Is Your Refrigeration ready for Summer?
This summer looks like it’s going to be a record breaker. At KFM we have been servicing our customer’s food service equipment and refrigeration for over thirty years. We have seen firsthand what havoc that the loss of a walk-in cooler or freezer can cause to food service operations. While paying for a preventive maintenance visit can seem like a boring and unnecessary expense at the time, not keeping your refrigeration systems clean and maintained will almost certainly bring about an exciting emergency when your equipment goes down.
With this in mind let’s go over the basics of what you need to know as a restaurant operator about maintaining a commercial refrigeration system and protecting the compressor.
Please note that many of these problems will show up as warmer than normal cooler or freezer temps before the systems fails completely, so keep a close watch on your systems temperatures checking them multiple times during the day and call for service as soon as you notice a problem.
There are 4 conditions that will cause your refrigeration systems compressor to die an early death.
1. A dirty condenser coil or a seized condenser fan motor.
A refrigeration system must be able to efficiently remove the heat it has removed from the conditioned space, if it cannot it continues to cycle the heat it has removed, this can cause high pressures and temperatures that can damage system components and break down the systems oil.
2. A refrigerant leak.
Compressors are cooled by cold refrigerant returning from the evaporator, if the system is allowed to run undercharged for an extended period of time the compressor will be subjected to high heat and other issues that can shorten its life. Refrigerant doesn’t wear out, if you are constantly paying to have refrigerant added to your system you have a leak and your compressor is in danger.
3. Power interruption or Brown Outs.
Low voltage or single phasing of your facilities power service is more likely during the summer months, this can can cause problems for a refrigeration system because of the momentary high current required when the compressor starts. Insufficient power will eventually damage motor winding's which will cause an electrical failure of the compressor. If you notice that your lights are dimming or part of your building has lost partial power you should contact your service provider immediately.
4. Employees holding the cooler or freezer doors open.
Propping the cooler door open for morning preparation or delivery’s may be more convenient but the higher temperatures and humidity and longer run times put an extra load on the refrigeration system. In extreme cases the system temperatures and pressures can reach the point that they produce leaks and or breakdown the system oil.
Here’s how to prevent each of these conditions.
Have your refrigeration system cleaned and serviced at least twice a year by a qualified refrigeration service technician and keep the cooler and freezer doors shut.
It’s as simple as that.