The basic issue with any refrigeration is air movement. If the machine lacks good air movement across the condenser coils and through the grill plates, the compressor will work harder, thus shortening the equipment’s service life.

Because refrigeration units often operate in confined spaces, operators need to keep the evaporator condenser coils clear of dust and other debris. Depending on the business, operators should check this system either weekly or monthly. Also, regularly clean fan motors and filter media.

Operators typically overlook the door gaskets, particularly in a beverage or bar environment where staff constantly open and close doors. Because gaskets can get sticky, operators should clean them with soap and water weekly or at least monthly. Failure to remove the sticky substance will result in the gasket sticking to the door frame and eventually tearing. A torn gasket compromises the door seal, which leads to cold air leaking out of the unit. The compressor will have to work hard to help the refrigerator maintain proper temperatures. Bar environments are notorious for this, as the refrigeration units are located by taps, which cause spillage that can get messy. Enzymes used in creating craft beer can also wreak havoc on rubber gaskets. In addition, loose or bent hinges can be a problem, as doors will wobble, potentially allowing cold air to escape. These can be easily tightened or replaced like gaskets.

A refrigeration unit’s interior is more low maintenance, requiring just periodic wiping down with warm soapy water. Operators need to keep fan cages clean and free of debris so as not to compromise air movement throughout the refrigerator.

Undercounter refrigeration’s service life is between 10 and 15 years, with proper care and maintenance. Regularly check and log temperatures. Fluctuations in temperature signal a service call is necessary. If the compressor stops cooling and the unit is older, it makes more sense to replace it rather than repair the unit.