Commercial Kitchen Equipment In New Orleans – Make It Last

How to Clean a Commercial Ice MachineYour commercial kitchen equipment is an investment that contributes to the success of your New Orleans restaurant. Keeping watch over the equipment with proper cleaning and maintenance gives you the ability to get more years out of your investment and also know when it’s time to replace equipment. Maintenance procedures can alert you to chronic issues with your commercial kitchen equipment. Knowledge is power when you can be proactive on your kitchen equipment before having a major breakdown during a peak dining hour.

Here are six ways that you can stay on top of your commercial kitchen equipment needs:

  1. Train employees to correctly use all equipment. If an employee misuses equipment that causes equipment failure, the mistake may not be covered by the warranty.
  2. Clean the commercial kitchen equipment every day to prevent a build-up of dirt and grease. This is a primary concern for public health inspectors.
  3. Pay attention to how your equipment is cleaned (click on picture above to see our YouTube video), using the proper chemical solution for each piece of equipment.
  4. Read the manual to note maintenance needs and put maintenance dates on your calendar. Some tasks, like deep cleaning, can be done by your staff. Other needs may require a technician.
  5. Understand which parts on the equipment are most prone to wear and tear. Replace parts before they break.
  6. Review the overall condition of the equipment when performing any maintenance function.

Stainless steel is more delicate to take care of than the name implies. When cleaning stainless steel commercial kitchen equipment, remember these things:

  1. Use only mild detergent or baking soda to clean, and move the rag in the same direction as the brushed finish to avoid scratches. (You can also use a cleaner specially made for stainless steel.)
  2. Clean surfaces after a spill or at least at the end of every day to prevent oil or food from damaging the finish.
  3. Wipe with a clean water cloth after using a cleaner to remove residue.
  4. Dry the surface so that water spots don’t damage the finish.

Talk with the experts at Ice & Refrigeration Systems about your commercial kitchen equipment needs. We can help you determine the best time to buy or lease new equipment, or help you find used commercial kitchen equipment. Delivery is always free from Ice & Refrigeration Systems. Call us – 817-888-3056.

Commercial Refrigeration Water Filtration

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Commercial refrigeration water filtration is not just a nice-to-have add on feature. If you don’t have water filtration, you greatly decrease the life of your commercial ice machine. In fact, some manufacturers are so strict about using water filtration, that they will not honor a warranty on a machine without a water filter.

Commercial Refrigeration Water Filtration Costs

A basic water filter costs $59. This is a different filter than the type you can buy for less at a home supply store. Don’t think about using a residential filter on your commercial machine! You need the commercial capacity of a gallon and a half of water per minute, which amounts to a 10,000 gallon life span for 6 months. Plus, you need the power of the filter to take out impurities that residential filters don’t touch.

A 30 micron filter provides for basic needs. It will filter scale and sediment (larger particles) in a cotton weave. Sometimes you need to change your filter more than every six months, such as in a high-yeast environment (bakery, bread, beer, pizza). In those environments, you need to clean the machine and change the filter every 90 days. This basic filter is for ice machines under 600 lbs.

Bigger filters for bigger machines will have a carbon filter. Carbon filtration is better for improving taste. Some filters will also take out chlorine or will emit a chemical that inhibits scale from adhering to the ice machine.

Without a water filter, you may get as few as three years’ life on your ice machine. With a water filter (and proper maintenance), you may increase the standard 10-year life span to 15 or more years. Find out more about the water filtration systems that will fit your specific need. Call Ice & Refrigeration Systems at 817-888-3056

Commercial Ice Machine: How To Clean One

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Cleaning your commercial ice machine is one of the most important things you can do to extend the life of your machine. In an environment free of yeast or excess moisture, you can clean the ice machine every six months. If your ice maker is in an environment with bread baking, or pizza or beer making, where there is yeast, then the potential for mold is higher. In that case, you need to clean your ice maker every 90 days. The same 90 day schedule applies if you are in a hot, greasy environment.

It’s easy to forget about deep cleaning when your ice maker works fine and all is well. But thinking ahead can save you costly downtime later and help you get more years out of your machine. Here are a few steps to remember that will help preserve the life of your ice maker.

