Cleaning and Maintaining Pass-Through Refrigeration

With pass-throughs, as with other equipment, planned maintenance lessens the incidences of equipment failure and helps ensure a longer service life. Keeping up with the requirements also ensures the pass through is operating at peak energy efficiency.

Here, Bob Gilpatrick, director of service at Hagar Restaurant Service, located in Tulsa, Okla., details the cleaning and maintenance requirements for pass throughs.

  • Scheduled service for pass-through refrigeration varies. Some operators schedule annual, quarterly or even monthly maintenance. It depends on use and environment. A B&I operation’s equipment will require less attention than a big restaurant chain that has higher volume and longer hours.
  • The service life for maintained equipment is between 12 and 15 years, depending on the model. Heavy duty lines may last longer.
  • It is critical to pay attention to gaskets because air leakage can occur if these aren’t kept up. Normal maintenance involves cleaning the door gaskets with mild soapy water.
  • Cleaning the evaporator, which is inside the unit, and condenser coils, which are outside, is recommended quarterly. If operators wait longer than biannually, then not only is there a risk of increased
    repair costs, but the system will lose efficiency and cost more to run. It’s akin to keeping up with a car’s oil changes.
  • The compressor is the most dependable part of a pass-through refrigeration system, but only if it’s maintained properly.
  • When the temperature gauge or LED readout shows the internal temperature warming up to 42 degrees F or more, this is a sign that service and/or maintenance is necessary. These units should hold temperature at 36 degrees to 38 degrees.
  • Failure to properly clean the evaporator coils will result in the system running hotter than it should and then the unit will pick up heat it can’t get rid of. This will eventually impact the refrigerant in its lines and change it into acids inside the system. This is what destroys most compressors or is the cause of electrical failure outside the system.
  • Because the energy draw is very high when the compressor comes on, these units are meant to be run on separate electrical circuits. If pass-through refrigerators share a power source with other equipment, the systems can draw voltage down enough that it puts strain on electrical components. This can jeopardize the equipment’s service life.
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