Most refrigeration units found in restaurants are either for short term food storage or for longer term storage, and most refrigeration units will give many years of trouble-free service with only a need for minimal maintenance. Nevertheless, there are a few things to look out for that could mean that the refrigeration equipment in your restaurant needs maintenance or replacement.
Most refrigeration and freezing units work along the same lines, and there are 3 important parts that when they go wrong could leave you looking for new equipment.
The compressor is basically an electrically powered motor which is encased in a metal container, and can usually be found outside of the unit at the back. This is one of the most vital elements to any refrigeration unit, and you need to think of it as the heart of your appliance, and if it breaks down you may well have to consider whether it is more cost-effective to replace it or just buy a new refrigerator. Due to the fact that the unit is sealed, there is little to no chance of a faulty compressor being repaired.
The Condenser Coil
Located near to the compressor, the condenser coil is a 12 by 12 inch square and often black coloured unit, which will be placed in front of a fan. The fan has two roles here, and that is to remove heat from the condenser coil, but also to help keep the compressor cool too. This area needs to be kept free from any items that may affect the flow of air, and the condenser coil should be cleaned every 3 months or so.
The Evaporator Coil
Also known as the cold coil, this is to be found inside the compartment that is refrigerated, and in most cases you will not be able to see this coil without removing a cover or two. The purpose of this coil is to distribute the cold air inside the unit, and it is another vital part of the appliance, as well as being one that can require you to replace the whole unit when it malfunctions.
So, what is the answer to the question of how often should a restaurant replace their refrigeration equipment? Well, there is no definitive answer, and most commercial refrigeration units should give a number of years reliable service. However, depending on how heavy the usage is, and whether you undertake maintenance, 5 to 10 years would seem to be about the right lifespan.