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How to Choose a Refrigerator for Your Business

KW Nov 12th 2019

How to Choose a Refrigerator for Your Business

Business owners worldwide know there are many things to take into consideration before purchasing equipment for your restaurant or convenience store. Especially when it comes to commercial refrigerators, the cost of equipment vs wattage will have your electric bill skyrocket if not careful. Let us investigate some of the critical things one should understand before purchasing a commercial-style refrigerator. Now it’s important to know that there are several different makes, models, etc., to pick from when choosing the right commercial refrigerator. Besides the obvious fact that most commercial refrigerators could take up a massive amount of space, below are some important key factors that you don’t want to overlook.

Glass vs. Solid Door Difference

When choosing the style of a commercial reach-in refrigerator door, you want to keep in mind the insulation and cooling that the door will give. Glass doors are generally used more in grocery & convenient stores than restaurants. This is because it allows customers to see what products or items you have on display. Glass door however are open much more often than a solid door which may have some effect on that electric bill. In transition, solid doors are great for restaurants that want to keep their ingredients fresh longer. Solid commercial doors are usually stainless steel that is big and heavy. Solid doors are also more energy-efficient than glass door commercial refrigerators. One issue that most seem to have with the solid commercial refrigerator door, is it can be hard keeping up with inventory in it. So, an effective check system for your inventory would most likely be needed.

Upkeep Disadvantages & Benefits

Another thing to take into consideration is the need to keep your commercial-style refrigerator clean. I mean, let’s be real, no matter the make or model of the fridge; it’s not going to clean itself. Glass commercial refrigerators need to be cleaned regularly. Marks and smudges on the glass will give customers the impression that cleanliness is not a factor. With it being see-through, you can also see the bottom and top of the commercial refrigerator easily. In a non-perfect world, mistakes happen, it’s almost impossible to not have a spill or something take place. However, if that is the case, you want to make sure with a glass door, any slip-ups are cleaned up right away. In contrast, a solid commercial refrigerator door is steel, so no one can see inside if there were any spills or mistakes that occurred. Nonetheless, you do want to have a stainless-steel cleaner on hand to help clean any marks that may occur from normal daily use.

Energy Efficienct Commercial Refrigerators

It is a well-known thing that every refrigerators, freezers, and refrigerator-freezers are constantly working to keep cool. Some of these can be the most energy-intensive products in a restaurant, home or store. Did you know that commercial refrigerators in a supermarket can consume as much as 17,000 kilowatts- hours of power per year? Far less than a large commercial freezer that uses up to 38,000 kilowatt-hours of power a year. Meaning in some cases, commercial refrigerators could account for more than 40% of the business's total energy bill. Because of this, in 1992 the Energy Star program became in action to help improve efficiency in more than 60 products including refrigeration. Now! You can find commercial refrigerators that can earn an energy star badge.

Commercial refrigerators and freezers that have earned the badge are usually around 40% more energy-efficient than standard models because they are designed with ECM evaporators and condenser fan motors, which greatly reduce energy consumption and thus reducing utility bills.

Watch Out for Those Warranties

Another advantage that can easily turn into a headache for someone is the warranty on your commercial refrigerator. This can be a drawback for a small business. Most manufacturers will not honor their warranties unless their refrigerator is used in a commercial setting. It can be tricky for small start-up companies. So, let us say you buy a commercial refrigerator that you want to use in your home kitchen for work, it may be risky, so be prepared to fix or pay for it yourself. On a good note though, refrigerators for businesses are built to much tougher standers than normal refrigerators.

What Malfunctions Do You Need to Worry About?

Prevention maintenance goes a long way. Remember the (6 P’s) you learned in school “Proper-Preparation-Prevents-Piss-Poor-Performance”. This goes just the same for keeping a commercial refrigerator running well. So, believe me when I say “preventative maintenance is key to maintain the longevity of your commercial refrigerator. Even some of the top refrigerators in the industry must be repaired every now or again. You may face some issues such as power concerns, temperature, compressor, evaporator fan, and light issues just to name a few.

Now, when it comes to power issues fixing this is a timely issue for a business owner. One can’t afford any downtime especially with perishable goods that are your profit. Check all switches, plugs, and wiring before you call an HVAC specialist. The last case, it may be the power supply, in that case, you will defiantly need that HVAC persons.

Temperature is another major issue that you don’t want to have with your commercial refrigerators. Time is a factor mainly because you don’t want your inventory in the fridge to go bad. Make sure you handle the problem right away. Checking to see that the refrigeration is cold enough is important. Check to make sure your commercial refrigerator isn't placed directly against the wall. Air needs to circulate effectively. Refrigerators for businesses are made to open and close endless amounts of times, there may be a time where the gasket gets worn out. Doors should always be closed and sealed altogether for good cooling to occur. Make sure to check control gauges, vents, and thermostat as well.

The compressor is another important part that makes sure the commercial refrigerator is staying cool. There is often build-up that may keep the compressor from operating properly. Therefore, cleaning the evaporator and the compressor body thoroughly is vital. If your finding that your commercial refrigerator is freezing up and gathering ice, you need to make sure the evaporator fan is working to the evaporator is no clogged up. The coils should be clean and drain lines should be working effectively as well. The manual book to your commercial refrigerator will help you with this issue. Let me mention that, excessive heat in the kitchen will prevent the refrigerator/ freezer from working properly also. One should note that despite how much you are in love with the fridge your grandfather left you, a lot of times it is much more cost-effective to get a new unit than repairing the old one.

*Little reminder there is new regulation concerning the disposal of the old Freon and how it is affecting the upkeep cost of the old units. 2020 will be the last year to make, use or buy Freon before its phased out of use completely. The Environmental Protection Agency was created to decrease the use of chemicals that are harmful to the environment. In 1992 the agency found that Hydro-chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) the chemicals that help refrigerators and air conditioners to cool should be phased out. Studies found that HCFs have a contributing effect on ozone depletion and global warming. The good news is that new air conditioning systems made since no longer rely on Freon. Most newer AC units use a refrigerant called R410A or Puron.

Last, we have lighting issues. It’s a minor problem to have but still a problem. If your light stops working, you need to check the lights. Usually LED lights are used for replacement in commercial refrigerators. Check the manufactures approved lighting list before you purchase just any old light. Otherwise, you may run the risk of burning out the electrical socket, which then can turn into a whole other expense.

Well, there you have it! Hopefully, this article helps you consider what you need to factor when purchasing your next commercial refrigerator.