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How to get the best from your refrigeration

24 September 2010

• Think about frequency of deliveries - moving from once or twice a week to three or four, or even daily, could significantly save on your need for fridge space.

• One distributor recently attended a service call on a coldroom to find that it was being used as a service fridge. Not being designed to cope with frequent door openings, the compressor overheated. Meanwhile, over the other side of the kitchen were under-utilised service counters and upright fridges.

• Evaluate how your fridges will be used as some will inevitably work harder than others. You don't have to spend top money on everything and you can optimise your budget by spending more on the hardest-working fridges.

• Look carefully at the specification. Some fridges feature moulded plastic interiors that may well crack in two to three years if subject to a lot of use, but might be fine for light duty use and save you money.

• Understand the temperature ranges - do you need separate fridges for fish, meat and salads? Fish fridges are set to lower temperatures than meat fridges, for example.

• Remote refrigeration takes the exhaust heat from the compressors away from the kitchen and is a great way to save space in a design.

• Bear in mind that refrigeration is the only piece of equipment that is switched on 24 hours a day and, therefore, can be a significant user of energy.

• Ensure that whenever possible the cabinet is positioned in a well-ventilated area to allow a free flow of air circulation around the cabinet.

• Do not overload your refrigeration equipment with produce. Effective and safe cooling of foodstuffs requires the free circulation of cooled air around the cabinet. Overfilling will cause air circulation to be blocked, compromising both food safety and the refrigeration equipment's ability to cool effectively.

• Think about how many times you open the door to your refrigeration equipment per day. Plan your needs and decide what you require to decant from the cabinet before you open the door. This will prevent warm air from unnecessarily entering the cabinet and save the equipment from working harder than it needs to.

• Before storing, always ensure that hot foods are cooled down by blast chilling before placing in the cabinet. Never put warm or hot food straight into the cabinet - it will raise the internal temperature and the cabinet will have to work harder to maintain its temperature while severely compromising food safety.

• Ensure that you set the correct temperature on the control panel to match that of the food being stored. Try not to mix food product in the cabinet as each sector of produce has differing chilling guidelines that must be met in accordance to the Food Safety legislation. Chilled food must be kept below 5°C, whereas dairy items will need chilling to 1-4°C, meat at -2 to +2°C and fish at -1 to +1°C.

• Never store uncovered liquids or foodstuffs in the refrigerator as this will significantly raise the internal humidity levels, causing ice and condensation to build up in the cabinet.

Source: http://www.ceda.co.uk" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Catering Equipment Distributors Association (CEDA)

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