RE: Message for George Mills

Im having issues with my new (2yr old) prep table from frosting and sweating, It is very humid and hot in the store I keep a fan on it and keep the lids open to try to stop it but nothing helps. I have also shut off over night to completely defrost and nothing. Any Advise???

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by Tom Lehmann » Tue Aug 03, 2010 6:39 am

Debbie;
I know enough about the equipment side to be dangerous to myself and others, so I’ll ask that you please re-direct your question to our resident equipment expert, George Mills. I’m willing to bet you two free toppings that he can answer your question. George has been around equipment as long as I’ve been around the dough.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Number one question is always: when was the last time you cleaned the coils? After that, I am only referring to my experiences with my coolers/freezers. I have had WAAAAYYYYYY to much experience with them the last 3 weeks, including waiting for a new warranty-covered compressor for a 2-yr old make table.

The “lids open” sort of confuses me. The main cause of frosting over in my shop is that the compressor runs too long, and the evaporator temp gets too cold, causing freezing, causing the system to cool less efficiently. causing more freezing and more compressor running, and so on. A couple things that I have had to replace/repair/check:

  1. Clean those coils monthly at least . . . brush with a stiff brush more often. NUMBER ONE CAUSE OF PROBLEMS NATIONWIDE
  2. Thermostat/temp control may be faulty and not shutting off the system at the right time
  3. slow coolant leak causing poor cooling efficiency, and harder work by system, leading to freezing
  4. Check all your gaskets and seals in the doors to make sure there are no air leaks letting cold air out.
  5. Where is the fan your are using to work the problem? Is it pointing at the compressor/coils? Or into the cold box? Or somewhere else?

You didn’t mention the brand, but my repair guys mention that the TRUE temp controls had a tendency to fail in the more recent machines. Could be worth a look.

OK I guess I did not mention everything:
My floor fan is about 4 foot pointing down towards the bottom of the prep table, which is out from the wall at least 2-3 inches. I took an air compressor and completely cleaned compressor, coils and all around the back, mainly just flour.
I do not have any issues in the winter time being that humidity is nothing. I found that keeping on lid closed, and the second lid proped open about 2 inches, its fine. If I keep both lids closed when not in use, my mushrooms, gr peppers, onions freeze, mainly anything with water.
Im positive there is no coolant leak. Seals on doors are in excellent condition.
I do not use air in my store, I keep my front and back doors open(screen doors of course). I believe that the whole issue is because of weather(humidity) BUT I could be wrong as well.
The brand is TURBO AIR

Do you have a fryer in your shop?

NO fryer. why???

I found double-panning the top prep part helps with the freezing. I have a shallow containers in the bottom and then set the full pans inside of these, keeping it that they’re is no gaps where the cold air can come out or the warm air can go in seemed to help.

Also with the list from above of maintenance----check to make sure your circulating fans are all working.

GOOD ONE! I forgot that one . . . my salad prep cooler Spring 2009

Fryers float vaporized grease everywhere. Including coils. If you had a fryer, then need coil cleaner instead of just air hose for cleaning.

Ill try dbl panning everything and see how that works. This situation (frosting & sweating) even seems to happen after hours when closed. Im going to try playing with the temp control and see how dbl panning works for now. Thanks all for suggestions.

HI Debbie:

I see you got a lot of answers before I saw your posting .All good advise.

Refrigerated equipment is not designed to operate under the conditions you indicate. There is simply to much humidity and heat in your shop.

George Mills

DBL panning seems to have worked on the freezing of the vegtables, still getting alot of sweating, I do believe the weather has had alot to do with the situation we have had one hot and humid summer this year in MI. Thanks All for the suggestions.

Yes the plastic or stainless pans are very poor conductors of the cold temperatures needed to protect the food in your condiment rail. Check the temperature of the products when double pans are used If much over 37 % or per haps much higher in you hot environment you could have spoilage. If someone gets sick from your product you could have bad trouble.

I would think that the high humidity and temperatures would have a bad effect on your product.

I would suggest that what you really need is to up grade the entire ventilation and cooling system for your store

George Mills