The importance of commercial refrigeration maintenance

Commercial standard refrigeration units are expensive, so it makes sense to keep them working efficiently for as long as possible. However, the cost of a new machine is not the only cost of poor maintenance.

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What a breakdown really costs

A poorly maintained refrigeration unit is much more likely to break down than one that is looked after carefully. The coils attract dust, and dirty coils force the motor to work harder, leading to burnt-out wiring and failure of the fan motor, compressor or thermostat. These are likely to be expensive to repair, especially when you consider the cost of getting an engineer on emergency call-out rates if your unit has stopped working. If your breakdown occurs in the evening or on a weekend, it will be even more expensive.

There may be further costs in terms of spoiled food. If you need to restock in a hurry, that will also cost more than usual, but if you don’t do it, you may lose sales. Even before it breaks down, a poorly maintained fridge, freezer or chiller will be using more electricity than it should, costing you more in energy bills.

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How to maintain your commercial refrigeration unit

The simplest way to make sure your unit keeps working is to set up a maintenance schedule with a qualified engineer. The cost of this is much lower and much easier to prepare for than the cost of a breakdown. If you are buying a new unit, it is probably worth going to a supplier who offers maintenance contracts, such as Depending on the size of your business, they will probably recommend between one and four services a year.

Incorporating basic checks and simple cleaning into your normal routines will also help a lot. You probably already check the fridge thermostat daily to make sure it’s at the right temperature. You should also make sure to clean the door seals daily to keep them free from damage. Check that the vents on the machine are dust-free and not obstructed in any way. The Caterer has some useful tips on basic maintenance for refrigeration units and other kitchen equipment.

In most units, you should also be able to access the coils with a brush to remove much of the dust and debris, but an engineer will be needed to clean them properly.

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