What Specific Temperature Should Your Commercial Freezers Be At?

Having a refrigerator or a freezer does not guarantee cold storage for your perishable items. This is true for commercial refrigeration because the products that are stored in them have followed strict regulations since they are mostly used in the food industry. The temperature at which the products are stored can affect the taste, appearance, nutrient content, and safety of the food. 

The purpose of a commercial refrigerator is to keep food items at a cooler temperature to slow down the growth of bacteria, making them the best unit for perishable foods like cooked meat and produce, while a freezer is used to stop the growth of bacteria on food. The average temperature operating range for commercial refrigeration units is between 36F and 45F. If you store products at a temperature that is lower than 36F, then you run the risk of freezing items that should not be frozen, like milk and other dairy products, but if you store them at a temperature higher than 45F then the food could spoil. 

The FDA or the United States Food and Drug Administration states that refrigerated products must be stored at 41 Degrees Fahrenheit or lower. The colder the food is, the longer it will last, so making 38F an ideal temperature for commercial refrigeration. Freezer temperature ranges are so much colder. 

Some food items are more sensitive to cold temperatures than others, so the kind of food that you are storing and the type of refrigeration unit that you are using will also affect the kind of temperature that you need to set. For example, food items that need to be stored below 35F will require a defrost cycle. Here are some guidelines for temperature ranges that are based on the kind of refrigeration unit that you have:

  • Walk-In Refrigerators 35F to 38F
  • Reach-In Refrigerators 35F to 38F
  • Walk-In Freezers 0F to -10F
  • Reach-In Freezers +5F to -10F
  • Ice Cream Freezers -10F to -20F

Commercial refrigeration units usually take time to stabilize their temperatures that are set, and the bigger the refrigeration unit is, the longer it takes. When adjusting the temperature, wait for a whole day and recheck it before you store your food items. Commercial refrigeration unit temperatures will rise the most when the doors are open. 

So how can you maintain the temperature of the commercial refrigeration unit once it stabilizes? The unit’s temperatures will rise when the doors of the unit are open. Because the unit thermostats are located near the doors, this can sometimes cause a false read. If temperatures are reading above normal, you can try waiting 5 to 10 minutes with the door closed and recheck the temperature. Otherwise, you may wind up paying for a service that you do not need. A lot of manufacturers like True and Kool-It offer the owners’ maintenance videos on their websites. 

Make sure to tell your restaurant staff about the importance of keeping the refrigeration unit, and the freezer doors and drawers closed at all times. Because of the inaccuracies of the thermostats on equipment doors, you may want to consider a secondary thermometer to be placed under or at least near the evaporator coil. If you have any issues about the temperature of sensitive foods, then it is best to have thermometers in place for them or freezer alarms that can signal you if there is a danger of thawing. 

Aside from having thermometers and defrosting, it is also best to have your refrigerator units maintained and immediately fixed if there are any issues. You can call your local service provider to make sure that your unit is well-maintained. Local service providers such as the commercial refrigeration repair in Portland offers services that will make sure that you won’t experience loss of products.