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Self-contained, Commercial Refrigerators and Freezers

Operation and Maintenance Tips

If you already own and run one or more self-contained, commercial refrigerators or freezers, you can do these things to reduce the operating cost and improve its performance.

  1. Choose a location for the refrigerated appliance away from direct sun or warm location (away from ovens, fryers, stoves, grilles, etc.).

  2. Do not overload the cabinet. Keep a one-inch gap or more between the packages and the sides and the back. This allows air flow, keeping the contents at an even temperature throughout, and keeping the food fresh.

  3. Keep the condenser and fan clear and free of lint and debris and ensure that there is sufficient space around the cabinet to allow free air flow. A restricted flow of cooling air reduces the life of the compressor and requires more energy to operate.

  4. Adjust the interior temperature to the proper setting for storing food products and check periodically. Many commercial refrigerators are equipped with an externally mounted, digital thermometer which makes checking the internal temperature easy. Too low a temperature setting will overwork the compressor, wasting energy.

  5. Refill the cabinet with cold or frozen product. Allowing products to warm up before placing into a refrigerated cabinet makes the condenser work harder, so wastes energy.

  6. Keep the door closed when you can. Adjust the door, then check the door gaskets and automatic door closer to make sure the door seals properly. This stops warm air from entering the cabinet: the condenser works increasing energy consumption and possibly leading to food spoilage. With less cooling load and fewer defrosts, this saves energy.

  7. When you can, keep the cabinet interior lights off. If practical, replace display light fixtures with T8 fluorescent lamps having electronic ballasts. The refrigerator or freezer must remove heat from the lamps. So reducing the light wattage reduces the cost of running the appliance and the lighting cost.

  8. In the winter, the heat from a refrigerator or freezer can heat space. But in the Spring, Summer and Fall, air conditioners must remove the heat. This wastes electricity. Only about one third of a refrigerator's or freezer's heat space. So when choosing a refrigerator or freezer, keep this in mind.

  9. Refrigerators or freezers with open display cool the air around them. Replacing them with models with doors can greatly reduce the electricity needed. With these models, you can control room temperature better, the area will be more comfortable and the food will spoil less.

  10. If the refrigerator or freezer is old, consider replacing it with a new, energy efficient model. These units can cut the annual operating cost between 25 percent and 50 percent depending on the type and model. You can buy several ENERGY STAR® qualified models, cutting energy use even further.