Time To Check Your Refrigeration!

As we creep in to the warmer weather of summer (took long enough), it's time to have a look at our refrigerated units, and make sure they are up for the stress test that high temperatures bring. We get a lot of calls in the summer for refrigeration issues. Many of these service calls can be avoided by doing some simple maintenance and cleaning. Here are some quick tips to help keep things running smoothly.

1) Cleaning the Condenser: This is the single most common reason for early failure of a cooling system. We have to keep in mind, that the job of any refrigeration system is the same, removing heat. We often think of refrigeration as making things cold, and it does, but we do better to think of it as removing heat. The condenser is where this heat removal is most noticeable. It looks a lot like a radiator in a car (for good reason, it does the same job). Depending on the type and model of the unit, these can be located on top, in the back or at the bottom of a cooler or freezer. It may be necessary to remove the front lower cover on some models. These should be cleaned with a vacuum and a soft brush (like a clean pant brush). The fins on a condenser are very thin metal and you want to be careful not to damage or bend them. This could reduce air flow and defeat the purpose of cleaning it.

2) Ambient Temperature: This has little to do with the unit and more to do with your location. Most refrigerated units are designed to operate within an ambient temperature range of 10c - 30c. Once we get outside of this range, the ability of the refrigerated unit to do it's job will suffer. So if we have a hot summer day and you're not able to keep your location cool enough, with air conditioning or other methods, you may notice that your coolers and freezers are not working very well. This is not a problem with the unit. It is simply too hot for your equipment to efficiently remove heat. The only solution here is to cool the location better with A/C or to look at more costly options such as remote compressors or water cooled systems. 

3) There's water in my fridge!: Finding a big puddle of water in or around your fridge or cooler can be a bit alarming. The 1st thought is often that the cooler has broken or sprung a leak. This is not the case typically. You see, fridges and freezers don't use water as part of the cooling system, and they don't magically produce large quantities of water. The water comes from one place, the air. Yes, humidity in the air is the source of your troubles. Cooling systems are designed to accommodate some moisture, this is what defrost cycles are for. But when there is an excess of moisture, the defrost cycle can cause the catch pan, where the water collects, to overflow. This may occur inside or outside the unit. The best line of defence against this is to ensure your location is air conditioned, this will keep most of the humidity out of the air in your location. Also make sure that the door gaskets are in good condition, and that they don't allow warm humid air in. Putting uncovered food items in the fridge or freezer can also contribute to humidity, so please ensure all food products are covered properly.