Your walk-in freezer is an essential part of your restaurant. If you can’t keep your ingredients cold, then you can’t safely store and produce the foods that you want to serve. Not being able to do that means a closed shop, and a closed shop = no income. And I think we can all agree that that’s not good.
So what does it mean if your walk-in smells like acetone or nail polish remover? This harsh chemical smell, and others like it, can be the first sign of a serious problem.
Let’s find out what to look for, some of the most common causes, and what you can do to fix them.
Does your walk-in smell because of a chemical?
Potentially. Your walk-in, like any other refrigerator or freezer, uses a chemical to cool the air that passes through its condenser. This chemical is held in the evaporator coils and, when the air passes over it, cools it down to your appointed temperature. Generally, that chemical is typically kept in the evaporator, or in hardened holding tanks. Occasionally, the lines carrying the coolant, or even the evaporator itself, can crack or break off. This can leak the chemical out and give your walk-in that harsh, nail polish remover odor you’ve been smelling.
What can you do? Call a professional. It can be dangerous to attempt to fix or replace either the coils or the chemicals yourself and you can even end up doing more damage to your walk-in refrigerator or freezer than good. For commercial refrigeration repairs like these, it’s a good idea to call the professionals at AIM Building Services for their help.
Some other issues…is it clean?
It may seem silly, but a walk-in full of gunk and grime can very well be the cause of your walk-in’s unwelcome smell. First, check the inside of your fridge. Does it look clean? Have the shelves been sanitized recently? Some of the most commonly missed spots include under shelves, in the brackets where the shelves meet the wall, and on top of long-term storage containers.
Additionally, check these containers for leaks, and the ground for spills. It’s not just rotting food that can cause a nasty smell – if you’ve spilled liquids, especially ones high in sugar, then the smell could be emanating from there. finally, ensure that the lids of all your food containers are all properly sealed.
Check out the fan area of your walk-in
Your walk-in refrigerator or freezer likely has a fan system that moves air into the space from outside through an evaporator. The air is cooled using chemicals and is typically powered by a heavy-duty horsepower engine. Occasionally, something can get sucked into the blower system, either from the intake or from the walk-in itself, causing the fan to push out foul-smelling air. The fan assembly has a number of screens and filters to prevent this, but it does happen, often because of items getting stuck to the screens themselves.
Checking these yourself can be dangerous, especially if you are unable to switch your system off. Regular maintenance is the key to ensuring your entire system remains clean. If you need help with commercial refrigeration maintenance in Houston, we’re always available to help.