It’s the hardest-working machinery in any kitchen – and your commercial refrigeration equipment needs to be well looked after if it is to keep your food fresh and safe.
The problem is, because it needs to be active 24/7, it’s often expensive to run – and it can be even more costly to repair or replace.
We sat down with Shane Jay, our Senior Refrigeration Engineer, to explore 7 ways you can keep your fridges and freezers performing at their best for longer, all while keeping your bills down and minimising wastage.
- Find your ideal temperature
Shane’s top tip is to investigate whether your fridges and freezers are set to the highest possible temperatures – without violating food storage guidelines, of course. In many cases, turning units up by even a degree can result in significantly less energy usage. “We’ve witnessed businesses save thousands every year just by adjusting their thermostats,” he revealed. “Look at the requirements of your products to see if you can safely store them at a degree or two above your current setting.”
- Treat your fridges like they’re storage units
“Try to reduce the number of times your staff open and close your fridge doors during prep time or a typical service. Doing so will prevent outside heat from disrupting the ambient temperatures and causing the components to work harder.”
- Install cauldron curtain strips
They’re affordable, they’re easy to install, and adding PVC strips to the door of your walk-in chillers and fridges could help to prevent hotter air from entering the unit. “This is important, as it can take a while for the fridge to recover from the influx of warmer air and get back down to the right temperature,” Shane added.
- Minimise usage in quieter periods
“There’s no point running two fridges if you only have enough produce to fill one. Be smarter about how and where you store your food and beverages, and give unused equipment a breather when you’ve not got so much in.”
- Check your ventilation
“Always make sure your fridges are located in areas that are well ventilated, as this will prevent them from overheating. Many storerooms are located around the back of a building, where there’s no extraction or ventilation in the evenings or when the area is not in use – but having your equipment in these kinds of hot and stuffy environments this can prevent your refrigeration from working efficiently.”Shane added that this is particularly important in the summer months when temperatures of more than 30 degrees Celsius are now becoming the norm. “The last thing we want is these storerooms to reach in excess of 40 or 50 degrees, which is surprisingly easy to achieve during heatwaves similar to the one we experienced earlier this year.”
- Get your refrigeration equipment serviced regularly
Shane also suggests making sure these systems are calibrated and subject to the appropriate checks as part of a regular maintenance plan.“I can’t stress enough just how important it is to get your refrigeration equipment serviced on a regular basis. Doing so will ensure that you’re getting the maximum benefit, even from gear that’s 10 or 20 years old.“Our engineers can check all your fridge’s components for wear and tear. Amongst other things, we’ll clean the condensers, check the gas circulation, and highlight any potential problems before they happen, so we can prevent issues rather than having to remedy them later on.”
- Invest in newer equipment to make long-term savings
Did you know that approximately 20% of the energy consumption in the UK is down to refrigeration equipment?As Shane explains, old and outdated refrigeration equipment could be costing up to twice as much in electrical consumption compared to modern products.“Older equipment needs to work much harder to deliver optimal temperatures,” he said. “The inverter compressors in newer models are far more efficient at reducing the load needed to keep the ambient temperature more consistent.
“In the current climate, it’s important to look at what you’ve got and consider whether it might be worthwhile to look at long term replacements, even if it means an initial outlay. You could actually save cash in the longer term by investing in more energy efficient models now.”
Get expert advice from Shane and his team. Talk to TWO Services about our kitchen maintenance plans today. And remember, if you do need to replace any of your refrigeration equipment, we can provide the supply and installation of fridges, coolers, ice makers, chillers and more from a range of top manufacturers.