Equipment breakdowns are an unfortunate, but inevitable aspect of business. For restaurants, bars, and other businesses that rely on refrigeration equipment year round, it can cut into the bottom line when these vital pieces of equipment decide to stop running in the middle of service.
For anyone that knows their way around a commercial kitchen or behind the bar, imminent equipment failure has a few tell-tale signs. If your refrigeration unit isn’t cooling or freezing, if it’s making strange new noises, or it has some noticeable leakage, it’s probably time to call in a repair tech. But what about the times a breakdown sneaks up on you?
There are some less noticeable signs and symptoms that might presage disrepair. We’ve put together a list of the most common, yet easily missed signs that it’s time to service your refrigeration equipment.
What’s Your Sign?
For essentially all businesses that serve food or drinks, product freshness is a huge factor. If you notice your product’s life span is declining more rapidly, particularly over an extended period of time, that might be a sign of inefficient refrigeration. Keep an eye on the cost of your goods and how much you have to toss out. If you’re ordering more frequently, throwing out unused food more often, or finding that ingredients are going off unusually fast, it might be your refrigeration.
It’s worthwhile to check your temperature settings to make sure they’re not higher or lower than usual, and if it becomes a larger concern or cuts deeper into your monthly budget, consider calling a technician.
Is your energy bill higher than normal? If there’s an issue with your system, the unit may have to utilize more energy to keep its efficiency and effectiveness on track. When a system is overworking itself, that excess energy usage is likely to show up on your bill. Fortunately, with newer technology, most energy companies provide a breakdown of your monthly consumption. Some companies even have the ability to break down your HVAC and refrigeration consumption. A regular maintenance check, or even small repairs, could cost you a lot less in the long run than a steadily increasing energy bill.
Another notable sign of malfunction is ice collection and freezing up, which may mean the evaporator fan in a unit isn’t running properly. When you check the fan, be sure to check the evaporation coil as well. It may freeze individually, so you’ll want to be sure the coil is clean and that the drain lines are clear. The operator’s manual will usually provide tips for cleaning the evaporator coil, but ultimately your system might need the expertise of a technician if the problem persists.
A hot compressor may be a sign that your refrigerator is not cooling properly. If the compressor is hot, check that it is free from dirt, grime, grease, etc. Most compressors should be cleaned about every 90 days to keep build up from happening. The manual will also provide product specific information on your compressor.
Staying Up To Date
The best way to ensure that your refrigeration equipment stays up and running is to implement a preventative maintenance program. Just like routinely changing the oil in your car to keep it running properly, refrigeration systems should also undergo regular maintenance and checks. While you might see an increased cost compared to before if you weren’t doing regular maintenance, it’ll be significantly cheaper than emergency repairs or the cost of replacing a whole machine. Not to mention, an efficient machine will provide your business with a greater consistency in terms of product quality.
Don’t forget your operator’s manual either. People often overlook the information that comes with their system, but it’s a fantastic tool for ensuring that your system is operating at full capacity as long as you own it. Of course, as we mentioned before, breakdowns happen. And when they do, it’s usually better to call in a professional repair service to guarantee that the problem gets fixed the right way.
Looking for more information on refrigeration and refrigeration repair services in Austin? Our team of professional service techs can help assess the situation and get your equipment back up and running in no time. Give us a call