degrees Fahrenheit. Adjustments to the thermostat can be performed after obtaining an average temperature with the Sure Temp thermometer.