Whether you own a store, supermarket, large commercial kitchen, liquor store, flower shop or any number of other businesses that deal with perishable products you may have a walk-in cooler or walk-in freezer that, like any other piece of mechanical equipment, can be maintained by the end-user.
Some things that are done on a regular basis that can help are:
Clean up spills/keep open products covered
Many liquid products contain ingredients, that when combined with air, moisture or other elements can become acidic or corrosive and attack metal in the refrigeration coils, piping or even walls of the refrigerated space. Cleaning up when spills occur can minimize the risk.
Just like in spills, open products can become airborne and mix in the same way spills do and create corrosion.
A good example is a bar cooler. Lemons and Limes are often used to garnish beverages. Once cut and left open, mixed with spilt beer add some moisture and you have a great recipe for acid to attack the interior evaporator cooling coils.
Line the walls with a row of shelves to keep everything accessible. Date products and perform cleanings weekly to prevent anything out-dated from being disposed to, or before it grows legs and files a lawsuit for improper care. Also, don’t overcrowd the inside, allow the air to move freely, do not block any fans.
Fatigued door hinges can become safety hazards. If left unnoticed they can break, allowing the door to fall and injure you, an employee or co-worker. A broken cooler door hinge should be replaced. Also, wipe clean door gaskets on your cleaning schedule. Gaskets are a good place for bacteria to hide out and grow into a health hazard.
Do not use the top side for storage
The top of a walk-in cooler or freezer is a very tempting place to store things out of the way. If the compressor condensing unit is placed on top, there needs to be room for the unit to breathe and the air to move. Also, there have been cases where things too heavy were placed causing the roof or walls to collapse. Cold rooms are not engineered to take the weight of stored items on the roof.
As part of your regular weekly cleaning schedule, it is always good to peer through the fan as well as on the backside to see if there is any ice accumulation or dirt buildup. Ice can mean there is a defrost issue or perhaps dirt can cause inefficient heat transfer. I’ll really throw caution out… the meat cleaver is useful in chipping ice. However, be prepared to call your refrigeration contractor to repair the other damage.
Condensers require periodic cleaning. If you're familiar with shutting your system down safely and starting it back up again. It is a good idea every 3 months to gently vacuum the condenser. This is the part of the system that rejects the heat. It has very delicate fins so pay attention to not cause any damage.
If you are uncertain on how to perform any of the above-mentioned tasks or if you’ve noticed you turned the temperature setting down and your temperature is not getting colder, or your product is spoiling or not frozen, It may be time to let a qualified technician do a diagnosis.