  • Even with a water filter, you’ll have scale build-up from minerals in the water supply. The scale build-up will occur on the evaporator plate or inside the barrel of the auger. Scale can be removed by washing a phosphoric acid through the ice making process. Use the same solution on the ice storage bin.
  • Sanitize your commercial ice machine and bin after cleaning to be sure that all bacteria is removed. Use bleach or a sanitizing solution made for ice makers. Completely rinse the machine and storage bin with water after using a sanitizing solution.
  • Change or clean the air filter.
  • Clean the condenser fan blades and coil.
  • Inspect the bearings for wear. This is important because if the bearings wear out, the drum will be negatively affected. You can expect bearings to last about 30 months and then need replacing, costing from $500 – $900.

Here are the steps to cleaning your commercial ice machine:

  1. Take the cover off
  2. Turn the button inside to ‘clean’ (turns the compressor off and just circulates the water)
  3. Take the lid off
  4. Pour 2-3 oz. of ice machine cleaner into the water distribution channel and let it circulate for 25 minutes. The cleaner, which is very caustic, removes calcium, mineral deposits, and scale.
  5. After 20-25 minutes, you need to stop the cleaner and triple flush it. Put the machine into ice making or flush mode. DO NOT clean for a longer time, because the nickel plating will be eaten away.
  6. On the back of the machine/condenser, brush the machine with a nylon brush to keep it free of dust and dirt.
  7. Go up under the bottom of the machine with a bleach solution on a rag. Under the machine is an idea environment for black mold.

What Happens If You Don’t Clean Your Ice Machine?

If you don’t clean the ice machine, you’ll get calcium build-up on the pump and the condenser (looks white). Mineral deposits will show, and the water distribution tube will be filled with deposits also. The effectiveness, speed, and production capacity of your machine are greatly inhibited by build-up of calcium and minerals. Calcium comes from the water and will eat at and corrode the condenser.

Keeping the ice machine clean can give you another 5 years of productive ice making. If the machine is dirty, then less heat is removed from the machine. The machine has to work harder to cool. Keeping your machine clean saves you money.

What To Do If Your Commercial Ice Machine Needs Repair

It’s simple, call our office for help. We will either diagnose it over the phone or send a qualified technician to service your ice machine.

Commercial Kitchen Maintenance

Commercial kitchen maintenance proves to run best and ultimately succeed based on efficiency. And to have an efficient commercial kitchen, equipment must be well maintained. See California’s New Energy Efficiency Standards.

Commercial kitchen maintenance begins with cleanliness. Stainless steel kitchen equipment is easy to clean inside and out. Remember to train staff to move all equipment to clean under and behind the equipment, paying special attention to condenser coils on refrigerators and freezers as well.

Regular refrigerator maintenance tasks include making sure that drain lines are clear, the thermostat is working properly, gaskets on the doors have a tight seal, refrigerant level is adequate, and the condenser coils are clean.

Cleaning is critical to commercial kitchen maintenance. It takes only an hour or less, but the results are cleaner ice and a well running machine. Cleaning techniques vary based on the manufacturer and type of ice maker. When considering purchase of a new commercial ice machine, it’s a good idea to put ‘ease of cleaning’ on your list of decision criteria.

Here are three things to think about regarding your maintaining your commercial ice machine:

1. Take good care of your ice machine to extend (even double) the lifecycle.
How you care for your machine will determine how long you’re able to use it before replacing it. If usage is typical and not heavy, a commercial ice machine can be expected to last about 10 years. But, it’s possible to extend the life to even 20 years with consistent cleaning, sanitizing and changing of filters. Many machines are easy enough to maintain by the owner. Ask your distributor about the tasks that need to be handled by a professional. Needs and timing vary by manufacturer.

2. Perform routine maintenance at least every six months, depending on usage.
Heavier use, such as a fast food restaurant, will require more frequent servicing, especially filter changes. A dirtier filter allows impurities into the ice, such as scale. The impurities can have a negative effect on your machine’s components. In addition, consider the cleanliness of the ice machine environment. Airborne particles, such as yeast, can create a demand for machines to be cleaned and sanitized more often.

3. Understand your machine’s need for repair.
One of the key components to keep an eye on is your ice machine’s evaporator. If you notice that the machine is losing productivity, check the evaporator for warping or signs of wear on the plating. Because the evaporator is such an important (and costly) part, loss of functionality can lead to the need to replace the entire machine.

