Fixing Commercial Fridge is easier than you think

Keeping Your Business Cool: Best Practices for Fixing Commercial Fridge Common Issues

Posted by | 08-09-2023

In an ever-evolving global landscape, the commercial refrigeration equipment industry stands as a titan of growth and potential. Clocking in at an impressive USD 32.0 billion in 2021, this market isn't just flourishing—it's on a trajectory that promises an expansive future. With projections estimating a leap to USD 43.3 billion by 2026, we're looking at a robust CAGR of 6.2% over five years. 

commercial refrigeration equipment industry

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Every business owner knows the heart-stopping dread that comes with a malfunctioning commercial fridge. For businesses in the food industry, a faulty fridge could mean thousands of dollars lost in spoiled produce or potential safety risks. This guide delves deep into the most common issues and offers insight into fixing commercial fridge issues and long-term preventive measures.

Recognizing the Signs of a Malfunctioning Fridge

A commercial fridge is the silent workhorse of many businesses, diligently keeping products cool and fresh. However, like any piece of machinery, it may occasionally encounter problems. Early detection is key to preventing minor issues from escalating into costly repairs or significant losses. To help you stay a step ahead, we delve into the most common warning signs of a malfunctioning fridge. Familiarizing yourself with these signs ensures you can address concerns promptly, ensuring your fridge remains in optimal working condition.

Inconsistent Temperature Readings

Temperature stability is crucial for a commercial fridge, ensuring stored items remain fresh. Inconsistent temperatures can threaten the safety and quality of the contents, potentially leading to health risks or financial losses. Notice that the temperature readings on your fridge fluctuate wildly or do not correspond with the actual internal temperature. It might be an early sign of thermostat issues, airflow blockages, or malfunctioning cooling systems. Regularly cross-checking the fridge's temperature display with an independent thermometer can help pinpoint discrepancies and guide timely interventions.

Unusual Noises

All fridges make some noise level, but it's essential to discern between typical operational sounds and unusual noises that may indicate a problem. A sudden increase in noise levels or unfamiliar sounds such as clanking, buzzing, or humming can cause concern. These noises could stem from faulty compressors, misaligned fans, or even refrigerant leaks. Being attuned to your fridge's regular sound can make it easier to detect any anomalies. If you can't immediately identify the source of the noise, it's best to consult with a technician before the problem escalates.

Pooling Water or Leaks

The sight of water pooling under or around your commercial fridge clearly indicates something's amiss. In many cases, the cause might be a blocked defrost drain, leading water to spill out instead of flowing away as designed. Alternatively, a damaged or leaking water supply line (for fridges with ice makers or water dispensers) could be the culprit. Regularly inspecting the floor and surrounding areas for signs of moisture can help detect leaks early, preventing potential water damage to the premises and ensuring the fridge operates efficiently.

Fridge Constantly Running

A well-functioning commercial fridge will cycle on and off throughout the day to maintain the desired temperature. However, if you notice that your fridge seems to be running non-stop, it's a sign that it's working overtime to keep its contents cold. This could be due to various reasons, such as dirty condenser coils, a compromised door seal, or an overly stuffed interior restricting proper air circulation. Not only does a constantly running fridge increase energy bills, but it also places undue stress on the appliance, hastening wear and tear.

Visible Frost Buildup

While a light frost on freezer walls isn't unusual, excessive frost buildup, especially in the refrigerator compartment of a commercial fridge, is problematic. This frost can indicate a malfunctioning defrost system, damaged door seals, or issues with the fridge's auto-defrost feature. Frost accumulation reduces the fridge's efficiency and can impact the quality and safety of the stored items. Regular checks for frost and timely defrosting, when required, can prevent more significant issues and ensure the fridge remains effective in its cooling duties.

Man shopping from a commercial fridge

Commercial Fridge Common Issues and Their Fixes

Operating a commercial fridge without hitches is crucial for businesses, especially those in the food industry. But as with all appliances, issues can arise. Understanding these problems and their potential solutions can save time, money, and even the contents of your fridge. Let’s delve into the most prevalent problems and their effective fixes.

