Six Signs Supermarket Refrigeration Equipment Needs Attention
Supermarkets must keep their refrigeration equipment in tip-top-condition. Doing so helps prevent costly repairs, downtime, prevents food spoilage, reduces energy costs, and helps keep customers happy.
'To make this happen requires staying alert and regular inspections,' says Mike Perazzo with Kaivac, manufacturers of supermarket floor and cooler case cleaning systems. 'If we catch things before they become issues, we can prevent several problems down the road.'
Six key things Perazzo says we should keep an eye out for include the following:
1. Worn Gaskets. The gaskets are the seals surrounding the doors of some refrigeration equipment. 'Inspect for tears, blemishes, or weakening of the seals. Problems here can increase energy consumption.'
2. Temperature Fluctuations. With some refrigeration equipment, the temperatures may go up or down unexpectedly. This invariably means the unit needs to be serviced. Check for equipment temperature fluctuation frequently.
3. Customer Returns. This is when things get serious and when you know refrigeration equipment must be inspected. If the system is not chilling food properly, food can spoil, and the customer will not realize this until they take the product home. 'Sure, you can give them a refund, but when this happens, the real damage, the reputation of the store, has already been done.'
4. Increased Energy Costs. According to one estimate, a 50,000 square foot supermarket pays about $200,000 annually in energy costs. 'So often these bills are just paid without question. Check them. If charges are unexpectedly going up, find out why this is happening.'
5. Soiled Refrigerator Shelves. Refrigerator shelves should be checked frequently. As they become soiled, energy costs can go up because the system works harder to maintain proper temperatures. 'In-house cooler case cleaning systems are now available, so store staff can keep these units clean when needed.'
6. Compressor Damage. The best way to detect if compressor problems are developing is to listen. Compressors are typically very quiet. If a constant humming noise can be heard, a repair service should be called.'
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Robert Kravitz is a former building service contractor, having owned, operated, and then sold three contract cleaning companies in Northern California.
He is the author of two books about the industry and continues to be a frequent writer for the industry.
Robert is now president of AlturaSolutions Communications, which provides communications and marketing services for organizations in the professional cleaning and building industries.