I hope you are all enjoying the benefits of the better weather; I know that we have had a good few weeks. However, this good weather has a downside – we find that it results in freezer and chiller problems at some point. You name it, we have had it all: gas leaks, compressor failure, broken fans, faulty/blocked pumps, iced-up units, faulty solenoid valves, control boards… it’s a long list!

So what can you do to reduce the down time? This is where a good maintenance plan is a great start. Clean out your pumps every six months, it’s not that hard to do although admittedly it’s a messy job (I would suggest starting with the pump linked to your milk chiller first). Check your fans are running, clean the condenser units, removing all the dust, and defrost freezer units.

So how can ‘tech’ help me, I hear you asking. We use RDM units to monitor temperatures in all our chillers and freezers. In basic terms an electronic probe is fitted to all of our chillers and freezers which is linked to one simple control panel. This tracks temperatures and logs the result every few seconds. This data is stored and can be viewed over a few hours, days or weeks. Therefore, no more temperature check books for your staff. I can then view this data on my phone from anywhere. I even have it linked to my alarm system so if I have a fault the alarm company will call me direct. With this data I can review a unit’s performance over a few weeks or days to see the early signs of a problem.

The RDM is a very useful tool for us. We use it to control display lights, turning them off at night and on in the morning. We also have it set so that our drinks chillers turn off at night and back on in the morning, saving power and night-time noise. Different units are set to run at different temperatures so our fresh meat case is set at a much lower temperature than our produce case. We even have a gas leak probe fitted to our pack which tells us if we have a gas leak.

Never be afraid to ask your engineer a few questions next time they are on site. It could save you money and stop a problem before it gets out of control. You’ll still get break downs, but minimising the impact on sales is the key.