Laboratory refrigerators do not come cheap. When you purchase such a refrigerator, you intend it for long-term use apart from the apparent consideration—reliable storage of temperature-sensitive samples.
It is needless to say that just like any laboratory equipment if you fail to adopt the best maintenance practices for your refrigerator, it will exhibit sub-optimal performance that is bad to the laboratory refrigerator and the precious samples.
So, let us explore how to maintain your laboratory refrigerator properly:
Do Not Take Alarms Lightly
Laboratory refrigerators come with alarms to alert you about low or high temperature, continuous door opening, and power failure. You should never neglect the alerts, although the unit facilitates you to mute the alerts. During your maintenance schedule, check whether the alarms are on. If they are off, switch them on.
Store All Items Properly
It will help if you bear in mind that your medical refrigerator or freezer can exhibit the best performance only if the unit’s airflow remains unobstructed. You can streamline the internal airflow by using racking systems that enable convenient airflow and ensure optimal use of the available storage space.
The racking systems also make it easier to locate and pick up samples while enabling you to store items properly. And the result is that the period for which the door remains open will be at the minimum.
Avoid storing items on the top of your laboratory freezer. And if your refrigerator is a top venting one, you should avoid it. The practice can trap warm air within a particular area, and if that happens, the compressor will work more frequently to maintain the necessary storage temperature, resulting in energy losses. So, avoid the practice to cut down electricity costs and prolong the compressor’s lifetime.
Clean Door Gaskets
The gasket is a tight seal along the edges of the refrigerator door. Its purpose is to prevent the outflow of cold air and inflow of warm air whenever the door is opened. Remarkably, ultralow refrigerators come with outer door gaskets as a standard. But, some variants can also have a gasket for the inner doors. A gasket helps to maintain uniform temperatures within the refrigerator’s interior.
Check out the door gasket for any leaks. You can spot leaks as ice accumulates on them. Wipe the gasket with a soft cloth to remove any dirt or dust to restrict any overall performance degradation. Replace the gasket if you find any leaks.
Remove Ice or Frost Accumulation
Your staff cannot escape opening and closing the refrigerator door frequently to put in or pick up items. But it can also lead to the building-up of ice or frost, limiting the door from moving efficiently, and the door may not seal properly.
Therefore, check out the gasket and door seals for an accumulation of ice or frost periodically. Instruct your staff to pick out and put in the refrigerator items as quickly as they can to keep ice-build up at the minimum.
If you see any ice accumulation on the door seals, remove it at once using a piece of clean cloth.
When you clear out old item stocks from the unit, utilize the time to defrost the entire refrigerator. But never use the ice pick when defrosting. And make sure that there is no ice build-up.
Take Care of the Coils
Vacuuming the condenser coils that are situated on the outer parts is another critical maintenance practice. There is no best time for vacuuming. Do it regularly.
Keep in mind that the coils should be clean at all times, free from dust and other such materials that can obstruct the necessary heat exchange.
Keep the coil clean to enable the cooling unit to work properly. Avoid using grime and dust-prone coils to prevent entailing higher energy costs and a lower life span for the refrigerator. Therefore, do not fail to direct efforts to clean them to maintain your laboratory’s cooling needs.
Clean your refrigerator frequently to prolong its lifespan. When you stock inventories and take out the useless items, wipe the shelves with clean cloth. Likewise, clean the racks and walls.
You can dampen the cloth with warm water to remove crumbs and spills from the walls and shelves. Also, it will help if you use an all-purpose cleaner to remove sticky spills and stains.
In a laboratory refrigerator, you store costly reagents, precious samples, and other items involving months or years of research. Therefore, you should take adequate care to maintain the refrigerator to preserve the items correctly and render the unit last for years. Set in motion a maintenance strategy incorporating upkeep, space management, and sample management. If you do not have sufficient time to operationalize the maintenance schedule by yourself, you can hire a service provider.