Maintenance for Commercial Dishwashers

Commercial dishwashers, the workhorse of the kitchen, also need regular attention. Make sure that employees are trained to scrape excess food off of plates to prevent clogging the filter. In addition to daily cleaning of the dishwasher, the filter needs thorough cleaning at least every 20 cycles. Water drains better without food residue in the filter. Also, enhance dishwasher performance by refreshing tank water daily (or more often, based on use), and use a good quality rinse-aid. Click here for more restaurant dishwasher tips.

The Final Word About Commercial Kitchen Maintenance

Commercial kitchen rule #1 is to set up a schedule for cleaning commercial equipment. Staying on a schedule helps prevent downtime. Determine which tasks will be performed weekly, which tasks monthly, and put things on the calendar that require a service professional, such as a semi-annual check.

Related Article: Restaurant Dishwasher Tips

Commercial Refrigerators: Care For Your Equipment – Austin

A commercial refrigerator is the hub of your Austin restaurant’s kitchen activity. When it’s running smoothly, all is well. When it goes out, it’s an emergency.

 

Here are the things you need to do daily, weekly and monthly to ensure proper maintenance and continued functioning of your commercial refrigerator for peak business times:

 

Daily

  • Clean the drains where condensation exits the commercial refrigerator. In a walk-in, the drain is on the floor and a mop can be used to collect condensation and keep the interior floor clean. Make sure that nothing blocks the drain area.
  • Store food in tightly sealed containers. Acidic foods, such as tomatoes, can actually contribute to a breakdown in your refrigerant lines if allowed to ‘breathe’ in the refrigerator. Your food will also stay fresher when properly stored.
  • Clean pan shelves that touch food directly.
  • Dust off your compressor to prevent dust and dirt build-up.
  • Clean the outside surface of your refrigerator with a damp cloth.

Weekly

  • Check the seal (gaskets) on the commercial refrigerator to make sure that cold air is not leaking out. This not only saves energy, but prevents over-working of the refrigerator’s compressor and condenser to maintain temperature. Keeping the gaskets clean will prevent dirt build up that corrodes and causes leaks. Use the old trick of putting a dollar bill in the door. You should not be able to pull it out if the gasket is sealing properly.
  •  Clean racks or shelves.
  • Clean interior, using only a mild detergent and water. (Chemical residue can affect the flavor of food.)

Monthly

  • Clean condenser coils using a commercial condenser coil cleaner or a vacuum, making certain that all food is either removed or securely sealed.
  • Clean the fan blades and motor with a soft cloth.

Talk with Ice & Refrigeration Systems about your Austin restaurant’s commercial refrigerator priorities. We have a history of unbiased consultation because we represent so many different manufacturers. We’ll help you determine whether to lease or purchase with competitive pricing, and delivery is always free. Call us at 817-888-3056.

Restaurant Supply Store In Houston – Ice Machines, Freezers & More

Restaurant Supply Store – Houston

Two needs drive restaurant owners and managers to seek a restaurant supply store in Houston:

1) Expansion of the restaurant physically, such as additional sites, or internally, such as adding to or changing the menu

2) Outdated or worn-out equipment

 

Here are a few equipment suggestions for expanding restaurants whether new site- or menu-related:

 

Higher Volume Commercial Ice Makers meet the need for increased demand due to more customers or menu items that need ice, such as smoothies or iced coffees.

3 Glass Door Back Bar Refrigerator makes bar tenders more efficient, with greater ability to serve customers quickly.

Commercial Freezers give you greater capacity for food storage and ability to purchase in bulk and keep food fresh.

Upright Glass Door Beverage Coolers let customers self-select their drink, and can increase the sales per head as an impulse purchase.

 

Here are indicators that your equipment is due for replacement:

  • A desire to decrease energy bills can be met with Energy Star rated equipment. For example, the Energy Star rating typically results in up to a 15% energy savings for ice makers, and may qualify you for LEED credits.
  • Downtime from excessive equipment repair.
  • Age of equipment over 10 years. Some equipment may be in fine working condition 10 years or more. Consider the amount of use, and remember if a piece of restaurant equipment is frequently used, it will become less efficient and productive over time.

Finding the right restaurant supply store in Houston is just a phone call away. Ice & Refrigeration Systems has a reputation for representing a range of quality manufacturers and offering affordable pricing. Delivery is always free, and you can purchase or lease equipment. Call 817-888-3056 to talk about your restaurant supply needs with Ice & Refrigeration Systems.