Nothing will stop your business cold like a refrigeration equipment meltdown. That’s why it is vital for you as a restaurant or foodservice owner or manager to be vigilant about refrigeration preventative maintenance. Having a REFRIGERATION PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST will help you complete routine commercial refrigerator maintenance tasks that will prevent untimely breakdowns and headaches.
Refrigeration Preventative Maintenance Checklist: Tasks you can tackle yourself
Let’s look at tasks on the refrigeration preventative maintenance checklist that you and your staff can and should perform on a daily or weekly basis.
CLEAN THE EQUIPMENT.
Though the fast pace of your kitchen lends itself to food and beverage spills and little time for prompt clean-up, it is imperative that you clean drips and splatters on a timely basis as part of your daily commercial refrigerator maintenance program. Be careful not to use steel wool and other abrasives and chemicals, such as bleach, that can damage your appliance’s finish. The longer you let a spill settle, the harder it will be for you to clean it without the use of a potentially harmful cleaning agent. Uncleaned spills can lead to unpleasant doors affecting the quality of your ingredients and meld growth that can jeopardize the safety of your food.
Another simple item on your refrigeration preventative maintenance checklist is to check your temperature and defrost frequency settings daily. If the temperature is set lower than necessary, your system will be working too hard, which can shorten its life. If the unit is too cold, ice could form, especially on liquids. On the other hand, if your temperature is not cool enough, your food could spoil.
DEFROST ON SCHEDULE.
Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for defrosting. Defrosting your unit too often is creating unnecessary work for your refrigerator.
CLEAN OUT UNITS TO PREVENT CROWDING.
No one likes to be packed in like sardines; even the sardines. When coming up with a refrigeration preventative maintenance checklist, make sure to include a reminder on overcrowding. The air will not be able to freely circulate in a refrigerator packed to the gills, which will make the unit work harder to maintain its set temperature.
CLEAR THE AREA TO MAXIMIZE AIRFLOW.
Besides the proper interior airflow, do not overlook exterior airflow issues. Unfortunately, kitchens are often cramped spaces. Although you may have little room to spare, it’s important that you don’t block the air intake and exhaust vents. If you do, your unit will have to work harder to cool the food stored inside. This not only chews up electricity, but it could also bring about a premature end to your system. That’s why this item on the routine refrigeration preventative maintenance checklist is vital.
INSPECT SEALS AND FIX LEAKS.
Another regularly performed task on your refrigeration preventative maintenance checklist should be air leak inspections. When the gaskets or seals on your doors are ripped or loose, air can escape, which is another reason why your unit might be overworked and your electric bill on the rise.
Minor gasket leaks can be repaired with silicone caulk. Also, make sure your unit’s door hinges and latches are tightly secured. If the doors are not properly aligned, cool air is likely escaping. This should be a monthly activity.
CHECK INTERIOR LIGHTS.
A lights-out refrigeration preventative maintenance checklist item is remembering to shut off the lights in your freezer or cooler. It may seem trivial, but lights generate heat, which again is another reason your refrigeration units might be working harder than necessary.
These are all the above tasks that you can take on yourself if you have some experience with the techniques if you’re careful to use the right cleaners, tools and cleaning methods. However, most busy restaurant managers choose to assign these tasks to a channon professional, who can do the job better with the proper equipment and supplies to do the work safely and efficiently.