The average service life of a blast chiller can vary, depending on use, environment and various other factors but most last between 5 and 10 years. Unlike refrigeration equipment, blast chillers are not designed for continuous operation and should be shut off when not in use.
Keeping the interior clean represents the most important aspect of maintaining a blast chiller. Clean the interior of a blast chiller weekly using lukewarm water and detergent, per the manufacturer’s recommendations. Wash the door gasket with water and wipe it with a dry cloth.
Cleaning the condenser coil is a uniform task that applies to all refrigeration equipment. Clean the blast chiller’s condenser every 30 days, using nonmetal brushes to remove all dust and dirt from the condenser blades.
There are other steps to take that contribute to a long and productive service life for blast chillers.
- Where drain lines are present, keep them clean of condensate water to prevent backups.
- In addition to keeping the inside clean, keep probes in working order. These can get damaged if closed in a door.
- Clean condensers by popping off the unit’s front panel on a weekly or monthly basis, depending on usage, environment and other factors.
- The biggest mistake operators make is putting big sheet pans in with smaller pans on top, which can impede the cooling process.
- Chefs and cooks tend to drop plastic on top of pans. The plastic, however, can make its way into the condensers, which impacts airflow.
- Making sure probes are in good working condition and the wires aren’t damaged or frayed.
Unfortunately, blast chillers rarely show signs a breakdown is near. Blast chillers do, however, show some signs they may be near the end of their service lives and will soon require a replacement.
- If the unit chills food inconsistently by either not cooling as quickly or thoroughly, operators should ensure the condenser is clean. If this is not the issue, and it is an older unit, replacement may be appropriate.
- When repairs and service calls start adding up, it may be more cost-effective to replace the blast chiller. This typically applies for a unit that has been in service a long time and/or is part of a high-volume operation.
- Other signs service is necessary include probes not working correctly or the condenser remaining on when the unit is turned off.
- If the blast chiller has excessive leaks in the evaporator or refrigeration system, this may warrant replacement, depending on the unit’s age.
- Because blast chiller evaporators can be pricey to replace, operators should consider retiring units between five and seven years old that leak.