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The importance of checking leaks and seals of your commercial refrigerator

Why You Need to Carefully Inspect Your Commercial Refrigerator for Leaks and Seals

Posted by | 05-07-2021

The seals of your commercial refrigerator are extremely important as they help avoid a number of functional and safety issues. From proper cooling to energy efficiency and from the reduction of moisture to mould and bacteria growth, your fridge’s seals must be tight and secure to keep food fresh and safe to consume.

However, another issue that might be overlooked for commercial fridges is leaks. Leaks are always a sign something isn’t right with your fridge. Here, we explain why you need to carefully inspect your commercial refrigerator for leaks and seals.

Why You Need to Inspect Door Seals or Gaskets

Gaskets and seals found around the rim of the doors combine vinyl and flexible magnetic strips to form the seal. When the door is sealed properly, it prevents cool air from leaking and warm air from entering the inside of the fridge. A big enemy of seals and gaskets is moisture, which can form along the edge of the fridge and lead to damage and distortion.

When this happens, the door can’t form the proper, secure seal. Once the moisture sets in, the seal stiffens and loses its elasticity, so the seal fails. The air leakage increases moisture; frost can then form and the fridge will continuously experience frosting and defrosting as the fridge opens and closes.

Water leaks are also likely to happen during the process, which not only leads to bacteria and mould growth risk, but can also cause slip and fall accidents. However, if you inspect your fridge for leaks and seals on a regular basis, you can spot seal and gasket issues before they become serious. Repairs and replacements can be made, and your fridge will be able to do its job effectively.

How to Check the Gasket

Inspecting your gaskets simply involves looking for signs of wear and tear, discolouration, or mould. You might even notice missing chunks that have cracked and fallen off. You can also pay attention to how the door operates when you open and close it. If you notice it gives too easily when you pull it open, or fails to feel sealed when you close it, that means the seal is not working properly.

Why You Need to Inspect Your Commercial Fridge for Water Leaks

Water leaks are a sign that something is wrong with your fridge. Not only does this compromise the food and beverages stored in the fridge, but it also increases risk for accidents.

How to Check for Leaks

There are a few steps you can take to inspect your fridge for leaks:

  • Check the fridge’s drain pan: This is located either under the fridge or mounted on the compressor. If it is damaged or has ice buildup, you either need to replace the damaged pan, or have the fridge’s heater checked to see if it is causing the ice issue.
  • Check your fridge’s balance: When fridges are not level, even a slight tip forward can cause the tray and hose to be misaligned and lead to leak issues. Some commercial fridges have adjustable feet so you can level the fridge to see if this stops the leaking.
  • Check ice-maker/water lines: If your commercial fridge has an ice or water dispenser, the connection can be damaged leading to leaks. Turn off the fridge and water supply valve so you can see if it is damaged.

If these steps don’t seem to be responsible for the leak, then speak to a commercial fridge repair technician.

Why You Need to Check for Commercial Fridge Freon Leaks

While most people think of water seepage when they hear about fridge leaks, there is a far more dangerous type to worry about: freon leaks. Freon is a tasteless, odourless gas that keeps the refrigerator cool. If leaks form, they go undetected because you can’t smell the gas. Exposure can lead to poisoning if the gas is inhaled. Commercial coolers can leak up to 30% of their charge throughout the year without regular maintenance.

How to Check for Freon Leaks

The best way to detect freon leaks is through professional maintenance. Technicians use manifold gauges and can test for leaks by looking at the pressure. They also inspect the fridge for shifts in evaporator and condenser temperatures. There are many things that can contribute to dangerous freon leaks, including:

  • Compressor discharge vibrations.
  • Corrosion of copper parts due to acidic chemical exposure.
  • Loose or overly tight fittings.
  • Improper brazing leading to faulty connections.
  • Contact between different types of metal tubings.
  • Stress on tubing due to lack of support.
  • Missing valve caps and seals.
  • Use of incompatible refrigerants.
  • Thermal stress due to unnecessary and frequent opening and closing.

Although you can certainly perform some of these inspections on your own, it is also safest to schedule regular maintenance calls with a commercial fridge technician.

To learn more about why your commercial coolers may be leaking or have damaged seals, call Ancaster Food Equipment at 866-711-5486, or contact us here.

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