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Helpful Tips: How to look after your laboratory fridges and freezers

Basic maintenance for refrigeration

The majority of laboratories require at least one refrigerator and usually a freezer (or freezer compartment) as well. Whether your lab has one fridge, five -20°C freezers or thirty ULTs, they all require regular maintenance.

Here, we’ve outlined some basic maintenance steps to help you look after your laboratory fridges and freezers: keep your units running efficiently, prevent unplanned downtime, and extend their working life.

Regular maintenance steps include:

  • Defrost freezers regularly to prevent ice build-up and improve running efficiency
  • In between defrosting, scrape off excess ice build-up on inner doors, shelves, compartments
  • Clean the external condenser coils to enable efficient running and to prolong working life
  • Filters should be checked and cleaned (ULT freezers)
  • Look after the door seals. Ice should be removed carefully from door seals. Ice accumulation can prevent a good seal when closing the door and can also damage the seal

The routine maintenance tasks outlined above can be carried out in-house. However, if you don’t have time to undertake these regular checks, then you can take out a service contract to keep your units running efficiently.

Service contracts are particularly useful if you are storing valuable research, medicines/vaccines, samples and products—when unplanned downtime could be costly. In addition to the basic checks mentioned above, a professional service contact will ensure that:

  • Units are fully inspected – including critical components/parts
  • Potential faults are highlighted
  • Equipment is running optimally and efficiently, for extended working life

Service packages can be tailored to customers’ requirements and offer busy laboratories peace-of-mind.

Working practices

As well as basic maintenance, your day-to-day working practices and can also impact the efficiency of your refrigeration equipment. The following guidance can help to keep your equipment running smoothly for longer:

  • Site fridges and freezers away from heat sources (including windows) and with plenty of room for ventilation
  • Use inventory management to cut-down ‘door open’ time
  • Always close inner doors to help prevent ice accumulation
  • Ensure that stored items do not block internal vents 
  • Defrost units every six months
  • Perform daily checks of working performance
  • Inspect the environment around the unit each day, checking for rubbish such as paper towels and cardboard

If you would like to find out more about Medline Scientific’s refrigeration service and maintenance plans, please contact Jon Balmforth, Refrigeration Service Manager on 07776 687789 or visit our Services microsite.