Cleaning Coils

Refrigeration units in a commercial setting require routine maintenance. Most of this maintenance can be performed in-house by crew, facility team members, or you may opt to outsource the maintenance. How you decide to maintain your equipment often starts with how much you understand about the equipment itself. Let’s take a look at one aspect of cooler maintenance that is often overlooked by restaurant operators. This aspect is the cleaning of the compressor coils.

This is a compressor and “coils” that you will typically find in a commercial holding cooler.

The compressor works hard to supply your unit with refrigeration. It moves the refrigeration throughout the cooler to ensure the internal temperature stays where you set the thermostat. The compressor runs often, especially in busier settings. This means that the compressor can become very hot. In most cases there is a fan motor which pulls air through the “coils” of refrigeration to cool the unit and allow the compressor to function properly. Since the fan is pulling air in it also tends to pull dust and debris in along with it. The issue with this is that the dust and debris will obstruct the air flow and allow the unit to overheat putting stress onto the compressor and eventually breaking it, or minimally costing you an expensive service call.

This is the inside of a holding cooler where the coils have become covered in dust causing a blockage, and preventing air from properly cooling the compressor.

You can prevent many emergency calls, downtime, and potentially unsafe food, by brushing these coils regularly. We recommend once a week cleanings especially in the summer months due to higher amounts of cottonwood and dust in the air. Many restaurants find success in making this part of the nightly “cleaning and maintenance” procedures for all cooling equipment. The easiest way to ensure this is happening is ensure that a coil brush is always near cooling equipment.

A coil brush like this can be purchased from nearly any hardware store or online stores such as Amazon.
A magnetic hook placed on or near the compressor will easily hold the brush.

Here is a brush hanging from the back of the cooler just above the condenser coils.

Cleaning the coils is as simple as brushing the dust away regularly.

If you make this a procedure in your own restaurant you will undoubtedly increase the life of your equipment, avoid many high cost emergency repairs, and ensure the safety of your food. One thing to remember though, is that while this process does an excellent job removing visible dust and some that may have entered deeper into the coils. It does not remove nested dust that has been pulled in due to an extended amount of time that the coils were neglected. It is always a good idea to still have a professional come through and perform a much more detailed Preventative Maintenance Plan for you. How frequent and how detailed depends on how well you are self-performing the tasks. If you are self-performing much of the work, you will find that your preventative plans will also be less expensive. When you are ready to discuss refrigeration preventative maintenance reach out to the professionals at Paranoid Android Restaurant Maintenance.