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The Golden Rules of Commercial Fridge Maintenance

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It’s a debate that still rages within the UK’s Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning industry: which product performs best at keeping drains clear and free from water leaks? It’s particularly fierce between the manufacturers of those chemical products, all of whom recommend their own strip or tablet options, with impressive claims as to their effectiveness and longevity.

But that’s not really where the discussion should begin at all: here at TotalCare Hygiene Services Ltd, we know it’s important to understand the cause of a repeatedly blocked drain, before a solution can be recommended. And the root causes of blocked drains tend to be threefold:

  1. Poor Drainage Installation:

There are two common offenders here –

a. Design.In recent years, the designers of refrigeration display cabinets have tried to maximise the amount of goods the cabinet can hold. As a result of this trend, the space between the bottom of the cabinet and the drainage area is reducing. A smaller space reduces the flow levels in which drain pipe can run.

b. Installation.For water to flow freely, the drainage equipment should be installed with a minimum gradient to allow free flow of water. It’s an easy thing to miss, and done incorrectly it leads to big problems.

 

  1. Dirt and Contaminants: 

It’s astonishing what our engineers have found in the bottom of refrigeration cases over the years: foodstuffs, packaging, labels, pens, tools, bulbs, coins, hair and even mice. Each has the potential to block the drain. As customers and staff restack goods or take them away, items can fall into the condensate collection tray under the refrigeration cabinet, adding to the blockage risk.

 

  1. Exopolysaccharides:

Or, to use their more common name, biofilms. They’re robust, jelly-like substances secreted by colonies of bacteria, especially in damp, dark placeslike refrigeration cabinets. Not only do they look unsightly and unhygienic, they can very quickly plug the drainage system, causing water to short-circuit the fan motors and put the whole unit out of action.

 

What’s the solution?

After correcting any issues with installation and drainage, the most vital change to make is also the simplest: at minimum, booking a deep clean once a year. While we do have effective cleaning products we prefer and use, the frequency of cleaning matters even more.  The dirt layer acts like insulation, with Refrigeration equipment relying heavily on heat transfer, this layer will reduce its efficiency and then a cascade of problems will follow.

Some supermarket chains only allocate a deep clean once every two years, and the strain on the refrigeration unit tells – One such tell, are water puddles around the refrigeration equipment. Other chains will allow for more frequent visits, these may not resolve all problems, but in many cases water leak call-outs can be significantly reduced.

And those wonder products that promise to keep drains blockage-free for up to twelve months? They’re effective, but they should be the last step in the process rather than the first port of call. Just as doctors need to clean a wound before they can treat it, to reduce the possibility of further complications, so we need to find the cause of repeated blockages in supermarket refrigeration before we treat the area with preventative measures.

 

Good refrigerator hygiene helps your bottom line

When a unit breaks, it’s never just about the unit. Keeping your refrigerators in good health for longer means:

  1. A reduction in service calls
  2. A reduction in potential visitor and staff injuries
  3. A reduction in system downtime
  4. A reduction in component failure and replacement parts
  5. A reduction in possible health hazards from multiplying bacteria
  6. A reduction in store operation disruptions
  7. An increase in sales

All of which include a direct cost benefit to the business. What’s needed is more than the correct chemical choice: it’s the right service provider delivering its thoughtful cleaning solutions in the right way.

TotalCares top tips for maintaining refrigeration plant are:

  1. Pumps & Drains cleared from blockages, via Vacuum or Heavy Duty Drain Unblocker
  2. Chemical Selection:
    1. Disinfectant and Cleaner for the removal of dirt and eradication of biofilms.
    2. Biocidal tray treatment – Ongoing protection between maintenance visits
  3. Frequency – Frequent visits to monitor and regular cleaning cycles.

Call TotalCare Hygiene Services Ltd, and we’ll work to understand the problem and find the right solution. No ‘wonder products’ required.

 

 

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