Refridgerant Articles

The Importance of Commercial Refrigeration Maintenance

With all the responsibilities involved in running a business, commercial refrigeration maintenance isn’t high on the list of priorities. When there’s a problem, repairs, lost product and disruption to operations can put a serious dent in your bottom line.

Fortunately, commercial refrigeration maintenance is usually quick and comparably inexpensive, and can help prevent breakdowns and repairs that could strike at the worst time. Learn more about preventative commercial refrigeration maintenance and how it can save you time and money in today’s blog.

The High Cost of Neglected Maintenance

Walk-in freezers, coolers, product cases, floral displays and other types of commercial refrigeration are a significant part of your business operation. Even small issues are enough to bring this equipment down, costing you a fortune in lost product, not to mention the damage to your reputation with unsatisfied customers.

If you’re thinking that your equipment is new and unlikely to have a problem, remember the stress that this equipment undergoes on a daily basis. Refrigeration equipment never stops running, so it needs to be properly maintained to ensure it’s up to the task.

If you’re worried about the added expense of maintenance, consider what a breakdown could cost you:

  • Lost product: How much of a loss would the product in one case be, let alone an entire freezer or refrigerator?
  • Lost business: If a case is down for repairs for a day or two, how much business will you lose by not being able to give your customers what they need?
  • Health inspection: What happens if a health inspector shows up and your equipment isn’t at the proper temperature? How long will it take your business to recover from a poor health inspection grade?
  • Energy costs: Poorly-maintained refrigeration equipment has to work harder to do its job properly, which also means it uses more electricity.
  • Repairs and replacements: Labor and parts for your equipment can be costly, not to mention that extensive repairs require more time than smaller repairs. If you have to replace your equipment, however, you’re looking at a significant expense, plus the possibility of paying more to get something installed quickly enough to minimize disruptions.

When you compare these potential expenses to the cost of maintenance, not to mention the relief of knowing your equipment is reliable, it’s much more affordable.

The Benefits of Regular Maintenance

Here are a few of the benefits of regular maintenance for your commercial refrigeration units:

  • Reliability: Equipment that’s inspected and serviced regularly not only runs more efficiently, but is also less likely to develop serious problems that need repairs. Technicians can identify small issues and repair them as well, long before they become major problems.
  • Food safety: Imagine the damage that could be done to your reputation if your food got someone sick or you failed a health inspection. With refrigeration maintenance, you know all your units are operating properly and keeping your food fresh and safe.
  • Cleanliness:     Bacteria, viruses, mold and other pathogens can be lurking in your equipment and finding their way into your stored food or ice, putting your customers at risk of foodborne illnesses. Part of maintenance is professional cleanings, which are beneficial to the food service industry.
  • Longevity: Your commercial refrigeration units are a big investment for your business, so you want them to last. Equipment that is cleaned and serviced regularly is more likely to stay in good condition for longer periods of time, saving you in repair and replacement costs in the future.

Refrigeration Maintenance You Can Do Yourself

While the thorough inspections and tune-ups should be left to the professionals, there are some tasks you can perform yourself to keep your equipment in peak condition and save on future repairs.

  • Clean: It doesn’t take any experience to clean. Ideally, the inside and outside of your equipment should be thoroughly cleaned with soap and hot water, though equipment used more frequently may require more cleanings. Keep in mind that strong chemicals and abrasive tools shouldn’t be used on commercial refrigeration equipment and water should never be used on electrical components.
  • Inspect: Some problems need a professional eye to spot, but you can still check your equipment for signs of excessive wear or damage. Look for signs of leakage, excess condensation, loud or unusual noise, broken seals on gaskets and broken hinges, all of which are easy to spot and should be repaired.
  • Organize: Refrigeration equipment needs proper airflow to work properly. Remove décor, debris or stored goods that disrupt the air flow around your refrigeration equipment to ensure it’s getting the ventilation it needs to run.

