Commercial Refrigeration Troubleshooting Guide

Making sure your unit is running at peak performance is important when you own a commercial cooler or freezer. This will ensure that your inventory will not begin to defrost or spoil. If your commercial unit is experiencing issues like not having power, leaking, or problems with the compressor or evaporator fan, it may be time to troubleshoot these issues or speak to a qualified technician. In this blog, we’ll provide you with a guide to troubleshooting your commercial freezer issues, so you know when it’s time to call in a technician.

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Freezer Has No Power

It’s a bad sign if there are no lights or sounds coming from your freezer. This may indicate a blown fuse or something more serious that requires a repair. To troubleshoot this issue, make sure to check the following:

  • Power switch: turn the switch on and off to make sure it isn’t a simple fix like the power accidentally being turned off.
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  • Plug: make sure that the power cord hasn’t been knocked out of the socket. And look for signs that the power cord may be damaged like fraying or splits in the cord. Any damage to the cord is very dangerous and must be repaired by a technician immediately. If your unit uses an extension cord, check to see if there are any issues with it and if it’s still plugged in – avoid using an extension cord with your commercial freezer as it can be unsafe.
  • Fuse and circuits: your freezer may have a blown fuse or a tripped circuit. Take a look at your fuse box and look for a blown fuse, or if the circuit was tripped and has been turned off. In this case, you can flip the switch back on or replace the fuse. 

If you have tried all the steps above and your freezer still has no power, you need to call for assistance from a licensed technician.

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High Temperatures

If you open the door to your commercial freezer, and the air is too warm that is a bad sign. Consistently high temperatures in your freezer could cause the food inside to spoil or thaw at a fast pace. Continue reading the following steps to troubleshoot the issue:

  • Freezer location and position: if your freezer constantly feels too warm, consider where it’s located. It should be out of direct sunlight and away from any heating elements or equipment. It should also be away from the wall to ensure it has proper air circulation. 
  • Condenser coils: remove any dirt from the condenser coils located at the bottom of your commercial fridge. Dirty condensers can make your unit work harder and keep it from remaining cold. It’s important to clean your condensers often to avoid any future issues.
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  • Door gasket and hinges: check for any cracks along with the door frame seal, and open and close the door to check if it’s sealing shut properly. Damage to the door gasket and the door allows warm air to enter and cool air to escape. If the door gasket and hinges are damaged, it’s time for a repair. 
  • Thermostat: a malfunctioning thermostat may be sending the wrong messages to the cooling system so it thinks the freezer is cold when it isn’t. This results in adjusting the temperature to a higher temperature. Also, make sure that nothing is blocking the gauge. If this fails to work, the thermometer or gauge might be broken. If this is the case, it’s important to replace it immediately to ensure food is stored at a safe temperature.
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Low Temperatures

Ice buildup in the freezer is an issue with low temperatures in the freezer. To troubleshoot this issue, take a look a the following:

  • Defrost timer: if you see ice on the evaporator coils, it could mean that the auto-defrost function which is designed to thaw ice on the evaporator coils is malfunctioning. Contact a technician to have it replaced.
  • Pressure issues: if the auto-defrost timer is not the issue, you may have an issue with pressure. Call a technician to have a look and provide the right solution.
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Compressor Problems

Compressors are installed in freezers to regulate and maintain cold temperatures. Signs of trouble with your compressor include signs of dirt buildup and noisy operation. 

If your compressor isn’t dirty but still makes a loud noise, it’s time to call a technician for assistance.

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Evaporator Fan Problems

The purpose of the evaporator fan is to ensure that the unit has proper airflow. When there’s a problem with the evaporator fan, the fan will become noisier. You may also find dirt or ice buildup which is another sign of trouble.

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If you are finding pools of water in or around your commercial freezer, there is definitely something wrong. Be sure to check the following:

  • Drainage hose: your drainage hose may be tangled or blocked. If that is the case, make sure to clear it or straighten it out. 
  • Evaporator pan: check the evaporator fan to see if it is too full. If this is the case, you have a broken compressor on your hands and you need to call a technician.

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