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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Maintaining and Cleaning Your Commercial Refrigerator

Having your commercial refrigerator inspected by a professional technician is the best way to discover potential issues and fix them before they get worse. However, there is plenty of cleaning and maintenance steps you can follow to ensure that your unit runs as it should for many years. Follow these steps to keep your commercial refrigerator operating smoothly and efficiently.

Cleaning Tips

Condenser Coil – The location of the condenser coil can vary from machine to machine, be sure to check your owner’s manual to make note of the location. The condenser coil should be cleaned once a month at minimum to keep it dust, dirt, and lint free. Use a commercial coil condenser cleaner to brush fins of the condenser from top to bottom. Straighten any fins that may have been bent using a comb, and be sure to NEVER brush side to side. Some higher end refrigerators have automatic cleaners installed that clean daily.

Motor & Fan Blades – Like the condenser coil, motor and blades on your commercial refrigerator should also be cleaned monthly. To do this, use a soft cloth to run over the motor and fan blades. If you must wash the blades, be sure to cover the motor with a dry cloth to keep moisture from entering the motor and causing damage.

Interior – One of the most important things to note about cleaning the interior of your commercial refrigerator is to never use steel wool, bleach, or caustic chemicals. Using these products can damage the finish of your refrigerator, as well as leave behind strong chemical odors that can have an effect on the flavor of your food. Instead, use a warm water and mild soap solvent to clean the interior.

Doors – You should remove the door gaskets from your commercial refrigerator once a week and soak them for half an hour in a mixture of water and soap. Once soaked, just dry and place them back on the unit and check to make sure they create a functioning seal.
While cleaning your commercial refrigerator will keep it looking great and play a part in keeping it running smoothly, you should also perform these important maintenance routines to ensure your refrigerator operates at the highest level.

Maintenance Tips

Replace Interior Lights – Having functioning interior lights allows your employees to be able to identify and get whatever it is then need quickly, which will reduce the amount of time the door needs to be kept open. Be sure to read your manual to see what type of bulb to use, as bulbs with lower wattage may not illuminate properly in colder temperatures.

Have Routine Maintenance Checks – A lot of commercial refrigeration manufacturers have some sort of maintenance program which you can sign up for and have a professional inspect your unit. Having a technician regularly inspect your refrigerator will allow them to find potential problems early so you can handle them before they become costly repairs in the future.

Check the Door Gasket Seal – Use a dollar bill to insert between the gasket and the frame of the door, then close the door. Try to pull the bill out, and if there is some resistance when you pull then the gasket is in working order. If the bill falls to the floor completely or slides out with ease when pulling, your gasket needs to be replaced.

Monitor the Holding Temperature – Food safety should be the top priority of your business, so assuring that your commercial refrigeration unit has a proper holding temperature is extremely important. If the temperature is within the danger zone (40 – 140 degrees) food can spoil. If the holding temperature is irregular, it could be due to a blockage of the vents or a malfunction of the refrigeration system and should be inspected immediately.  

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Commercial Oven Cleaning and Maintenance Tips

While they can vary in use, commercial ovens are an integral piece of equipment in the restaurant industry. Making sure your commercial oven is functioning efficiently can be a key factor in your success as a restaurateur. Of course equipment can fail and parts need to be replaced after wear and tear, which is why we stock replacement parts from various commercial oven manufacturers like Bakers Pride, U.S. Range, and many more here at Parts Depot. 

While you’re most likely going to find yourself replacing some aspect of your commercial oven at some point, there are plenty of maintenance and cleaning procedures you can perform to keep your oven operating optimally for a very long time:

Cleaning Tips:

Cleaning your restaurant oven is a pretty straightforward process, but making sure to clean it regularly can make all the difference when it comes to minimizing the risk of fires, smoke, or worst of all…bad tasting food.

·         Clean the interior daily – The cleaner the interior is, the better your oven will perform. We know it can be tough with late closing times, but aim to clean the interior of the oven at the end of each day with a mild detergent. Any crumbs should be removed from the bottom of the oven, as those will eventually burn. Make sure to remove the oven racks and clean them separately. Wipe up any spills immediately to ensure the food doesn't bake on to the oven, making it harder to clean later on.

·         Clean the exterior weekly – To avoid grease and other by-products of your oven use from building up, clean the outside of your oven once a week. Most commercial ovens exteriors are stainless steel, so for these you should use a mild soap with a soft cloth or soft brush to scrub. More abrasive materials can damage the finish of your oven and cause corrosion.

·         Monthly Deep Clean – View this like you would an oil change for your car, every so often you flush out the old dirty oil for a fresh new one to keep your engine running optimally. The same goes for your oven, once a month you should thoroughly scrub the interior of the oven and follow procedures listed in your owner’s manual for approved chemicals and steps to follow.

General Maintenance

Along with regular cleanings, follow these procedures for maintenance to keep your oven working at its full potential for you:

·         Regularly Check the Seal – Heat can and will escape if the door isn’t sealing as it should. Escaping heat means it will take longer to cook your food, and in turn causing your utility bill to go up. You can easily check the condition of your seal by sliding a dollar bill between the door and the jam, if the dollar bill slides out easily, then you have a seal issue and should replace the gasket.

·         Accuracy of Temperature – If the temperature of your oven is off, food will either take longer to cook, or over cook. You should inspect the calibration of your oven temperature every few months. Use an oven thermometer to make sure that the cabinet of the oven is as hot as the digital display or knob says it is. If temperatures are off, you either need to adjust the calibration of the controls, or the oven thermostat is malfunctioning and must be replaced.

·         Don’t Leave Heavy Objects on the Door – While most commercial oven doors open by swinging down, and are equipped with hinges strong enough to hold a lot of weight, and just because you can use it to hold items, doesn’t mean you should. The longer a heavy object is left on the door, the more strain will be put on the hinges. This will cause them to wear out quicker.

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