Jason Bratcher, Manager of Field Operations at KPS Global® talks about symptoms, causes and ways to prevent icing in walk-ins. A few simple steps can extend the lifespan of a walk-in cooler or freezer. When proper maintenance and care is not taken, frost and ice buildup can occur leading to higher operating costs, damaged product and equipment downtime while waiting for repairs. While it is important to have trusted service technicians you can rely on when maintenance is necessary, there are measures that operators can take on a day-to-day basis to properly care for their equipment.
Moisture that enters the walk-in has to be controlled. If it is not controlled, ice buildup occurs. One of the simplest steps you can take is placing a vinyl strip curtain or air curtain in front of the door. This is especially important if the entry door to your walk-in is often open for longer than five minutes. When freezer doors are opened for extended periods of time, frost can form due to the excessive condensation of warm moist air inside the cooler resulting in the formation of ice film on surfaces. The simple barrier this curtain provides will help to prevent condensation resulting from the warm air flooding in from outside. Additionally, air flow is crucial to preventing ice as it does not allow condensation to freeze together but rather evaporate. Make sure products are not touching the walls on the interior, especially when stacked, as this makes air flow difficult. A 2-inch gap on the exterior is recommended for proper air flow but could vary so check your prints for the optimal air gap.
Businesses rely on their walk-ins to maintain the preset temperatures they need for optimal workflow and product safety. One of the key things to routinely check is the defrost duration and cycle times. If the settings are not correct, icing will occur. If icing is present on the fans, the evaporator drain may have stopped and the drain pan water could be blowing through the fans or no p-trap has been installed on the drain which could be sucking warm air from the main drain. Another check to regularly complete is to look for frost or condensation appearing around the door jamb. If visible, that indicates the electric heater is inoperable. A frozen gasket will not seal properly even though it appears closed. Frost on a heated pressure relief vent can be normal if the walk-in is located is a high humidity area. On freezers, ice will sometimes occur causing expansion of panel joints. Separated panel joints on the warm side of a freezer sometimes indicates air is infiltrating into the joint.
Developing a preventative maintenance plan with trained personnel can greatly extend the lifespan of your walk-in cooler or freezer. By having an expert service team analyze and inspect your walk-in regularly, you can not only repair damage as it arises, but also prevent small issues from ballooning into major problems. KPS Global provides field services regardless of whether the walk-ins are from KPS Global or not. Our team has the experience necessary to provide you with a maintenance solution that will prevent costly repairs or replacements.
To learn more about steps you can take to ensure that your walk-ins run smoothly or to find more maintenance recommendations, visit our Resources Page.