Power Issues

Sudden or intermittent power failures can hamper your commercial fridge's performance. This can arise from various reasons, such as faulty wiring, blown fuses, or external electrical disturbances. Check the fridge’s plug, fuse, and circuit breaker to resolve these. If these appear intact, consider consulting with an electrician or technician. Remember, power issues can also indicate deeper internal problems.

Thermostat Issues

A malfunctioning thermostat can cause the fridge to overcool or undercool its contents. Erratic temperature readings or a fridge that doesn't cool despite low settings can indicate this issue. Regularly cross-checking the thermostat's reading with an independent thermometer helps detect discrepancies. If recalibrating doesn't help, consider replacing the thermostat altogether.

Fridge Is Overloaded

Overpacking your fridge restricts airflow, making it work harder than it should. An overloaded fridge often struggles to maintain its temperature, leading to inefficiencies and potential spoilage. To rectify and reorganize contents, ensuring proper space for airflow. Remember, each fridge has its capacity limits; consistently overloading might call for an upgrade or an additional unit.

Blocked Condenser Coils

Dirty or blocked condenser coils can dramatically reduce cooling efficiency. The coils are responsible for dissipating heat; if they're obstructed, the entire unit struggles. To counter this, ensure regular cleaning of the coils, removing dirt, dust, and any other obstructions that may accumulate over time.

Frost or Ice Buildup

Excessive frost or ice is a clear malfunction sign, especially in the refrigerator section. This can arise from issues with the auto-defrost system or frequent door openings. To manage this, initiate a manual defrost. If the problem persists, inspect the defrost timer, thermostat, or heater for malfunctions.

Door Seal Problems

Damaged or worn-out door seals can allow cold air to escape, reducing efficiency. If there's condensation on the fridge's exterior or noticeable gaps in the door seal, it's a sign of this issue. To fix, regularly clean the door seals to remove any debris. It might be time for a replacement if wear and tear are evident.

Fan Problems

The fan circulates cold air, ensuring consistent cooling throughout the fridge. A malfunctioning fan, evident by weak airflow or strange noises, can cause temperature inconsistencies. Check for any obstructions around the fan. If the fan doesn't operate smoothly after cleaning, consider a replacement.

Refrigerant Leaks

Refrigerants are pivotal for cooling, and their leakage can cripple the fridge's cooling capacity. Signs include hissing noises, a decrease in cooling power, or ice buildup. Addressing refrigerant leaks isn't a DIY job; always consult with a technician to locate and seal the leak, ensuring safety.

Compressor Concerns

The compressor is the fridge's heart, pumping refrigerant throughout. If it malfunctions, the entire cooling system gets affected. Overheating or strange noises can indicate compressor issues. While cleaning and maintaining the area around the compressor can help, persistent issues might require professional assessment and potential replacement.

Lighting Issues

While not crucial for cooling, proper lighting ensures easy content visibility. Flickering or non-functioning lights can stem from loose bulbs or electrical problems. Start by checking the bulb's tightness or replacing it. If the issue persists, delve into potential wiring or switch malfunctions.

A commercial display fridge with different food items

Safety First - Always 

When it comes to dealing with appliances as significant and complex as commercial fridges, safety isn't just a priority—it's an imperative. The intricate web of electrical and mechanical components inside these machines can pose real risks if approached without the proper precautions. 

Electrical components can cause shocks if mishandled, especially when dealing with power-related issues or internal wiring. And then there are the refrigerants, which, if leaked or mishandled, can pose health hazards, especially in poorly ventilated areas.   

Furthermore, when considering safety, one must also think about the tools they use. Always ensure that tools are in good condition and appropriate for the task. A slip with an unsuitable tool can damage sensitive fridge components, leading to even more extensive repairs or injuries. 

In addition, it's crucial to wear protective gear, like gloves and safety goggles, to shield oneself from potential hazards. Always be aware of the surrounding environment. For instance, a wet floor while working on electrical components can be a recipe for disaster.   

While a do-it-yourself approach can be commendable, knowing when to call in a professional is equally important. Technicians trained in handling commercial fridges are familiar with the various risks involved and are equipped to deal with them. 

If ever in doubt about a procedure or the issue seems too complex, it's always best to err on the side of caution and seek expert help. After all, the objective is to fix the fridge, but never at the expense of one's well-being.

