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If you own a convenience store, you may not have considered the impact your commercial refrigeration units have on the bottom-line. The cost of operating refrigerators and freezers shouldn't eat up your profits; however, poorly-maintained units can do just that. Below are a few simple maintenance tasks you can easily do yourself; by doing so, you will reap the benefits of lower energy costs and longer equipment life spans. Here is how you can do it:
Do-it-yourself refrigeration maintenance – what you need
Do-it-yourself refrigeration maintenance – what you do
Clean the interior fans
Inside your refrigeration unit, you will find fans that circulate the cold air to provide more equitable cooling. After a while, these fans become clogged with dust and their efficiency decreases. You can clean the interior fans by wiping down the blades with a clean, damp cloth rag. Be sure you disconnect the power to your unit before beginning any work on the fan or any other part of the unit.
Clean the condenser coil
The condenser coil acts as a heat exchanger; it removes heat from the refrigerant so it can recycle through the system and absorb more heat. However, condenser coils can become choked with dust, grease and other debris. This foreign matter acts as an insulator and keeps the heat inside the refrigerant.
Condenser coils are usually seen on the back side of most units; they consist of copper tubing inside a flat enclosure. Thin metal fins line the surface of the condenser; these act as heat dissipaters. Once you locate the coil, gently remove accumulated dust with your wet/dry vacuum. Be careful not to press too hard or you may damage or bend the fins.
For stubborn residues, such as grease, you need to spray the condenser coils with a degreasing agent. You can make your own by combining one tablespoon of TSP and one teaspoon of liquid dish soap with 2 cups of warm water. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and generously spray the coils; allow them to soak for a few minutes, then spray them with clean water to rinse the solution and residues. Mop or wipe up the excess water that drains on the floor.
If the fins on the condenser are bent, you need to use a fin comb to straighten them. Just insert the comb's "teeth" into the fins and slowly pull downward to move the fins back into position.
Inspect door hardware and seals
The doors on refrigeration units within a convenience store setting undergo heavy use. After thousands of openings and closings, the spring hinges on doors can weaken. This means the doors often fail to shut properly, and you are losing expensive chilled air as a result. If your doors seem to be sticking, apply a small amount of light machine oil on hinges; this can help restore their correct functioning.
Another common problem with commercial units is worn door gaskets. These rubber strips create an airtight seal between doors and the units themselves. After repeated use, the gaskets will flatten, rip, or crack, and the seal is lost. Again, your unit's efficiency goes down and you lose money in the process.
To check gaskets, use a flashlight to inspect the seal between the door and unit; you should not be able to see light on the other side. Don't forget to look at the bottom of the door, either, since cold air sinks and can creep under a drafty door.
Have a professional provide regular maintenance
By performing the above maintenance items and checks, you can help prevent costly and inefficient operation of your refrigerator unit. However, it is also important that you schedule a regular visit from a qualified refrigeration technician; they can perform additional testing on your system, refill low refrigerant levels, replace worn springs and gaskets, and take care of any other necessary tasks. Only technicians possess the expertise, tools and equipment to keep your unit up and running for the long term. Consult with your technician for more information on maintaining your refrigerator unit.Share