How Much do Dirty Grocery Coolers Cost Your Store?

by | Sep 18, 2023

Keeping grocery coolers in top shape is your store’s biggest expense, according to the Grocery Facilities Benchmark Report from ServiceChannel.

The typical U.S. grocery store spends about $101,900 every year on all equipment repairs and maintenance, says the report. One third of that budget—a whopping $33,900—goes to the refrigeration trades. (HVAC and general repairs tied for second place with each eating only 9% of the total spend). 

It makes sense. Today’s groceries have more refrigeration equipment than ever before and maintaining that cold chain is critical for food safety and customer trust. But the bulk of these service calls are for repairs, not maintenance. According to the report, the average store calls their refrigeration repair service 36 times a year. Even worse, half of those calls are emergencies, requiring a faster turn around and an even higher price tag. 

In all, only 11% of the total repair and maintenance budget goes to actual preventive maintenance. Yet proper maintenance is the best way to avoid disruptive operational failures and expensive repairs. Running dirty cooler cases costs money in four ways. 

  1. Increased power bills: Commercial refrigerators and freezers with dirty or clogged evaporator coils require almost double the electricity to work as well as appliances with clean coils. 
  2. Shortened cooler life: Dirty, clogged coils force machinery to work harder to maintain temperature. Over time, this causes motors to overheat, burn out, or malfunction altogether. 
  3. Increased service calls: One grocery chain estimates that half of all service calls are caused by dirty equipment. Cutting down on some of those calls promises to save money. 
  4. Spoiled product and consumer mistrust: Cooler cases that leak, smell weird, or have an unappealing layer of sludge collecting at the base compromise food quality. Customers will notice and shop elsewhere.  

If better maintenance saves money and prolongs asset life, why don’t grocery stores clean their coolers more often? It comes down to practicality. Scheduling more preventive maintenance with a refrigeration or HVAC specialist saves money over the asset’s lifetime. But with the average maintenance invoice totaling $1,512 for multiple pieces of equipment, it is still pretty expensive. 

Asking employees to maintain cases leads to other problems. Manually cleaning the internal basins and coils of refrigerated case displays is difficult, time consuming, and comes with the risk of injury from sharp surfaces.

There is a better way. The Kaivac Cooler Case Cleaner is designed so employees can service coolers in-house quickly and safely for a lot less. The technology features a specially designed indoor pressure washer that cleans while protecting sensitive equipment. A powerful wet vacuum recovers water, soils, and debris before they clog the drain. 

With an on-board video training system, the Kaivac Cooler Case Cleaner is easy to learn and use. The multifunctional tool can clean produce, meat, and dairy coolers along with onion and potato displays, café areas, and more. 

Maintaining cooler cases doesn’t have to be expensive. Click here for more information. 

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