Professional Commercial Refrigeration Maintenance

Beyond the basic cleanings and inspections you can do yourself, commercial refrigeration equipment requires specialized care from professionals to perform optimally. These are a few of the tasks performed during routine maintenance:

  • Check refrigerant levels
  • Check lines for condensation
  • Clean evaporator and condenser coils
  • Clean fan blades
  • Inspect fan motor
  • Check for loose electrical components
  • Clean drain lines
  • Check temperature and defrost settings
  • Calibrate thermometers
  • Check filters on ice makers
  • Clean all ice-maker components
  • Check insulation
  • Check for holes, cracks and signs of wear in gaskets and seals and replace, if necessary
  • Check for air leaks
  • Lubricate door hinges

With so much on the line, it’s important to consult a professional technician trained in the proper maintenance and repair of commercial refrigeration equipment to ensure your units are getting the care they need.

Commercial Refrigeration Services at Legacy Air

At Legacy Air, we understand the vital role your commercial refrigeration units play in your business operations, which is why we’re committed to providing you with full-service maintenance plans to ensure your equipment is working as it should. From filter changes to your air conditioners to professional cleanings of your ice machines, and everything in between, we have all your refrigeration maintenance needs covered, so you can breathe easy.

Contact Legacy Air today to discuss our preventative maintenance plans for commercial refrigeration units and see how we can help you and your business!

Things to be aware of when considering R 22 replacement refrigerants

The best replacement for R-22 Freon is usually R-407c. It has a very low loss in capacity (0 – 5%) relative to R-22 and is less expensive than many other R-22 replacement refrigerants.

If a system has R22 in it already you cannot use a replacement refrigerant to simply add to the R22. For one, R 22 is its own refrigerant whereas the replacement refrigerants are made up of several different kinds of refrigerant designed to mimic operating pressures/temperatures of R 22. Equipment manufacturers will also tell you that unless the oil being used in your HVAC system is POE oil you cannot use a R22 replacement refrigerant in the system in most cases (M099 is the exception). Most of the older systems use mineral oil that is less viscous than POE oil, and the mineral oil does not work well with the new R22 replacement refrigerants. If the compressor has been replaced recently or the system is relatively new it may have POE oil in it in which case adding a R22 replacement refrigerant to a system that has little to no refrigerant in it is a viable solution that should be discussed with the homeowner.

  • If the system is still under warranty no manufacturer’s will warranty the system if you use a replacement R22 refrigerant, as their systems have often not undergone testing with the various replacement refrigerants
  • You should never under any circumstances add replacement refrigerant to a system that has any R22 refrigerant left in it.

If the system uses POE oil than you can talk with the customer about removing the existing R22 and using a cheaper R22 replacement refrigerant such as R407C.

Despite what you see on the posted on you tube/internet it is not advisable to try to add POE oil to a system without completely removing all mineral oil as the oil mixture will gum up metering devices.

If your compressor fails and you elect to change out the compressor as opposed to changing out the entire system, it may be wiser to change out the type of refrigerant to the replacement R22 refrigerants such as R407c. Doing so could save you a considerable amount should your system develop a leak in the years ahead. All new compressors use POE oil and are compatible with R407c and most other R22 replacement refrigerants.

Below you can find different R22 replacement refrigerants and the+/- of each. Legacy Air currently only offers R407c as our choice for an R 22 replacement refrigerant and we do carry it on our trucks. We do not normally carry M099, but will acquire some and install for the customer upon their request in conjunction with a leak repair. Cost is $50 per lb + 1.5 hours labor.

The Facts About Alternative Refrigerants

  • They void all manufacturer warranties
  • They are best suited for condensers and heat pumps out of warranty
  • They are non-ozone-depleting hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
  • When given an ASHRAE number (designated with an R-), they have been reviewed by the industry standards committees and a safety classification has been assigned
  • They should not be combined with R-22 refrigerant or other gases; never mix refrigerants