Guide to troubleshooting your commercial freezer

A Guide to Troubleshooting Your Commercial Freezer

Posted by | 02-12-2021

Keeping your commercial freezer or 3-door commercial cooler working properly is key to ensuring your inventory doesn’t defrost or spoil. The best way to keep it running at peak performance is to arrange for regular maintenance with a trained technician. Also, you want to be able to troubleshoot basic issues that can happen if you aren’t taking proper care of your unit. In this article, we offer a guide to troubleshooting your commercial freezer issues, so you know when it’s time to call in a technician.

Your Freezer Has No Power

No lights or sound coming from the freezer are always bad signs. It could be something simple like a blown fuse, or something worse that requires repairs. To troubleshoot no power check the following:

  • Power switch: First, flip the switch on and off to make sure it isn’t just something simple like the power got turned off.
  • Plug: If the power is on, next, look at the power cord. Make sure it didn’t get knocked out of the socket. Also, look for signs it is damaged such as splits in the cord or fraying. If you are using an extension cord, which you really shouldn’t do with a commercial freezer, then check to see if there are issues with it, and whether it is still plugged in. Keep in mind that if there is damage to the cord, you need to get it repaired right away as it is very dangerous to have a frayed or split cord.
  • Fuse and circuits: Last but not least, the final possibility for no power could be either a blown fuse or tripped circuit. Examine your fuse box to see if the fuse is blown, or if the circuit was tripped and is now in the off position. If this is the case, you can replace the fuse, or flip the switch back to the correct position.

If all of the above seem fine, but there’s still no power from the freezer, then it’s time to call a technician.

High Temperatures

If food is going bad or thawing, or you simply notice that the air in the freezer feels too warm, then check the following:

  • Freezer location and/or position: Commercial freezers and 3-door coolers should ideally be placed in a cool location to help them run more smoothly. If you find your freezer constantly seems too warm, consider its location. It should be out of direct sunlight, as well as away from any kind of heating elements or equipment. Also, it should be moved away from the wall to make sure it has proper air circulation. Get the freezer into a better location and move it from the wall to see if this helps with the temperature.
  • Condenser coils: Next, check your condenser coils at the bottom of your commercial fridge to see if they are dirty. Dirty condensers make your freezer work harder, and can also keep it from remaining cold. If the coils are dirty, clean them carefully and see if this makes a difference. Also, keep in mind that you should be cleaning the condensers often to avoid issues.
  • Door gasket and hinges: Problems with your door seal and function are a very common cause of warm freezers. Look for things like cracks along the door frame and seal, and open and close the door to see if it is in fact sealing when shut. Damage to the door gasket and door itself can allow warm air to enter the freezer, as well as for cool air to leak out. If the door gasket is damaged, it should be replaced immediately. Also, make sure the latch and hinges for the door are working properly. If these are damaged, it can cause the door to remain slightly open. Even a tiny gap can lead to temperature issues. Again, this should be repaired right away.
  • Thermostat: If your thermostat or temperature gauge is malfunctioning, it will send the wrong messages to the cooling system so that it thinks the freezer is cold when it isn’t. This will adjust the temperature to a higher temperature. However, another common reason for hot freezers is that the gauge is blocked by inventory. So, first make sure nothing is jammed up against the gauge. If there is crowding, reorganize the freezer so nothing is blocking it. This should allow the gauge to do its job properly. If this doesn’t work, then the thermometer or gauge could be broken. If this is the case, replace it right away to ensure food is stored at safe temperatures, and to avoid the risk of food thawing and refreezing without you knowing.

Low Temperatures

Although freezers are meant to be very cold, it is possible for it to be too cold. If you are finding icy buildup in the freezer or on the food, check the following:

  • Defrost timer: Most commercial freezers have an auto-defrost function designed to thaw ice on the evaporator coils. However, if you can see ice there, it could mean something is malfunctioning and it is not cycling the thawing process. When this happens, it is usually related to the defrost timer, which you will have to replace. Older models need to be defrosted manually, so if you don’t have the defrost function for your freezer, it will need defrosting whenever the ice gets thicker than 6 mm.
  • Pressure issues: If it doesn’t seem to be the auto-defrost timer, it could be a pressure issue. A technician will have to take a look to remedy this issue.

Compressor Problems

Freezers have compressors to maintain cold temperatures. Some signs that your compressor is struggling include noisy operation or signs of dirt buildup as mentioned above. If your compressor is dirt-free but the noise is noticeable, then call a technician.

Evaporator Fan Problems

The evaporator fan ensures that the unit has proper airflow. Like the compressor, your fan will become noisier when it isn’t working properly. As well, dirt or ice are signs something is wrong.


Last but not least, if you notice water in or around the freezer, then something is wrong. Check the following:

  • Drainage hose: Check the drainage hose to see if it is either tangled or blocked. If so, straighten or clear it.
  • Evaporator pan: Check the evaporator pan to see if it is too full. If so, this indicates that you have a broken compressor and will need to call a technician.

Issues with your commercial freezer or 3-door commercial cooler should be checked by a technician right away. This will ensure that your food stays safe. If you need a new 3-door commercial cooler, speak to our team at Ancaster Food Equipment today. 

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