Refrigeration is an integral part of many businesses. Whether you manage a restaurant, grocery store, department store or convenience store, making sure the refrigeration equipment is working properly is very important. The risk of spoilage and revenue loss due to inoperative refrigeration is too great to have a reactive management approach.
Proactive management, that includes preventive maintenance, is essential when it comes to refrigeration. Maintenance plans can vary depending on the type of equipment and its applications but making sure equipment is properly maintained is key to avoiding spoilage, costly repairs, and equipment breakdowns. National and regional facilities managers who manage several locations in several states have the important task of making sure refrigeration is running as designed and preventive maintenance is at the heart of that responsibility.
Proactive management, that includes preventive maintenance, is essential when it comes to refrigeration.
Maintaining a comprehensive commercial refrigeration preventive maintenance checklist is key to ensuring equipment is maintained properly and uniformity with the quality of the actual maintenance inspection being completed at each location. Holding high maintenance standards will ensure the longevity of the equipment, minimize spoilage, downtime and emergency repairs. We have created a checklist that will help with this task.
Walk in Cooler & Freezer Preventive Maintenance
Maintenance should be performed at a minimum of twice a year. Quarterly inspections are suggested in the following conditions: high traffic locations, equipment over 5 years of age, high temperature and humidity environments and if the conditions surrounding the equipment are considered to be harsh.
Commercial Refrigeration Preventive Maintenance Checklist
- Visual Inspection
- Inspect the metal panels, motors and fan blades for unusual noises and excessive vibrations. Make sure to pinpoint the cause of the noise or vibration.
- Inspect the cabinet, copper tubing, fins and soldered joints for corrosion.
- Confirm lights shut off when door is closed.
- Confirm suction line is insulated.
- Inspect the drain pan to ensure that it is draining properly.
- Look for ice or water build up in the evaporator enclosure.
- Check doors and their components to make sure they are functioning properly. This includes: door closers, door latch and handles, hinges, door seals and door frame.
- Evaporator Assembly
- Clean evaporator coil to manufacturer specifications with solutions and cleaners that are both safe for the items stored in the cooler/freezer and the evaporator coil. Careful when cleaning the coil not to flatten the fins which would restrict air flow. Remove drain pan when cleaning the coil to avoiding clogging the drain line.
- Clean fan blades and make sure that they are not bent
- Clean drain pan and remove any sludge and debris while making sure that the drain line and trap have no restrictions and are draining properly.
- Evaporator Fans & Motors
- Inspect and replace any fans that are making noise, bent or cracked to ensure maximum air circulation.
- Oil fan motors if applicable.
- Condenser & Compressor Assembly
- Ensure that the condenser is not clogged with dirt and debris – clean if necessary.
- Monitor assembly for unusual vibration or noise and take corrective action if needed.
- Use a leak detector on suspect areas where you may see oil stains and around solder joints.
- Check compressor sight glass to see if oil level is adequate and check if you see moisture. If moisture is visible in the sight glass, make sure to check systems for leaks and add refrigerant after repairing leaks. If moister is too high , replace drier, oil and refrigerant to protect the system.
- Electrical Components & Wiring
- Check that all group connections are secure and check compressor and heater contactors.
- Make sure defrost timers are properly calibrated.
- Check safety controls and pressure relay controls.
- Verify thermometers are working properly and recalibrate if needed.
- Operating Cycle
- Verify discharge, suction and net oil pressure is correct.
- Check for pressure drops across all driers and filters and replace if needed.
- Check superheat at the compressor.
- National & Regional Refrigeration Management Challenges
National & Regional Refrigeration Management Challenges
Facilities Managers that manage refrigeration assets nationally or regionally have unique set of challenges as opposed to those managing a single location or a few local locations. National Refrigeration Management starts with a preventive maintenance checklist which will serve as the blueprint for preparing the national maintenance standard. However, a knowledgeable, certified and vetted contractor network is key to properly executing a preventive maintenance plan.
Creating a national contractor list and keeping it updated is an important part of the ongoing responsibility of facilities managers. Part of the asset management plan should include an inventory of refrigeration assets at each location which includes the make, model, serial number, condition, age and specific maintenance requirements.
Certified and vetted contractor network is key to properly executing a preventive maintenance plan.
Managing hundreds of locations creates a logistical challenge which is a combination of establishing several contractors as vendors in different states, managing invoicing, payments and establishing a process to verify maintenance was performed to the planned specifications. Many national facilities managers look to national refrigeration providers to help support the management of their refrigeration assets, others look to a facility management software that can help support this undertaking.