Refrigeration Maintenance Tips

A good refrigeration preventative maintenance program saves money in the long run by keeping your assets working reliably. It also helps you avoid embarrassing health inspection problems and hefty energy costs.

Checking for air leaks is a regular task that should be on every refrigeration maintenance checklist. If gaskets are ripped, cool air may escape and your equipment has to work harder, chewing up more electricity. Talk to a professional by clicking here at

refrigeration maintenanceClean The Condenser Coil

If you want your refrigerator to cool properly, the condenser coil must be clean. Dirty coils slow down heat exchange, and they can even cause ice to build up on the compressor. Regular cleaning of the coil can prevent this problem, and it also ensures that your fridge is consuming less energy. To get started, you’ll need a few basic tools and supplies.

First, unplug your refrigerator (this is the first rule of any maintenance job). You may need to remove a panel or other device to expose the coils. If this is the case, read your refrigerator’s manual for instructions on how to do so safely.

Once you have the coils exposed, use a nylon scrub brush to gently remove any large chunks of dust or dirt that are clogging them. You can also use a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment to suck up any remaining loose debris. Don’t push too hard, however, as this can bend the delicate fins of the coil.

Next, mix a cleaning solution according to the manufacturer’s instructions and spray it onto the coils. Be sure to protect your eyes and skin during the process. Some commercial cleaners contain chemicals that can be dangerous to your health. If you’re not comfortable using a commercial product, consider hiring a professional maintenance service to do the work.

Aside from a good cleaning, there are some other things you can do to keep your condenser coil in top shape. For example, you should regularly inspect the area surrounding your refrigerator for plants and grass that are growing too close to the unit. You can also cut or pull any weeds that might be growing around the coil.

This will help prevent foliage from blocking the airflow through the coils, which can cause them to become clogged with ice and reduce cooling efficiency. Additionally, you should make a habit of cleaning the coils every three months. Ideally, you should do this before the end of winter or summer to avoid overworking the refrigerator’s compressor. If you’re unsure how often you should do this, consult with a professional.

Clean The Fan Blades

In addition to the coil cleaning, it’s important to clean your refrigeration fan blades regularly. Dirty fan blades can force the system to work harder to keep its temperature in the correct range, reducing efficiency and increasing electricity costs. Cleaning your fan blades is a relatively easy task that can be done using only a ladder and an all-purpose cleaner.

A yearly refrigerator maintenance checklist should include a check of the fan blades and sheet metal panels to ensure there are no signs of rust or corrosion. It’s also a good time to clear unnecessary trash away from the unit and check for oil stains on the headers, return bends, and coil fins. These can indicate the presence of an air compressor leak. If any of these are found, they should be repaired or replaced.

Once you’ve wiped down the grate and the fan, it’s time to focus on the blades themselves. Use a damp cloth to remove large dust accumulations and apply a sanitizing spray or mild cleaning solution to wipe down the entire surface of each blade. If necessary, a wire brush can be used to scrape away any grime buildup. Once the sanitizing process is complete, it’s important to check each fan blade to make sure all screws are tight.

While the evaporator coils and the fan blades may seem like an easy place to overlook, they are a key component in the operation of your refrigeration unit. If left unchecked, grime buildup can lead to poor performance and even system failure, causing your business to have to pay higher electricity bills, speed up repairs, and possibly fail health inspections. This can damage your reputation, lose customers, and ultimately cost you business. A little bit of effort on your part can help you avoid the costly consequences of an overlooked issue and protect your most valuable assets – content diners, expensive equipment, and choice ingredients.

Clean The Drain Pan

If your refrigerator is prone to building up grime, it’s important to regularly clean the drain pan and any tubing that might experience frequent buildups. These areas can fill up with sludge and slime, which will quickly emit a pungent smell throughout your kitchen. It’s best to clean these parts of your refrigerator at least once per month with a simple soap and water solution or vinegar solution. It’s also a good idea to check them every couple of months to prevent the occurrence of an overflow.

A commercial fridge is an extremely busy piece of equipment that attracts a lot of daily grime and moisture. These elements can accumulate on various surfaces, causing your unit to work harder than it should to cool foods and air. This can lead to a shortened lifespan, costly repairs, and higher electricity costs. Fortunately, these issues can be easily prevented with regular maintenance and the use of field service automation software.

One of the most overlooked items on a refrigeration maintenance checklist is the drip pan. This is a wide, flat metal or plastic pan that rests at the bottom of your refrigerator, although it may be hidden from view in some models. To access it, turn off the power and water supply to your refrigerator. Using a flashlight or other light source, find the drip pan and carefully remove it from its place.

Once you have removed the drip pan, empty it and clean it with a soap or vinegar solution. Rinse the pan thoroughly to ensure that all the cleaning solution is removed from the surface. Before you put the drip pan back in, store any food prone to spoiling quickly in another refrigerator or an appropriate food container.

During your maintenance routine, it’s also a good idea to check the door gaskets for any splits or cracks. A broken gasket could allow cold air to escape your refrigerator, resulting in increased energy consumption and higher utility bills. Likewise, it’s essential to regularly clean the gaskets to remove grease, dirt, and other debris that can wear them down over time.

Clean The Interior

As part of a refrigeration maintenance plan, it’s essential to clean the interior and exterior of your fridge regularly. This involves removing everything from inside and vacuuming any food debris, then washing the shelves with warm soapy water and a non-abrasive detergent or cleaning solution. You should also wipe down the fridge walls and tubing, and wipe off any spills or smudges on the door gasket. This is especially important if you have a stainless steel refrigerator because a buildup of dirt or smudges can make the unit look dingy or even develop stains that will need to be removed with a commercial stainless steel cleaner.

It’s a good idea to check that the vents and air intake are free of blockages as well. This will ensure that your fridge is getting enough air to operate efficiently. A lack of proper airflow will cause your fridge to work harder to keep cool, thereby increasing energy costs.

Besides reducing the amount of time your refrigeration equipment will have to run, it will also reduce the chance of malfunctions or damage caused by blocked airflow. This will save your business money in both electricity and repair costs.

Another aspect of this maintenance task is inspecting the door gaskets for tears or cracks that could allow cool air to escape and hot or stale air to get in. This could lead to spoilage and bacteria growth that can affect the quality of your food.

Finally, it’s a good idea to check the operation of thermometers and other components to make sure they’re working properly. Unsealed or broken thermometers can be a major health inspection violation, and malfunctioning compressors and icemakers are serious refrigeration failures that should be addressed as part of your preventative maintenance program.

While these tasks may seem basic, they’re vital to the success of your food service business. If they’re not done regularly, you could end up with a failed health inspection, spoiled food, and unhappy diners. That’s why it pays to have a preventative maintenance plan in place to protect your valuable investment.

Dalton Williams