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BACK STORY: Freezer Problem Snowballs

Small equipment problems can be easy to overlook, but the reality is that they often become much bigger problems. And these bigger problems aren’t always just more expensive—they can also be dangerous. Travis Cone, Service Manager at the Dan Cone Group, Moline, Ill., has firsthand experience with just how “out of control” a little issue can become. When he took a service call for a problem on a freezer at a local diner, he never anticipated what he would find.

“When I got there, the customer was yelling out for help,” Cone says, “and she’s a bit of a jokester, so I thought she was just kidding,” calling for help about the freezer. But when Cone made his way back into the kitchen, he found her pinned between the freezer and the wall. “She was trying to move the freezer away from the wall using the doors when one of the casters broke!” The 8-ft. tall freezer—still filled with product—tilted and trapped her between the unit and wall. “I was able to push the freezer up and off of her and lodge a box of product in place of the caster,” Cone says. “I’m so grateful for the timing; she would’ve been there for another hour and half before her staff was due to come in.”

Trying to figure out what happened, Cone found that “a copper drain line coming from an adjacent ice machine had been rubbing on the freezer frame; it eventually rubbed a hole in itself and began leaking down the side of the freezer,” Cone explains. A nearby floor drain sort of masked the issue, and thinking it was a small problem, the operator didn’t get it serviced. “Honestly, the amount of water didn’t even present a slipping hazard; I don’t blame them for putting it off initially,” Cone says. But the leak had slowly rusted and eroded the caster’s insert to the point where it snapped with the slight pressure. “You couldn’t even see that the caster’s steel thread was rusting from the exterior,” Cone explains. “She definitely had me repair the drain line after that.”

It’s easy to ignore or delay a “nonessential” repair and save a few bucks in the short term. But who knew that a water leak, in addition to being expensive in the long term, can be dangerous as well? Best to be proactive and prevent one tiny thing from snowballing into a serious issue.

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