HVAC & Commercial Refrigeration Blog

Avoiding Commercial Refrigerator Breakdowns

In certain industries, commercial refrigeration units are a very important part of business. From the kitchen of a restaurant to coolers found in supermarkets, convenience stores, and hotel gift shops, keeping food and beverages cold for customers and employees is a necessity. If your unit breaks down, you risk melted frozen foods, spoiled refrigerated foods, and lost revenue. Not only do you potentially lose your stock, which can grind your business to a halt, but you also will have to invest in a new unit or pay thousands of dollars in repairs. Fortunately, with a few steps, you can prolong the life of your unit and avoid a complete refrigeration breakdown.

Keeping your cooler, refrigerator, or freezer in tip-top condition is a must to avoid a complete breakdown. You can even look for certain signs of malfunction. Things like puddles on the inside or outside of your cooler may indicate a leak in your drainage line or a breakdown in a main component. Fluctuating temperatures may indicate that there’s a problem with the condenser, evaporator, fan, thermometer, or other part. If the unit is unable to reach a certain temperature, this could be a sign of a failing part or a broken door seal. If your unit isn’t functioning in the way it should, you need to have it inspected immediately by a knowledgeable refrigeration mechanic, even if the problem seems minor.

The placement of your unit is also very important. If your refrigerator isn’t vented or the fans are obstructed, it will not be able to cool effectively and efficiently, which can lead to a breakdown of key components like the compressor. This can lead to hundreds or even thousands of dollars in repairs, so you should make sure to check the placement of your commercial refrigeration unit  make sure all fans are able to run freely, and keep vents away from walls. The contents are also an important thing to consider. If overloaded, your refrigerator may be unable to maintain the proper temperature and may work too hard to cool off, leading to premature failure of crucial components.

Regular maintenance performed by a professional is necessary to increase the lifespan of your commercial refrigeration system such as a walk-in cooler, refrigerator, or freezer. While you can inspect certain aspects of your unit yourself, there are other parts that need to be inspected several times a year. A professional will inspect and clean your evaporator and condenser coils, refill refrigerant and repair leaks as needed, and can make sure that your equipment is running as it should. All maintenance should be performed by a licensed and experienced professional.  

The best way to avoid a complete breakdown of your system is to use it as intended, inspect it regularly, and have maintenance performed often. Even though things like maintenance and minor repairs do cost money, you’ll save in the long-run by avoiding unnecessary and easily preventable breakdowns that could potentially cost thousands in repair or replacement costs


Accidents happen. But many can be avoided by following some simple and easy walk in cooler safety recommendations.

Following these tips, you and your employees can safely work in and around your walk-in refrigerator or freezer with your mind at ease.


Spills can cause accidental falls that lead to employee injury. Ice and frost build up can also melt and leave puddles that employees can slip in. Scrape any ice build up away to make surfaces less likely to cause injuries. Floor squeegees can help guide excess water into walk-in drains so that wet floors have a chance to dry. In addition, encourage any employees to wear rubber-soled shoes that help reduce the chance of slipping and falling.


Modern walk-in coolers & freezers come with safety releases on doors to avoid the risk of accidental entrapment. Employees locked inside a walk-in cooler are at risk of hypothermia or even death since temperatures can be below freezing. Be sure to regularly check safety releases to make sure they are functioning properly. Employees can also practice a buddy system when entering the walk-in to be extra cautious.


Regularly cleaning your walk-in refrigeration systems lowers the risk of mold or fungus buildup. Exposure to mold can lead to symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, and other sinus troubles. Mold can harm employees as well as ruin inventory. Regularly cleaning your walk-in will help minimize the risk of mold exposure.


Not only does an over packed freezer become less efficient but overloaded shelves can collapse under the excess weight. Employees can have inventory items fall on top of them if shelves break or malfunction. Many shelves have a maximum weight that should not be exceeded. Protect your inventory and your employees by keeping your walk-in organized and do not fill it beyond capacity. Read more in our previous post on walk-in cooler & freezer organization.


Cold weather garments can be stored near your walk-in unit so that employees can easily access them. Wearing these clothes and accessories lowers the risk of circulation problems for your employees and they will be more comfortable while working inside of the walk-in unit.

By following the steps above, you can greatly reduce the risk of accidents and injuries associated with your walk-in cooler. Day to day operations can run more smoothly and your employees will be safer at their place of employment

Five Signs it is Time to Replace Your Walk-In Cooler

No business-owner wants to hear that it’s time to replace a walk in refrigerator or freezer These investment appliances are essential to many businesses but aren’t the cheapest item to purchase. Old and inefficient walk-in coolers end up spending a lot of money over time due to costly repairs, lost stock, and high utility bills. Replacing your run down walk-in will help lower these costs and you can save in the long run.

Here are five signs that it may be time to start shopping for a new walk-in cooler:


If you notice that your utility bills have steadily increased over time it could mean the ability of your insulation is diminishing and is allowing heat to seep in, or cold air to escape out. Your cooler slowly works to attempt to fix this insulation problem by using extra energy. If you notice a dramatic hike in your utility bill from the previous months you may be dealing with a broken thermostat or motor that is causing the cooler to use a lot more energy than necessary since it can’t properly regulate itself.


