Maintaining HVACR Equipment Makes Good Sense

Well-maintained refrigeration equipment is essential to the financial well-being of commercial foodservice businesses. In the current economic climate, it makes good sense to keep refrigeration units, which are vital to the success of a restaurant or supermarket, in peak operating condition.

While it’s not possible to foresee all potential problems, there are a number of steps owners and operators can take to keep their refrigeration equipment functioning efficiently and save money on energy costs. Heatcraft Refrigeration Products recommends adopting a regular review and maintenance program for the following components:

Air-Cooled Condensers and Fluid Coolers

These elements should be visually inspected and cleaned every six months:

  • Fins, copper tubing, solder joints and cabinets should be checked for signs of corrosion, and condenser coil and blades should be cleaned using a brush, pressurized water or a coil cleaning foam.
  • Fan blades and sheet metal panels should be checked for unusual vibration. Also, fan set screws should be tightened and fan motors should be securely fastened to the motor rail.
  • Examine headers, return bends and coil fins for oil stains.
  • Electrical wiring and components should be inspected for wear, kinks, bare areas and discoloration. Check operation/calibration of all fan cycle controls and verify that all connections are secure.

Air-Cooled Condensing Units

Components should be checked at intervals based on need and rate of wear and tear:


  • Look for oil stains on piping, condenser coil, solder joints, building penetrations and pipe clamps.
  • Check the condition of the moisture indicator and replace liquid line drier if there is any indication of moisture.
  • Check the compressor sight glass, condenser, wiring and all flare connections; also check for unusual noises or vibrations.


  • Clean condenser coil and blades, making sure there’s no residue buildup.
  • Check condenser fan operation, making sure that each fan rotates freely and quietly, and tighten fan blade set screws as needed.
  • Examine fan blades for cracks and other signs of stress. Verify that all motors are mounted securely, and lubricate motors if needed.
  • Inspect electrical wiring and components. Check compressor and heater contactors as well as timers and pressure and safety controls.
  • Clean the electrical cabinet and verify that the crankcase heater is operating properly.
  • Review pressure readings and operation of demand cooling, liquid injection or unloaders.


  • Perform an annual oil analysis, looking for concentrations of acid, moisture or high metal concentrations.
  • Inspect the suction accumulator. Clean all corroded areas and peeling paint; apply an anti-corrosion primer and paint as needed.

Unit Coolers

Unless clogging or fouling of air passages has occurred, unit coolers should be checked every six months, based on the following steps:

  • Check for signs of corrosion on key components, and make sure fan blades or sheet metal panels aren’t vibrating. Look for oil stains on headers, return bends and fins. Also, make sure the drain pan is clear of debris.
  • Clean the evaporator coil and blades, flushing and rinsing the coil until no residue remains.
  • Check all fans and ensure airflow is unobstructed. Make sure fan blades rotate smoothly and are free of cracks.
  • Inspect electrical wiring and components for signs of wear, accumulations of ice and verify that all connections are secure.