Kitchen refrigeration is one of the key items of equipment of the foodservice industry. Without correctly working refrigeration, it would be nearly impossible for any business to keep its food safe and preserve the quality of its food. When it is time to replace a refrigerated appliance however, there are certain steps that should be taken.
1. Factor in the Size
The first consideration that needs to be made when replacing a fridge is assessing the size and capacity of the model. There is a huge variety of options when it comes to choosing the right equipment, and knowing which one matches a specific business is important. Cabinet refrigeration can range from small under-counter 60cm by 60cm models of 100 litre capacity to massive 150cm by 80cm uprights that can provide up to 1500 litres of refrigeration. However, the external dimensions of these fridges have declined slightly as efficiency grows, and new models may be able to provide additional storage capabilities through economy of scale.
2. Choose the correct temperature
But all refrigeration keeps food cold I hear you say – well yes, it does, but horses for courses! Do you have house rules for food temperature? If not check out the Food Standards Agency guidelines here. You should all be aware that it is recommended practice to operate refrigerators and chillers at +5°C or below. Meat temperature refrigeration controls the temperature of the contents at between -1°C and +1°C. Freezing of food at temperatures of -18°C or below will prevent bacteria multiplying.
3. Importance of Maintenance
In some situations, replacement of a refrigerator is necessary because it was never maintained. New models can last longer than ever, but proper maintenance can save energy too. Fans get clogged up with dust and evaporators become blocked. When combined with the increased efficiency and capability of new models, a replacement can provide an important cost benefit for the average foodservice business.
In maintenance work, a fridge or freezer should be cleaned thoroughly once a month, while fan blades and condensing units should be given special attention. Door hinges, as well, are an often-overlooked aspect of the product in question. If they don’t have a secure seal, the unit itself can become overworked, which will harm its long-term lifespan. In addition, having the equipment regularly checked may be able to find important issues like blockages. When buying new refrigeration – ask about the seals and how long they are expected to last.
4. Proper Ventilation and Treatment
Certain rules should be applied to the treatment of a refrigerator to ensure it remains effective. For instance, proper ventilation is vital to ensure the system does not overheat, which can vastly harm its performance. In addition, electrical requirements should be considered, and defrosting frequencies should be set as low as possible. Keeping unit lights off often can also have benefits, as they can reduce heat. Also is it time to replace that high wattage lamp in the cold room with a low energy (and low heat emitting) lamp?
Replacing a refrigerator doesn’t have to be frustrating. Operators should pay attention to a number of key considerations from size to the type of maintenance required. By keeping these concerns in mind, foodservice personnel will find that new models can actually offer great improvements in their operations.
Ask the experts for their advice at www.busychef.co.uk, telephone them on 0500 008075 and ask which manufacturer they would recommend for your application.