Unfortunately, once the slime builds up this cannot be ignored or delayed as the consequences will be you will have fridge floods on the shop floor – a situation which no store manager will allow to continue for too long.
Firstly let’s analyse the cause of the problem. The gel forms in the condensate drains that run beneath the chiller cabinets. As these cabinets are often the last things to be installed in a supermarket the condensate drains can run flat along the floor, with little or no drop to the main drain line. The condensate then sits in the pipes as it cannot flow away, which provides the ideal conditions for certain types of bacteria (the start of the fridge slime process) to breed. These bacteria will grow at the expense of the limited nutrients available in the drain line, once these have been exhausted they become ‘stressed’ and in these circumstances they secrete an ‘exopolysaccharide’, which binds the bacteria together into this fridge gel which clogs the drain and causes costly breakdowns and the pain of refrigerator floods onto the shop floor where everyone gets to know about it.
Engineers will be familiar with this and they will also be aware this is not a universal problem. It can happen as a result of this problem in one store and not the one down the road, it can effect one chiller island and not the one next to it.
The most commonly used solution to prevent these problems and the unpleasant substances that cause it a planned case clean regime to clear the fridge slime, usually every six months. This can be effective, however the gel can reappear over a period as short as three weeks so a six-monthly clean out is not going to help. Also harsh chemicals can be used which often requiring significant levels of PPE before they can be handled, and in the current ‘green’ climate they can do more harm than good by polluting the water and killing off the good bacteria required to treat waste water.
There are thankfully a small number of new preventative technologies that work in a natural way to prevent the formation of the gel, such as CBio’s Fridge Free, which uses a combination of specific bacteria to out-compete the resident population and natural surfactants to break-up the gel. This ensures free-running drains by preventing fridge gel blockages, prevents flooding to the shop floor and therefore minimises trip hazards, brand damage and lost stock. It does not require expensive mains power, saves money on expensive fridge breakdowns and reactive drainage call-outs, protects revenue and ensures customers peace of mind.. norcold rv refrigerator