If you’re in the foodservice business, commercial refrigeration is one of your most important investments. Your commercial refrigeration system is vital to maintaining safe and proper food storage.
However, there will be times when a commercial refrigeration unit malfunctions. At those times, you must quickly bring your refrigeration units back online to ensure your food is consumable and your operations are compliant with health code regulations.
Here are some tips on commercial refrigerator troubleshooting.
Start with the Basics
If the commercial refrigerator does not seem to be running, check to see if it is turned on. If there is a switch, check to see if it is in the on position.
Check the plug and power outlet. If there is no power, it may not be the unit but the electricity. Sometimes faulty wiring can cause short circuits. Check the plug and the wiring to see if anything is broken or loose. You can use a non-contact voltage detector to test the presence of voltage in outlets. It is a quick way to find broken wires or loose connections.
If the commercial refrigerator is on, but not cooling, check the internal temperature with a thermometer to confirm the functioning of the thermostat. An incorrect temperature read could mean blocked vents or a broken thermostat.
Another reason the unit might not be cooling is worn gaskets. Regularly opening and closing refrigerator doors creates a lot of wear and tear on a unit’s gaskets. Check to see if the door is closing properly and sealing well.
Compressor, Condenser or Evaporator?
If it’s not the thermostat or gaskets, the problem might be the compressor. The compressor is the motor that distributes the coolant through the condenser and evaporator coils. You can usually diagnose a compressor problem if there is a loud noise coming from the unit. Compressors are sealed and are not easy to open up, fix and reseal. This means the compressor will have to be replaced.
If it’s not the compressor, it may be the condenser. The condenser coil removes free heat from the refrigerant so it can be used for cooling. Check to see if the condenser coils are clean. Sometimes coils get clogged or cracked, which can cause a refrigerant block or leak.
Next, check the evaporator coil. The evaporator coil pulls heat out of the inside of the unit. Sometimes the liquid inside the evaporator coil will freeze. The coil should be clean and the drain line should be clear.
You should also check the condenser or evaporator motor fans to see if they are rotating correctly. The condenser fan is located outside the unit and moves the refrigerant through the coil once it has been compressed. The evaporator motor fan is located inside the refrigerator on the ceiling or on the top of the unit.
Call for Support
Commercial refrigerator units are complex pieces of equipment. If you do not have experience handling maintenance issues on these systems, you should contact a refrigerator repair technician for assistance. A trained professional can help you fix the unit faster.
A regular maintenance plan with a professional technician can identify small problems before they become major repair issues. A repair technician can also tell you whether a part should be repaired or replaced, and if there are any warranty options available.