Valentine’s Day Chocolate for Your Dedicated Employees

Valentine’s Day Chocolate for Your Dedicated Employees

Two Common, Energy-Draining Problems With Walk-In Coolers

by Hannah Kuhn

Walk-in coolers are generally a low-maintenance item for most business owners, but you may be wasting money if you completely ignore its operation. If you own a walk-in cooler, take a few minutes to check the following items and see if you need to repair, replace or upgrade components. Here are two important things to check:

Verify the thermometer is correct

Your walk-in cooler's thermometer is a sensitive instrument; like any such device, thermometers can lose their calibration over time. For analog dial thermometers, being struck or bumped can cause the temperature needle to shift out of proper alignment. In addition, damage to the temperature probe can also create faulty readings. Even such things as grease, oil or other coatings can insulate a probe and result in incorrect temperature measurements. Digital thermometers are less susceptible to being knocked out of alignment, but they still can experience failures that are difficult to detect at a glance.

Poorly-calibrated thermometers can cost you money. If your walk-in cooler thermometer is off by a few degrees, it can cause you to run your system longer and at colder refrigeration levels  to maintain what you believe is the appropriate temperature. Conversely, a thermometer that is is poorly calibrated and shows temperature readings lower than they actually are, can reduce the shelf life for various food products. This will result in wasted, prematurely-spoiled food that must be thrown away to prevent food-borne illness.

To check the calibration of a thermometer, compare a known temperature standard with your thermometer; a simple, no-cost approach is to use a cup of melting ice to determine a baseline temperature. Ice melting inside of a cup will chill the water to exactly 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and this is a good way to test your thermometer's accuracy. Here is how to do it:

  1. Carefully remove your thermometer from its location; don't forget to detach the temperature probe along with the thermometer.
  2. Allow the thermometer to warm to room temperature, and allow any condensation to dry completely.
  3. Insert several cubes of ice into a glass of tap water. Stir the ice cubes slowly for a few seconds, and set the glass aside for five minutes.
  4. After five minutes, insert the tip of the thermometer's temperature probe into the middle of the ice water.
  5. The needle on the thermometer or the digital readout will begin dropping rapidly; at some point, it will reach 32 degrees Fahrenheit and stabilize if the thermometer is correctly calibrated.
  6. If the temperature reading is more than one or two degrees off in either direction, you should contact your local refrigeration repair professional for assistance with recalibration or replacement of your thermometer.

Inspect your door gaskets

Another frequently overlooked component of walk-in coolers are door gaskets. These gaskets seal in the cold air and keep out the warm, outside air. Over time, these gaskets will begin to become brittle and lose their flexibility with normal use. Once that happens, cracks are likely to form, and you can lose a fortune in cold air without even knowing it. That is why you need to check gaskets for failure, and here is how to do it:

  1. With the doors closed, slowly pass a mirror around the edges of the door frames. Condensation on the mirror indicates a cold air leak.
  2. Using a bright flashlight, slowly shine the beam over the gasket surfaces around your doors. Look carefully for cracks, fissures, pitting, deforming or other abnormalities. 
  3. Push and pinch the gasket material to see if it maintains a "springy" feel or if it is hardened or brittle when pressed.

If any of your door gaskets possess a significant number of faults, such as tears, leaking or brittleness, then you should contact a professional refrigeration repair service for replacement restaurant supply parts. In the meantime, apply a thin layer of silicone grease around the gaskets to help maintain cold air retention and flexibility until they can be replaced.


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Valentine’s Day Chocolate for Your Dedicated Employees

Through the years, some of my most memorable Valentine’s Day gifts have been the unexpected ones I received. For instance, when I was a teenager, my father surprised me with a white bear, a helium balloon, and a box of candy one year. As an adult, I always feel special when my employer presents me with an unexpected gift. If you are an employer, consider surprising your dedicated employees this year with a special treat for Valentine’s Day. Food items are usually a big hit at the office. For example, your workers would probably enjoy a basket of gourmet chocolates. On this blog, you will learn how to reward your employees this Valentine’s Day with the best gourmet chocolates on the market today.