Supermarkets must keep their refrigeration equipment in top condition. Doing so helps prevent costly repairs, downtime, prevents food spoilage, reduces energy costs and helps keep customers happy. “To make this happen requires staying alert and regular inspections,” said Mike Perazzo with Kaivac, Hamilton, Ohio-based manufacturers of supermarket floor and cooler case cleaning systems. “If we catch things before they become issues, we can prevent several problems down the road.”
There are six key things Perazzo says retailers should keep an eye out for when it comes to refrigeration equipment.
- Worn Gaskets. The gaskets are the seals surrounding the doors of some refrigeration equipment. “Inspect for tears, blemishes, or weakening of the seals. Problems here can increase energy consumption.”
- Temperature Fluctuations. With some refrigeration equipment, the temperatures may go up or down unexpectedly. This invariably means the unit needs to be serviced. Check for equipment temperature fluctuation frequently.
- Customer Returns. This is when things get serious and when you know refrigeration equipment must be inspected. If the system is not chilling food properly, food can spoil, and the customer will not realize this until they take the product home. “Sure, you can give them a refund, but when this happens, the real damage, the reputation of the store, has already been done,” said Perazzo.
- Increased Energy Costs. According to one estimate, a 50,000-s.f. supermarket pays about $200,000 annually in energy costs. “So often these bills are just paid without question. Check them. If charges are unexpectedly going up, find out why this is happening,” said Perazzo.
- Soiled Refrigerator Shelves. Refrigerator shelves should be checked frequently. As they become soiled, energy costs can go up because the system works harder to maintain proper temperatures. “In-house cooler case cleaning systems are now available, so store staff can keep these units clean when needed.”
- Compressor Damage. The best way to detect if compressor problems are developing is to listen. “Compressors are typically very quiet. If a constant humming noise can be heard, a repair service should be called,” Perazzo said.