A person in a store fixing commercial fridge issues

Preventive Measures and Routine Maintenance of a Commercial Fridge

A commercial fridge is an indispensable asset for many businesses, especially in the food and hospitality sector. It’s not just a significant financial investment but plays a pivotal role in ensuring product freshness and quality. With that said, the adage, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," couldn't be truer. Proactive maintenance and preventive measures can elongate the lifespan of your fridge, ensure efficient operation, and save on hefty repair costs down the line. Let's delve into key practices to keep your commercial fridge running smoothly.

Regular Check-ups

Like any intricate machine, a commercial fridge requires periodic check-ups. These inspections involve looking for any visible signs of wear and tear, checking temperature consistency, listening for unusual noises, and observing door seal integrity. Regular check-ups can alert you to potential issues before they escalate into significant malfunctions, allowing for timely interventions.

Maintenance Schedule

Establishing and adhering to a maintenance schedule is essential. Depending on your fridge's usage and make, decide on weekly, monthly, or quarterly maintenance activities. This schedule could include defrosting, recalibrating thermostats, or checking refrigerant levels. Sticking to a routine not only ensures consistent performance but can also drastically extend the fridge's lifespan.

Cleaning Guidelines

Cleanliness is paramount. Dirt and debris can clog essential components, like the condenser coils, reducing cooling efficiency. Set guidelines for thorough cleaning, which includes wiping down interiors, exteriors, and especially those hard-to-reach areas. Using food-safe cleaning agents ensures that stored items remain uncontaminated. Regular cleaning prevents mold growth and unpleasant odors and ensures optimal cooling.

Professional Assistance

While regular internal check-ups can be conducted by staff, it's imperative to schedule periodic reviews by professionals. Expert technicians can delve deeper, identifying and rectifying issues that might be missed in routine checks. They possess the knowledge to recalibrate systems, fix electrical concerns, or even detect refrigerant leaks. Think of these professional visits as a comprehensive health check for your fridge.

Quality Parts

If repairs or replacements are needed, never skimp on the quality of parts. Always opt for original manufacturer parts or those of proven quality. While they might come with a higher upfront price, they ensure longevity and efficient performance. Inferior parts can compromise the fridge's functionality and may lead to frequent breakdowns, incurring more costs in the long run.

A commercial fridge displaying foods in a  store

Commercial Fridge from Ancaster Food Equipment

With three decades under our belt, Ancaster Food Equipment stands tall as a beacon of trustworthiness and reliability in commercial fridges. Our deep-rooted expertise predominantly lies in the domain of refurbished commercial fridge brands, with particular emphasis on renowned names like True. 

Over these 30 years, we've prided ourselves on bringing to life numerous commercial fridges, ensuring they function with the same vigor and efficiency as their brand-new counterparts. Each refurbished unit undergoes meticulous scrutiny and restoration, leveraging our vast experience to guarantee peak performance.

But we're not ones to rest on our laurels. Venturing beyond the world of refurbished equipment, Ancaster Food Equipment has recently made its foray into the brand-new commercial fridge industry. This expansion reflects our commitment to catering to a broader spectrum of customer needs and preferences. Armed with the same dedication, precision, and excellence that characterized our work with refurbished units, our brand-new offerings aim to set new benchmarks in quality, durability, and performance.

So, whether you're scouting for a top-tier refurbished True fridge or exploring our latest brand-new offerings, Ancaster Food Equipment promises unmatched excellence. Trust in our 30 years of industry experience to deliver a product and a long-standing commitment to your business's success.

Fixing Commercial Fridge is easier than you think

Final Words on Fixing Commercial Fridge Issues

Keeping a commercial fridge running efficiently is integral to the smooth operation of many businesses, ensuring that products remain fresh and safe for consumption. As we've explored in this comprehensive guide, being proactive in recognizing signs of malfunction and understanding the intricacies of common issues is paramount. 

But beyond immediate fixes, preventive and regular maintenance practices truly make the difference. By investing time and attention in the upkeep of your fridge, you not only extend its lifespan but also save on potential repair costs in the long run. 

Remember, it's not just about fixing commercial fridge issues when broken—it's about preventing issues in the first place and ensuring consistent performance. Keep your business cool, literally and figuratively, by championing best practices in commercial fridge maintenance.

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