If you find that you are regularly scraping ice out of your cooler or that you are losing items to frost bite there may be excess moisture allowing the ice to accumulate. Excess moisture is often caused by air leaks between panels or other cooler components.


Damaged seals can lead to water leaks and puddles. Stagnant and standing water can cause mold and mildew build up as well as ice accumulation. Avoid health inspection problems as well as lost inventory due to mold and mildew by keeping track of any leaks.


If your walk-in cooler is always working to regulate its temperature it may be time to replace your unit. As stated above, temperature fluctuate can be the symptom of many cooler problems such as, but not limited to, insulation failure or a broken thermostat.


If you regularly experience many perishable items spoiling before their expiration this is a sure sign of an operating problem within your cooler. Throwing away inventory that should not have gone bad is certainly frustrating but it may point to a larger storage problem that needs to be evaluated.

If you experience any of the signs above, we advise that you have a commercial refrigeration technician check your walk-in refrigerator or freezer for any damage or internal failures. If your repairs are beginning to burn a hole through your pocket you may want to consider replacing your unit with a new walk in cooler/freezer.

Proper Refrigeration Temperatures And Why They Matter

Commercial refrigeration units are a business investment. Since these units cost thousands of dollars, keeping them in working order is a necessity to avoid costly and time-consuming replacements and new installations. In order to keep a commercial refrigerator running as it should, it’s important to implement regular maintenance. Many business owners can perform some of these tasks themselves, while others are more complicated and require the help of a professional.

In order to ensure a unit works as it should, it should be installed correctly and placed in such a way that any fans aren’t covered. Improper installation or placement can lead to failure, even with regular maintenance.

At least every three months, the unit should be visually inspected to see if there are any visible issues. Are there puddles of water inside or around the unit? Is there a buildup of ice, or is a fan not spinning properly? If so, any of these issues will need to be inspected by a professional. Read our previous post on how to choose the right refrigeration mechanic.

Other parts of the unit that should be inspected include the condenser coil and blades, as well as electrical wiring and components. All fans should be running and should not be obstructed. The refrigeration cycle should be checked to make sure that it is cycling as it should.

A commercial refrigeration professional will need to access, check, and clean the evaporator coil and the condenser coil and blades to ensure proper operation. During this cleaning and inspection process, potential issues may be identified before they become big problems.

Other aspects of the commercial refrigerator should also be checked to make sure everything is functioning properly. This includes the seals on the doors, which can lead to cooling loss and higher energy bills, and the suction accumulator if a unit is equipped with one.

Drain lines should also be inspected and cleared if a clog has been detected. If the line is leaking, a replacement or repair will be necessary. The oil in the unit should be checked and tested, if necessary, and the thermometer should be checked for accuracy. If the unit is low on refrigerant, this will need to be filled by a professional, and any leaks repaired.

The maintenance process can be a bit time-consuming and it may seem like an unnecessary expense several times a year. However, this is just a minor cost and inconvenience that adds to the longevity of a refrigeration unit. Units that are not properly maintained increases electrical consumption, may lead to failed components, and could significantly shorten the lifespan of the unit. By keeping a refrigeration unit well maintained, a business owner may potentially save thousands over the long-term in extensive repairs or full replacements.

Choosing The Right Commercial Refrigeration Mechanic

Even the most advanced commercial refrigeration equipment encounters problems after years of use. With proper care, parts may still require replacement or upgrades. In addition, maintenance needs to be performed to ensure a commercial refrigerator cools as it should, maintains its efficiency, and doesn’t have premature failure of expensive parts. If a unit isn’t working the way it was intended, it’s time to call in a refrigeration mechanic. Since commercial refrigeration units can require extensive and complicated repairs, it is important to choose a mechanic that is ready to tackle any problem. Before picking up the phone, utilize these tips to find the best person for the job.

Anyone who works on a commercial refrigerator should be licensed and hold the proper certifications for the job. Certification ensures that the mechanic has had the proper training needed to perform the most difficult repairs. A license is required for commercial work within the state. Working with an unlicensed refrigerator mechanic may result in further damage and expenses, including full replacement costs. The mechanic should also have insurance (and have proof readily available) to protect himself, as well as your property, while working in case of an accident.

It’s also important to hire someone who has experience working specifically with commercial refrigeration equipment. It is perfectly acceptable to ask for references that you can call or e-mail to learn more about the mechanic’s experience. Testimonials, whether written through letters or posted online, should also be made available in order to prove competence. While working with someone new isn’t always a bad thing, it’s a good idea to choose someone who has repaired and maintained a variety of units. An experienced mechanic will have worked with units of different sizes, from various manufacturers. In addition, units often have different problems and a mechanic should be confident whether it’s replacing a compressor or simply performing routine maintenance.

Another way to gauge a mechanic’s level of experience is researching how long the individual or company has been in business. If a mechanic has been providing service for many years, it is one indicator of a successful business. The longer a mechanic has been working professionally, the more references and testimonials he will have from satisfied customers.

When it comes to expensive commercial refrigerators, hiring a mechanic based solely on rates, availability, or other unimportant criteria can be a gamble that can cost much more in the long run. By doing research and hiring a reputable commercial refrigerator mechanic, equipment can be restored to like-new condition without the worry of expensive replacements or further problems that can cost a fortune to remedy.