Understanding Your Commercial Cooler Door Gaskets And Their Care

As a food service business owner, your coolers and commercial refrigeration system are a vital part of your operation. Every cooler is outfitted with door gaskets that play a vital role in the cooler's operation. The gaskets are essential for maintaining the internal temperature of the cooler, which preserves your inventory and ensures that your cooling system isn't working overtime to try to keep things cool and safe. Here's what you need to know about those door gaskets and how to care for them.

Multiple Gaskets Are In Place

Most refrigeration units are fitted with two different types of gaskets. Magnetic gaskets are the ones that seal the door closed. They are placed around the door itself, and they are thick, durable gaskets made from a flexible, rubberized PVC.

Wiper gaskets are thinner and made from a vinyl material. They serve as a secondary barrier, and they prevent any outside air contamination in the cooler. They are usually mounted on both the door and the frame of the cooler.

Gaskets Must Be Kept Clean

In order for the gaskets on your refrigeration units to do their job, they must be clean. Otherwise, they won't form a proper seal. In addition, any food particles that get trapped in the gasket can contribute to mold growth, which could compromise your food stock and lead to costly inventory replacement. Use a mixture of mild soap and warm water with a soft nylon brush to clean the gaskets regularly. Remember that with all of the food moving in and out of the coolers, that food debris is going to be a consistent problem, so your cleaning process needs to be consistent, too.

Gaskets Must Be Maintained

The refrigeration unit door gaskets have to be properly maintained for them to work correctly over time. You'll need to inspect the gaskets on a regular basis for any signs of holes, tears, or cracks. This kind of visible wear and tear shows that your gaskets are failing and need to be replaced or repaired.

Any signs of condensation or icing up around the gaskets is another sign that the gaskets are failing. That condensation means that air is getting past the gaskets. If you aren't sure whether your gaskets are sealing properly, place a dollar bill between the gasket and the unit before you close the door. Close the door, then try to pull the dollar out. If it slides out, the gasket isn't sealing correctly. Do this around the perimeter of the door to check all of the gasket for sealing issues.

Gasket Damage Needs To Be Repaired

In most cases, once a gasket is damaged, it will ultimately need to be replaced. However, you'll need an HVAC and commercial refrigeration technician to do the replacement. In the meantime, as you wait for their arrival, your inventory is compromised. If you want to preserve your inventory, there are a few things you can do. First, the earlier you identify the issue, the better. Once you have spotted damage to the gasket, apply some petroleum jelly to the gasket. Spread it thinly on the flat gasket surface, over the damaged area, then close the door. The jelly will help to maintain the seal on the gasket temporarily so that your cooler integrity is maintained while you wait for the replacement.

For more help and information, you should talk with a commercial refrigeration technician. He or she can inspect all of your coolers and their gaskets to be sure that they will meet your needs. Any repairs that need to be done should be completed by these professionals to be sure that the work is done properly. Remember that the integrity of your inventory, and therefore your business, rests on the stability of those gaskets and their seals.