Refrigeration units are the lifeblood of any restaurant, cafeteria or commercial kitchen. If a refrigerator or freezer isn’t operating efficiently, an establishment is basically throwing away money in terms of spoiled products and missed sales. Allowing a large buildup of dust and debris can lower a unit’s efficiency, meaning it uses more power, drives up operating costs and shortens the unit’s lifespan. This can also lead to a compressor failure, which can result in a costly repair.
Cleaning the refrigeration condenser coil is one of the easiest refrigeration maintenance tasks to do. By doing this at least every three months or whenever there is significant buildups of dust and grease, it can help a unit run efficiently and at peak performance. Here are some easy instructions for how to clean a commercial refrigerator condenser coil.
What You’ll Need:
- Stiff brush
- A vacuum
- A screwdriver
- Degreaser (if necessary)
- Fin straightener (only if coils are bent)
Cleaning the Condenser Coils & Fan
- Step 1. Remove items from fridge/freezer – Before you get started, remove all the perishable items from the unit. Place them into another unit or cooler to keep them from spoiling.
- Step 2. Shut off power to unit – Unplug the machine or power it down from the circuit breaker.
- Step 3. Locate the condenser coil and fan – Some models have coils in the front on the bottom or at the top of the unit. Older units may have coils across the back of the unit. Check the owner’s manual for more information.
- Step 4. Remove the cover or grate – Most units have a grate covering the condenser coils. Remove it to access the coils. The grate may snap on and off easily, or it could be held in by screws.
- Step 5. Brush off dust or stuck-on debris – Using a stiff brush, gently clean the coils and fan. Carefully brush so you don’t damage the coils.
- Step 6. Vacuum the coils and surrounding area – Use a vacuum cleaner to remove any dust on or near the coils. As you did with your brush, make sure to vacuum carefully to avoid damaging the coils.
- Step 7. Clean off grease (if necessary) – Allowing grease to accumulate could damage the coils. Whenever there is a large buildup of stuck-on grease, use an OEM-recommended degreaser to remove it. Consult your owner’s manual for proper degreasing instructions and recommended cleaners.
- Step 8. Straighten any bent fins (if necessary) – If any of the condenser fan fins are bent, use a fin straightener to correct them.
- Step 9. Reattach the grate – Once everything is clean, reattach the grate back on to the unit.
- Step 10. Prepare the unit – Plug the refrigerator/freezer back in, and restock the unit with its items.