Refrigeration Maintenance, Walk-In Coolers and Freezers

Most refrigerators and walk-ins seem virtually indestructible and problem free, but you’ll get longer life out of yours by following these safety and maintenance tips. Clean the door gaskets and hinges regularly. The door gaskets, made of rubber, can rot more easily if they are caked with food or grime, which weakens their sealing properties. They can be safely cleaned with a solution of baking soda and warm water. Hinges can be rubbed with a bit of petroleum jelly to keep them working well. Dirty coils force the refrigerator to run hotter, which shortens the life of the compressor motor. They should be cleaned every 90 days, preferably with an industrial-strength vacuum cleaner.

Walk-in floors can be damp-mopped but should never be hosed out refrigerator repair pasadena. Too much water can get into the seals between the floor panels and damage the insulation. A refrigerator only works as well as the air that’s allowed to circulate around its contents. Cramming food containers together so there’s not a spare inch of space around them doesn’t help. Also try to keep containers (especially cardboard ones) from touching the walls of the cabinet. They may freeze and stick to the walls, damaging both product and wall. Use a good rotation system: First in, first out (FIFO) is preferable. Or put colored dots on food packages, a different color for each day of the week, so everyone in your kitchen knows how long each item has been in the fridge.

WALK-IN COOLERS AND FREEZERS

A walk-in cooler is just what its name implies: a cooler big enough to walk into. It can be as small as a closet or as large as a good-size room, but its primary purpose is to provide refrigerated storage for large quantities of food in a central area. Experts suggest that your operation needs a walk-in when its refrigeration needs exceed 80 cubic feet, or if you serve more than 250 meals per day. Once again, you’ll need to determine how much you need to store, what sizes of containers the storage space must accommodate, and the maximum quantity of goods you’ll want to have on hand. The only way to use walk-in space wisely is to equip it with shelves, organized in sections. Exactly how much square footage do you need? The easiest formula is to calculate 1 to 1.5 cubic feet of walk-in storage for every meal you serve per day. Another basic calculation: Take the total number of linear feet of shelving you’ve decided you will need (A), and divide it by the number of shelves (B) you can put in each section.

This will give you the number of linear feet per section (C). To this number (C), add 40 to 50 percent (1.40 or 1.50) to cover “overflow”-volume increases, wasted space, and bulky items or loose product. This will give you an estimate of the total linear footage (D) needed. However, linear footage is not enough. Because shelves are three dimensional, you must calculate square footage. So multiply (D) by the depth of each shelf (E) to obtain the total square footage amount (F). Finally, double the (F) figure, to compensate for aisle space. Roughly half of walk-in cooler space is aisle space. Another popular formula is to calculate that, for every 28 to 30 pounds of food you’ll store, you will need 1 cubic foot of space. When you get that figure, multiply it by 2.5. (The factor 2.5 means only 40 percent of your walk-in will be used as storage space; the other 60 percent is aisles and space between products.)

The result is the size of the refrigerated storage area you will need. For a walk-in freezer, simply divide your walk-in refrigerator space by two. Larger kitchens, which serve more than 400 meals a day, may need as many as three walk-in refrigerators for different temperature needs: one for produce (41 degrees Fahrenheit), one for meats and fish (33 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit), and one for dairy products (32 to 41 degrees Fahrenheit). The walk-in is used most often to store bulk foods. Because this often means wheeling carts or dollies in and out, the floor should be level with the kitchen floor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *