Make a Clean Cut to Expenses

High energy bills and frequent service calls can often be reduced with some simple, regular maintenance, such as cleaning your refrigeration system's condenser coil. When air flow is restricted through the evaporator or condenser, more electricity is needed to operate the unit. And if condenser coils get too dirty, compressor discharge pressures can get high enough to break the compressor, requiring a service call.

Here are some easy ways to help you make a clean sweep of unnecessary expenses. Be sure the machine is unplugged before you start to clean the unit.

Several parts of a refrigeration system should be cleaned regularly:

  • The condenser coil should be cleaned at least once a month to remove dust, dirt and lint. Your owner's manual will indicate the location of the condenser coil on your system. Using a commercial condenser coil cleaner, which can be purchased from most kitchen equipment stores, brush the fins from top to bottom rather than side to side. If any fins are bent, use a comb to straighten them.
  • Remove shelves and door gaskets for regular cleaning.
  • Fan blades and motors should be cleaned once a month by running a soft cloth over them. If the blades must be washed, first cover the motor with a dry cloth to protect it from moisture damage.
  • The condenser should be cleaned every three or four months. Be sure the unit is unplugged before vacuuming dirt and dust. The drain pan should be checked frequently and emptied when necessary. Check filters and replace if needed.

Avoid using steel wool, caustic chemicals or bleach to clean the interior of the refrigerated unit. These products can not only damage the finish, but also can leave behind strong odors that affect the flavor of the food stored in the unit. Instead, use warm water and mild soap.

Correct positioning of the unit and the food inside

  • For optimal circulation and to keep all foods at a consistent temperature, start loading food on the bottom shelving. All foods should be at least two inches away from the back of the unit to ensure proper circulation.
  • Avoid loading products that are too moist or too warm. Always use the shelving and never overstock foods above the permitted line.
  • Keep the unit away from sunlight and other units that generate heat.
  • Be sure that the unit is installed in a well ventilated area with at least seven inches of clearance on all sides. Make sure castors with brakes are installed in the front.
  • Don't set the temperature lower than necessary. Try to avoid opening the door too frequently.

If the refrigeration unit produces excessive noise and vibration, check for and repair any bent fans, loose belts or worn bearings.