Cleaning and Maintenance
Our Free guide to commercial refrigeration cleaning and maintenance
Routine cleaning and maintenance is essential for all storage and display refrigeration.
The manufacturers operating and installation manuals provide essential information
We recommend that all storage and display refrigeration is inspected and serviced regularly by a qualified refrigeration engineer.
REFRIGERATION HEALTH CHECK
Cleaning and Maintenance Guidelines
CLEANING COMMERCIAL REFRIGERATION
As our commercial refrigeration is designed to preserve food and drink products, it is important to keep it clean for reasons of hygiene and health. Whilst the appliances are thoroughly cleaned in our factories before delivery, we recommend, that you clean the interior of the appliance before use. Before cleaning the appliance make sure the power cord is disconnected.
Cleaning the Interior and Exterior of the appliance
- Do not use solvents or thinners
- Do not use water jets or direct water on appliances
Before cleaning: remove all food and packaging debris.
Cleaning products: only use water and non-abrasive neutral detergents.
Cleaning method: use a cloth or sponge moistened with a suitable cleaning product to clean the interior. and exterior parts of the cabinet. Do not saturate the cloth or sponge.
Sanitation: do not use substances that could alter the taste and smell of stored food.
Rinsing: use a clean cloth or sponge moistened in clean water.
Frequency: cleaning should take place at a minimum of once a week or at more frequent intervals in accordance with the type of cabinet and food product being stored or displayed.
Cleaning the Condenser
The condenser is an important part of the refrigeration system. The condenser will work less efficiently if it is obstructed with any objects, therefore, it must be cleaned at least once a month. Failure to maintain the condenser will also invalidate the manufacturer’s warranty.
Before cleaning the condenser switch off the appliance, disconnect the power cord and proceed as follows:
- Counter and Display Refrigeration: open the control panel by slackening the screws and gently pulling down on its hinges or away from the cabinet. Be careful not to display wires or switches.
- Top-mounted unit: for units with fixed upper front panel, use a safe step ladder for direct access to the condenser located at the top of the appliance.
- For with cabinets with overturning upper front panel, unscrew the fixing screw and turn the upper panel on the top hinges. Again. take care not to displace wires or switches.
Take care not to trap wires when replacing control panels.
Use an air jet or a dry brush and, working with up and down movements, remove any dust or fluff that has deposited on the heat exchanger fins. An upholstery brush attached to a vacuum cleaner nozzle is ideal. In case of greasy deposits, use a brush soaked in benzene or alcohol.
During this operation, it is advisable to use the following personal safety features: safety glasses, dust mask, chemical resistant gloves when using benzine or alcohol.
Start the appliance after cleaning and check that the cabinet is operating effectively.
MAINTAINING AND SERVICING COMMERCIAL REFRIGERATION
Unlike almost any other piece of commercial food equipment, it is essential that all refrigeration works to a maximum efficiency 24 hours a day. Refrigeration that doesn’t operate to high standards can lead to a long list of performance issues that could potentially affect the finances and reputation of your business.
The following areas of the appliance or component assemblies require weekly checks:
- condition of the condenser unit and sufficient airflow
- condition and efficiency of the door sealing elements
- condition of shelves in contact with food products
- condition of hinges and correct fixing of the doors
- condition of electrical cables and electrical parts
- position of the refrigerated appliance
Any refrigeration system with a blocked condenser, leaking refrigerant, faulty door seal or incorrect defrost settings (to name just a few issues), works the components harder than they were originally designed to. Ultimately, this can cause operating failures and increase the amount of energy being used.
We recommend that you take out a service or maintenance contract with a local reputable refrigeration engineering company. Most businesses in the food and drink industries will have a long-standing relationship with a reputable refrigeration company who provide a full cleaning, monitoring and maintenance service which includes:
- cleaning of the condenser
- periodical checks of the refrigerant charge
- checking complete cycle operation
- electrical safety
Positioning of Commercial Refrigeration
It is important that the appliance is positioned correctly, as incorrect positioning can cause damage to the refrigeration system and affect the performance of the cabinet. Before switching on the refrigeration system, you should check:
- position the refrigerated cabinet keeping a minimum distance of 3-4 cm from any wall
- position the refrigerated cabinet away from heat sources
- avoid exposure to direct sunlight
- avoid drafts from doors and air conditioning units
- ensure adequate airflow above the compressor unit
- ensure all polyethylene, cardboard or wood packaging is removed
It is important to ensure that the ambient air temperature of the room, where the cabinet is positioned, is in line with the manufacturers guidelines. Failure to follow these guidelines will invalidate the manufacturer’s warranty.
MONITORING COMMERCIAL REFRIGERATION
The manufacturer’s operating and installation manuals provide essential information. We recommend that you read this information thoroughly before using each new piece of equipment and then refer to manuals on a regular basis. Failure to do so may invalidate your warranty.
User manuals will give specific instructions on how to carefully access key areas for routine cleaning and maintenance. If the manual has been mislaid then contact the company who supplied the equipment or the manufacturer directly.
In line with food and drink safety guidelines, it is important to measure and monitor the temperature of all refrigeration equipment. Do not rely on readings from the controller.
We recommend that independent readings are routinely taken with a separate temperature probe, at various points within the cabinet. Cabinet temperatures should be recorded in line with your food safety procedures.
OPERATING ISSUES COMMERCIAL REFRIGERATION
Often operating issues will become apparent during hot weather and during busy periods.
This is usually due to:
- ambient air temperatures and humidity becoming higher than specified by the manufacturer
- more products being stored or displayed
- doors are more frequently opened
Therefore, it is important to:
- avoid opening doors unnecessarily and use plexi glass panels on serve over counters
- ensure the frequency of cleaning and maintenance activities take place as highlighted on Page 2
- ensure periodic checks and regular servicing by a qualified refrigeration engineer takes place
- ensure the correct installation and positioning of the appliance
- ensure the cabinet is being used in line with manufacturers guidelines
Please remember, failure to keep on top of this activity will invalidate the manufacturer’s warranty.
Precautionary measures for prolonged periods where the cabinet is not in use
If the appliance is to remain unused for more than 15 days proceed as follows:
- switch off the appliance and disconnect it from the electrical supply
- clean the interior of the cabinet, shelves, trays, runners and supports, paying special attention to critical areas such as recesses and magnetic sealing strips
- leave doors slightly open to prevent accumulation of residual humidity
Start-up after Prolonged Disuse – Before starting the appliance after prolonged disuse perform preventive maintenance. Clean the unit thoroughly as described in the section above.
Checking Warning and Control Devices – Check the correct running of the controls according to what is reported in the manufacturers “Instruction and Maintenance Manual”.