Williams Refrigeration is highlighting the importance of regular maintenance of refrigeration equipment in the wake of the recent record breaking heatwave.
Kitchens are warm places to work at the best of times, and refrigeration has to work harder as temperatures rise. While high quality equipment can work in ambient temperatures up to 43°C, this performance can be affected if it isn’t kept in good condition. Badly maintained refrigeration has to work harder, which can increase the chances of it breaking down, reducing its overall working life and potentially storing products at the wrong temperature.
Ensuring staff are trained on the correct way to use equipment and establishing a regular schedule of maintenance and cleaning helps to keep fridges and freezers operating at maximum potential. For example, it’s important to make sure units aren’t being overloaded, as if they are too full that can affect the internal airflow and compromise food safety. It’s also important to ensure that ventilation isn’t blocked, so make sure all grills are clean and free of dust.
Cleaning – interior and exterior
Regularly cleaning the interior and exterior of the fridge will help to ensure it is operating correctly. Similarly, attention should be paid to cleaning the gaskets on the doors to ensure the integrity of the seal. If it’s damaged in any way, cold air can escape. This reduces the effectiveness at holding the correct temperature while also increasing energy costs. Manufacturers like Williams endeavour to make their equipment easier to clean, for example with features like removable shelves and curved corners to prevent food debris from accumulating.
Most units rely on a drain hole and drip pan to remove condensation. These should be inspected regularly for blockages.
Cleaning – condenser
Dust that accumulates on the condenser coil can cause equipment to work harder, and therefore struggle to maintain temperature. To prevent this the coils should be cleaned at least four times a year. To do this the unit should be disconnected from the electricity first. Then the fins should be cleaned with a soft brush, vertically, taking care to avoid pushing dust further in, before gently vacuuming them. If the coils have grease deposits on them you should call your service provider to carry out a full service.
Maintaining a healthy relationship
While many vital maintenance tasks can be undertaken by staff it’s important that these are combined with regular preventative maintenance and service visits from trained professionals.
Williams offers a nationwide support service with fully qualified refrigeration engineers who aim to complete repairs on the first visit. Crucial to fixing a problem, when it occurs, is the supply of spare parts, service and after sales support. These are all critical factors in getting the problem fixed as soon as possible. Any catering buying decisions should include this. They are amongst many reasons why ‘Buy British’ makes good business sense.
You should also look for equipment that is easier to maintain. For example, Williams offers a range of products featuring front accessible refrigeration systems. These provide easy access for engineers as well as helping to create an uninhibited airflow for the refrigeration system allowing them to be installed in smaller areas. Other features like self-closing doors can help to increase efficiency in busier kitchens.
Another consideration is to site your fridge or freezer’s refrigeration system remotely, typically outside. This allows enormous flexibility in creating the ideal refrigeration set up, and keeps any heat generated away from the kitchen.