Commercial Refrigerator Condenser Problems

Commercial refrigeration systems are a vital part of many businesses, from grocery stores to restaurants. In addition to keeping food items and other perishables at safe temperatures, commercial refrigeration systems can impact productivity levels, energy bills, and product safety. A preventive maintenance program is a necessity to ensure that your refrigeration systems function properly and efficiently. Some common commercial refrigeration problems business professionals should be aware of include issues with the commercial refrigerator condenser and commercial refrigerator evaporator coils. In this blog, we’ll discuss some of the most common commercial refrigeration condenser problems that business owners should be wary of.

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Ice Buildup in Refrigerator

When warm air from outside enters a commercial refrigerator, you will tend to see a buildup of ice. Frost or ice forming on the inside of refrigerated compartments could indicate a number of problems including improper air ventilation, faulty door gaskets, and refrigerant leaks. Ice buildup could also be a result of the refrigerator doors being opened too often or left open for a long amount of time.

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Failure to Maintain Temperature Levels 

If your commercial refrigeration system is unable to provide enough cooling for your food items, it may be due to several issues including:

  • Dirty condenser and evaporator coils
  • Malfunctioning compressor or thermostat
  • Incorrect temperature settings
  • Dirty fans
  • Inadequate airflow inside the refrigerator
  • Door gaskets that aren’t sealing properly
  • Refrigerant leaks
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A malfunctioning compressor can produce significant temperature fluctuations inside a commercial refrigerator. It can also affect its overall performance and efficiency. A malfunctioning compressor is forced to work harder and longer to maintain the desired temperature levels in a commercial fridge. The discharge temperature often exceeds the recommended limit set by the manufacturer, and eventually leads to the compressor overheating. Some of the causes of this problem include:

  • Dirty condenser and/or evaporator coils
  • Under-charge of refrigerant or incorrect oil-refrigerant ratio can lead to increased suction temperatures
  • Leak in discharge or relief valve which results in excessive heat generation

Ice Buildup on Evaporator Coils

Another common problem among commercial refrigeration systems is an accumulation of ice on the evaporator coils.

This negatively affects the cooling abilities of the system which eventually leads to inefficient refrigeration.

Addressing the root cause of ice buildup on the evaporator coils and solving the issue in a timely manner is very important. 

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Ice may form on the evaporator coils due to:

  • Extremely low-temperature settings
  • Dirty fans and filters with improper airflow
  • Dirt and debris accumulation 
  • Evaporator fan motor failure 
  • Malfunctioning defrost system

Lack of lubrication is another reason why your commercial refrigeration compressor may fail. This causes excess friction and will lead to the compressor overheating. If you’re having issues with your commercial unit’s compressor, it’s important to have a professional look at it right away.

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Clogged Condenser Coils

Over time, the refrigerant can start to collect in the condenser coils and clog them. This will cause poor air circulation and it will impact your commercial refrigerator’s ability to maintain the right temperature.

The solution is as simple as cleaning the coils. To clean clogged condenser coils, you need to disconnect the commercial unit from the power source and remove the toe grille. This is a more complicated procedure that may require tools – this may be best for trained professionals to handle like the ones at Antarctic Refrigeration.

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Condenser Fan Problems

The compressor and condenser coils normally heat up from absorbing the hot air pushed out of the commercial refrigerator interior components. They typically require a fan to remain cool. If the fan isn’t operating correctly, the compressor is prone to overheating and the internal temperature of your commercial fridge may rise. 

A simple way to fix this problem is to remove the obstructions and replace the fan motor. If there are foreign objects in the fan’s way, the condenser fan can’t spin properly. If the blades are unobstructed, a technician might replace the fan motor.

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Strange Noises

Commercial refrigerators produce a lot of noise due to their internal equipment like the compressor, fans, and motors. But unfamiliar sounds and abnormal noise levels may be a sign of more serious issues like a misaligned fan motor or compressor failure.

Contact the Pros

Regardless of the issues, you may be facing with your commercial refrigeration system, it’s important to have a professional technician regularly evaluate and maintain your unit. When problems arise with your commercial refrigerator condenser or the entire unit, it can cause unnecessary delays or obstacles when it comes to running your business. With over 35 years of industry experience, our team of qualified technicians has provided commercial & industrial refrigeration services across the Greater Toronto Area. Contact us today to learn more about our commercial refrigeration services or to schedule a service call!

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