Walk-In Mistakes to Avoid
Walk-in coolers and freezers are some of the most vital pieces of equipment in a commercial kitchen. If you want to ensure your walk-in continues to work properly, then we recommend not making these ten walk-in cooler maintenance, installation, and usage mistakes.
Ten commercial walk-in cooler and freezer mistakes to avoid:
1. Propping the door open.
Staff propping the walk-in door open for lengthy periods of time is a common, but costly mistake. If you keep the doors propped open, then you allow cold air to escape and hot air to enter the walk-in. This can cause temperature issues as well as the unit to overwork trying to keep temperature. So, keep the door shut to save on energy bills as well as avoidable repairs. Additionally, consider self-closing door hardware such as spring-assisted hinges, spring loaded closer arms, and hydraulic door snubbers.
2. Not repairing a damaged door.
For the same reason as leaving the walk-in door propped open, damaged hinges and automatic door closers can cost you a lot in energy and repairs. When inside the walk-in vault with the lights off, you should not see daylight leaks around the door perimeter. If you have a damaged walk-in refrigerator or freezer door, then get it fixed as soon as possible to prevent air leakage.
3. Not covering acidic foods.
Acidic items like citrus, tomatoes or pickles put out gases that can eat away key components over time. So, cover these food items when storing them inside your walk-in refrigeration.
4. Not leaving enough space for the evaporator coil to breathe.
Having good air flow is important for refrigeration. So, do not stack product in your walk-in higher than 12-inches below the evaporator. This space allows air to move freely and let hot air exit.
5. Putting hot items in your walk-in.
You should never use your walk-in to cool hot items. Any product introduced into the unit elevates the temperature of other products inside. This causes more stress on your unit. When it reaches the tipping point, it can result in spoiled product and equipment failure. The rapid temperature fluctuation can also trigger bacteria growth, resulting in foodborne illnesses. For the same reasons, load deliveries immediately into your walk-in.
6. Not keeping up with a walk-in cooler maintenance schedule.
Like all equipment in your commercial kitchen, it is important to keep your walk-in clean and well-maintained. If you want your unit to live out its entire expected service life, then invest in walk-in cooler maintenance.
7. Leaving lights on inside the walk-in unit after exiting.
Lights generate heat, which will cause your unit to run more to hold its optimal temperature. So, make sure your staff turns off the lights inside the walk-in when exiting.
8. Keeping dry ice in the walk-in
Never store dry ice in your walk-in. This is dangerous because dry ice releases carbon dioxide gas. When placed in a poorly ventilated area like a walk-in, that gas will build up and displace oxygen. As a result, it can become potentially fatal to anyone walking into that area. In confined spaces with dry ice, OSHA requires an artificial breathing apparatus.
9. Piling things on top of the walk-in.
The top of your walk-in is not extra storage space! Piling items on top of the walk-in can damage ceiling panels. If the condensing unit is on top of the vault, be sure to have structural reinforcement and accommodations for ventilation.
10. Not having an authorized service agent do the installation.
The installation of your walk-in can either set it up for success or failure. Therefore, who you choose to do the installation can make all the difference. Without vetting companies, you run the risk of a poor installation. Manufacturer authorized service agents can give you the peace of mind that they know what they are doing. Additionally, many manufacturers will void your equipment’s warranty due to installation errors.
Contact RSI for commercial walk-in cooler maintenance:
At RSI, we serve businesses in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and northeast Texas. When you need commercial walk-in cooler or freezer installation, repair, or maintenance, we got you covered!