Commercial refrigeration in the Tampa Bay area is a significant profit source for the majority of wholesale and retail businesses. Think about it. Convenience stores, grocery stores, restaurants, seafood, and bait shops, as well as food suppliers, must have refrigeration and freezer units that function properly to keep products at the colder temperatures required for the health and safety of consumers.
But that’s not all! Hospitals, schools, golf courses, and more!
Furthermore, the Florida Department of Health, the food safety, and sanitation program were established to work “with food service establishments as defined to help ensure their products are not a source of foodborne illness. Generally, this includes foodservice operations located in institutional settings (such as schools, assisted living facilities, detention facilities, adult daycares, etc.), civic and fraternal organizations, bars and lounges that don’t prepare food, and theaters that limit their food service to items customarily served at theaters (such as beverages, popcorn, hot dogs and nachos). The codes and standards for food service establishments are found in Chapter 64E-11, Florida Administrative Code.
Considering the crucial nature of commercial refrigeration in so many settings, it is always perplexing to us when business owners and maintenance personnel do not pay attention to the day-to-day operation of refrigeration units in order to notice when there is a problem with the equipment.
Case in point: On a recent maintenance call, one of our masterful service technicians, Kody, visited one of our local business customers and asked if they were experiencing any issues with their commercial refrigeration system. The manager said, “No.”
Kody conducted a routine inspection and found the walk-in cooler covered in five inches of ice! He immediately turned the unit off to allow the ice to melt overnight and prevent a total system failure. He returned the following day to determine the cause of the freeze-up.
Kody discovered that a plastic bag had adhered to the evaporator coil which blocked the airflow.
- The refrigeration unit thawed completely in 24 hours.
- After a thorough assessment, I found the back of the evaporator coil was compromised with a plastic bag or package material, which was impeding airflow through the coil.
- With the evaporator coil choked, it froze, and ice accumulated.
- I removed the plastic from the evaporator coil and continued inspecting the unit.
- The refrigerant charge was within the design operating ranges.
- The unit’s drain line is draining as it is intended.
- The unit pumped down and turned on as it was supposed to.
- The system is ice-free, cooling and operating as designed.
- No other issues were found in the refrigeration system.
- The ice build-up happened in the unit happened over a couple of days, so please have staff check walk-in periodically and make sure debris is picked up as restocking occurs.
- Please keep the cooler clean and free of loose plastic, and please say something if you notice ice build-up, so we can protect your equipment. Running for days like that is not good for the system and can cause major compressor problems and premature system failure.
7 Cool Commercial Refrigeration Tips
Preventative commercial refrigeration maintenance in the Tampa Bay area is the wise, less expensive option to keep you, your business, your refrigerated products, and your customers safe year-round.
The following are 7 cool commercial refrigeration maintenance tips to keep your units functioning at their optimum:
- Cleanliness is king for commercial refrigeration units. The interior and exterior of refrigeration units should be cleaned weekly or bi-weekly using a vinegar and water solution, or a mild detergent that is recommended for stainless steel or the surface of your unit. Avoid abrasive scrubbers and use soft brushes and cloths to remove spills, splashes, and debris for ultimate cleanliness.
- Quarterly condenser coil cleanings are recommended. Dust and dirt that accumulates on the condenser coil will put undue stress on the refrigeration unit and keep it from maintaining the proper temp. To keep condenser coils clean, dust, dirt, and debris can be removed using a soft brush, followed by a vacuum of the air compressor. Business owners can find out more about cleaning and maintaining condenser coils in the equipment manual. Note: Coil cleanings should be done by a licensed HVAC-R technician to prevent damage to the coils.
- Examine the area around the evaporator coil. The evaporator coil is responsible for removing heat from the air to cool the interior of the refrigeration unit. It is located next to the evaporator fan to capture the warm air. Clean this area on a consistent basis, make sure it is free from debris, and avoid packing the refrigeration unit with too much product, or hot foods that cause the evaporator fan and condenser to work harder. If the evaporator coil “freezes,” the temperature in the cooler will be lower than optimum. Over-taxing the evaporator fan and coils can lead to accumulation of ice, equipment failure, loss of product, and costly repairs and/or replacements.
- Routinely inspect the gaskets. Gaskets exist around the door frames to seal in cold air. It is important to inspect the gaskets around the doors of your fridge for splits and cracks that may cause cool air to escape from the unit. When this happens, the refrigerator will have to work harder to cool the unit causing increased energy costs and an undue burden to the system. Replace cracked or damaged gaskets with the specified type for your make and model based on the unit’s serial number. The wrong gasket will not work and will be a waste of time and money. To keep gaskets in superior condition, regularly clean with a mild detergent to help prevent damage.
- Check and maintain clean air filters. Just like with air conditioning units, commercial refrigeration units have air filters that require cleaning or replacing. This is especially true for restaurants that use deep-fryers, grills, and griddles because grease can accumulate on the air filter causing ventilation to be blocked. A powerful shop vacuum can remove some grease, dirt, and debris, but always consult the equipment manual for the proper way to degrease the air filter in your unit. If you notice cracks or damage to the filter, replace it immediately.
- Regularly clean drain pans and tubes. Commercial refrigeration units in kitchens, especially, create a build-up of nasty slime and sludge that collects in the drain pans. If not cleaned monthly, the accumulated grunge will emit a foul odor and pose a danger of unit failure. Use a vinegar and water solution to thoroughly clean the drain pan before it overflows and emits foul odors. The same goes for drain hoses. By cleaning them regularly, drain hoses will function properly without clogging. Clogged hoses can back up into the defrost system and overflow onto the floor. Not only is this unsanitary, but it is also unsafe. It is best to clean the drain hoses inside and out to keep them working properly.
- Keep the refrigeration unit dry. Whether your commercial refrigeration is a stand-up system, chest-type, or a walk-in cooler, it is important to keep the interior dry. Excess moisture from spills that are not removed will circulate throughout the unit and possibly cause a freeze-up and equipment failure. Always clean wet spills as quickly as possible to prevent this from happening.
Proficient Air is your professional commercial refrigeration maintenance expert in the Tampa Bay area. Our commercial refrigeration service technicians have the training and experience to perform high-quality regular maintenance to keep your unit cooling properly under the hottest, most stressful conditions.
Moreover, Proficient Air offers affordable commercial refrigeration maintenance contracts to ensure refrigeration units are carefully inspected and properly maintained to prevent system failures. Should commercial refrigeration repairs in the Tampa Bay area become necessary, you can count on a prompt response from Proficient Air.
Take advantage of Proficient Air maintenance contracts for commercial refrigeration units that include:
- At least half off the third service
- Discounted labor rates
- 15% off parts
- Trip charges waived *within a 25-mile radius
- An option to add filter service
- Guaranteed Same Day Service
Our motto continues to ring true: “Efficient Care = Proficient Air.”
Proficient Air is a family-owned and operated mechanical contracting business invested in providing our customers with the very finest strategies in cooling and heating systems, as well as commercial HVAC-R, at a reasonable cost and quality you can rely on. At Proficient Air, the customer always comes first. We take pride in giving our customers the personal attention they deserve!
If you need a dependable experienced commercial refrigeration service expert, you’ve found the best at Proficient Air! Contact us today for your commercial refrigeration maintenance and repairs in the Tampa Bay area. 727.386.2732