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Is Your Refrigeration Prepared for Christmas?

Christmas bottle cooler

 

Christmas, tis’ the season to be jolly…and for good food and drink. With the number of social engagements soaring, seemingly everyone is out to enjoy the festive spirit. Pubs and bars are crammed with merrymakers and restaurants bursting at the seams; the hospitality sector enjoying a welcome surge in custom.

While it’s undoubtedly hectic for both guests and staff, imagine the extra pressure that your commercial refrigeration is under. Units might not have to contend with the soaring temperatures of summer but it will still be under considerable strain to keep up with demand. It’s vital to make sure all equipment is up to scratch and ready to tackle the task ahead.

In the Kitchen

An increased demand for food sees kitchens experience even greater exertions than during a typical service. Kitchens will undoubtedly have ordered extra stock to deal with the influx of custom, all of which will require adequate storage. Any failure in refrigeration could see the entire festive menu floundering. The level of access required to fridges and freezers will generally increase, with doors opened and closed more frequently for retrieval of ingredients, putting added strain on refrigeration. When combined with the heat naturally produced by catering equipment, this could spell disaster if you’re appliances have not been properly serviced and maintained. It’s essential to ensure all kit is on top form and up to the job.

Behind the Bar

Everyone wants to celebrate with a perfectly chilled beverage so guarantee that your bar is prepared to spread festive cheer. Drinks fridges are essential in keeping the Christmas crowds lubricated and the drink flowing so it’s imperative to be certain that yours is functioning efficiently and can deal with demand.

By employing a few simple maintenance procedures before the season gets underway, you can guarantee that refrigeration is running at full capacity and totally prepared for Christmas service.

Essential Refrigeration Maintenance, Rules and Top Tips

Top Tip: Regular monitoring of equipment and comprehensive documentation of operational settings and readings etc. is vital. Any abnormalities in results could be the first warning sign that something isn’t right; an indication of an underlying issue that could potentially be a problem in the future.

 

Action

Reason

Make sure there’s ample air flow around the exterior of equipment.
  • Restricted airflow puts extra pressure on the refrigeration system.
  • When inadequate air supply is pulled in, components must work harder to achieve low temperatures.
  • Poor airflow can reduce efficiency and affect longevity of the appliance.
Remove any dust, debris or obstructions from vents.
  • The equipment needs to breath to aid performance and prevent overheating.
  • Keeping vents clear and unobstructed helps the internal mechanics to do their job effectively.
Don’t overstock the fridge.
  • Adequate internal airflow is vital for effective cooling of contents.
  • You may have extra stock that needs storing but it’s vital to not overcrowd the fridge or freezer.
  • Cramming refrigeration will impede the circulation of chilled air around the cavity leaving all contents insufficiently cooled.
  • Overcrowding will also result in extra pressure being placed on the motor, potentially reducing equipment longevity.
Clean and check all door seals/gaskets.
  • If a seal or gasket is damaged, dirty or ill-fitting, those cold temperatures that your units are creating can easily escape.
  • Efficiency is reduced and equipment has to work harder to maintain optimum storage conditions.
Check that thermostats are performing as expected and accurately reading temperatures.
  • Fluctuation in temperature will mean that products aren’t being stored in optimum conditions.
  • This can lead to compromised stock, additional stress on refrigeration systems and reduced efficiency.
Inspect hinges to check they’re in good working order.
  • Busy services will naturally lead to doors being opened and closed more frequently so it’s vital to make sure that hinges are up to the job.
  • If the equipment has sliding doors, check that runners are clean and unobstructed for smooth access.
Clean and inspect condenser coils.
  • Condenser coils attract dirt, dust and debris. Failure to clear build-up will restrict the performance of the coils and put added strain on the evaporator.
Check water drainage lines for blockages, kinks or wear and tear.
  • This simple action could prevent potential leaking or flooding during busy services.
Gently clean fan blades and motor (if accessible).
  • Dust and debris will naturally collect around the fan and motor which can potentially hamper performance.
  • A quick wipe with a soft cloth can ensure equipment is in good working order and ready to operate at full capacity.
Check defrost settings.
  • Defrosting more frequently than recommended can be bad for equipment.
  • Be sure to check user manuals and adhere to manufacturers guidelines.
Check lighting.
  • If lighting is working incorrectly not only could equipment be wasting energy but the display or visibility of contents will also be compromised.
  • Light generates heat and if lights are not performing as they should excess heat could be being produced – not compatible with optimum refrigeration performance.
Inspect for any aesthetic damage.
  • Cracked or chipped glass not only poses a safety risk but could also be a point of potential escape for cold air meaning equipment has to work harder to achieve and maintain low temperatures and efficiency is reduced.
  • Any scratches, dents or cracks to the interior or exterior frame could become a potential breeding ground for bacteria. While this won’t necessarily affect performance, it could cause massive problems with food safety and hygiene.
Get an engineer to check refrigerant levels.
  • Refrigerant is the life blood for refrigeration; without it, it won’t work. To avoid inconvenient breakdowns at critical times, disastrous spoiling of food and drink and the resulting unhappy customers, make sure that equipment is fully fuelled.
  • Topping up refrigerant levels should be carried out routinely anyway but if you’re not up to date on services, it’s time to schedule one urgently before the festive crowds gather.

 

Did You Know? If a breakdown occurs and the attending engineer finds that basic maintenance has been neglected, the call-out charge will not be covered by warranty.

Don’t just address cleaning and maintenance on the run up to one of the years busiest periods. Make it a regular concern throughout the year and optimise efficiency, improve longevity and guarantee you really get your money’s worth.

Make sure your refrigeration is up to the job and performing at optimum levels this festive season with a few basic maintenance steps and guarantee your business and guests have a truly Merry Christmas.

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