Common Reasons Why Your Commercial Fridge Isn’t Cooling
How cold does a fridge have to be? After all, commercial refrigerators have a sole purpose: cold storage of raw ingredients, beverages, fresh food, and other perishables. Unfortunately, not all refrigerators and coolers can deliver the same reliable function over time.
Ageing and poorly maintained units can’t maintain the temperature and keep items cool uniformly. When this happens, you risk spoilage, foodborne illnesses, and costly waste.
While temperature fluctuations may not be detectable early on, emergency breakdowns and spoilage are apparent indicators that your fridge isn’t working. It’s no longer capable of holding the ideal cooling temperatures for utmost food safety. But why — and how — does this happen?
Sometimes, the most effective fix is the simplest one. Check the thermostat settings of your True® commercial refrigerator — perhaps the power was recently shut off and just restored, or the thermostat was turned up and set a few degrees above the ideal cooling temperature.
Even with smart thermostats that auto-adjust the temperature setting, it pays to have human eyes double-checking the refrigeration unit to ensure that items are correctly stored in the right environment.
Weak Door Gaskets
Door gaskets are responsible for the tight seal of the refrigerator door. Over time, the seal can weaken due to dirt, grime, and other debris left uncleaned, and leave a gap between the gaskets. While regular cleaning can prevent this, old and worn out gaskets will need to be replaced right away to restore the tight seal and prevent warm and humid air from entering the refrigerator.
Cold air needs to circulate inside a refrigerator to maintain the temperature. This air is dispensed from vents. If these get blocked by haphazardly stored containers, the flow of cold air that keeps items safely stored inside is obstructed.
An adequately organized fridge creates a smooth and efficient workflow for storing and retrieving items and reduces the risk of cross-contamination between various types of food. More importantly, it keeps food containers away from the vents, so cold air can circulate and keep the entire refrigerator uniformly cool.
Call a Professional for Your True® Commercial Refrigerator
Is your fridge still not cooling correctly after checking the above potential issues? It’s time to call a professional. A True® commercial refrigerator technician will conduct a thorough inspection of the unit to determine the cause of temperature fluctuations and repair or replace damaged parts to restore the fridge to optimal function. Here’s what they usually find:
The Problem: Refrigerator Compressor and Relay
The compressor is responsible for the function of a commercial refrigerator. The compressor is designed to push refrigerant vapour to the coils outside of the fridge to help it cool. A good indicator of compressor problems is when the fan is running, but the refrigerator isn’t getting cold.
The Fix: Replace the Relay or the Compressor Itself
Depending on the degree of damage, a commercial refrigerator technician may recommend replacing the compressor start relay or the compressor itself. As replacing a compressor is complicated and expensive, technicians typically fit the unit with a new relay first and test it with the existing compressor to check whether that solves the problem. If not, a new compressor will need to be installed.
The Problem: Clogged Condenser Coils
The coils conduct the hot gas produced by the compressor to the evaporator coils. This process involves a refrigerant travelling through the coils at high pressure, then cooling and turning back into a liquid. The refrigerant resumes its liquid form, so it has a tendency to collect in the condenser coils and clog them, which affects air circulation and the ability of your commercial refrigerator to hold the correct temperature.
The Fix: Clean the Coils
Sounds simple, right? Well, not quite. Cleaning clogged condenser coils require disconnecting your commercial refrigerator from the power source and removing the toe grill. This may require tools that only trained technicians can handle. A coil brush is then pushed into the coils to gently dislodge the dust collected there before vacuuming and reinstalling the grill.
The Problem: Condenser Fan
The compressor and condenser coils regularly heat up from absorbing the hot air pushed out of the refrigerator’s interior components, so they require a fan to stay cool. When the fan isn’t running correctly, the compressor can overheat, and the internal temperature of your fridge can quickly rise.
The Fix: Remove Obstructions and Replace the Fan Motor
The condenser fan can’t spin when obstructed by foreign objects. If the blades are unobstructed, a technician may replace the fan motor to restore its function. They will unfasten the mounting screws holding the fan in place and remove the motor compartment before installing a new one.
The Problem: Evaporator Fan
You typically feel a gust of cold air when you open a tightly sealed fridge door. That’s because of the evaporator fan, which pulls air across the evaporator coil, cools it, and returns the now-cold air around the refrigerator’s interiors. When the fan doesn’t work or kickstarts at the same time as the compressor, the fridge won’t become cold.
The Fix: Replace the Fan Motor
Like the condenser fan, the evaporator fan motor will need to be replaced after removing the evaporator panel, mounting clip, fan blade, and wire harness. Once done, your technician will install the new fan motor into the wire harness and housing before inserting the fan blades and reapplying the mounting clip. They will then reattach the evaporator panel.
When it’s Time for a New Fridge
Commercial refrigerators are built to last, and with regular maintenance, can deliver optimal cooling and storage function for years down the line. But when cooling problems frequently recur, it may be time to consider a replacement.
Investing in a commercial refrigerator is a lasting solution. The cost of a replacement pays for itself with long-lasting, reliable function. It guarantees stable, climate-controlled storage for the various types of perishables that commercial kitchens store.
Commercial refrigerators are designed for energy-efficient function and generous shelf storage. They can deliver years of optimal cooling and storage and highly visible and attractive product placement.
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