How To Prevent Your Commercial Refrigerator From Breakdowns?

A severe problem with your commercial refrigerator can lead to inventory loss. This means you would not only need to spend money on repairing the refrigerator but also must get fresh inventory. Some problems can’t be avoided, but some can be. If you take care of your refrigerator with the help of commercial refrigerator services, you can avoid many problems and enjoy a rather smooth functioning of your food business. Here are the things to do.

Tips For Avoiding Commercial Refrigerator Breakdowns

Choose The Right Location

Whether you’re just moving in a commercial refrigerator or already have a refrigerator in your facility, make sure you place it correctly. An ideal location for a commercial refrigerator is one that’s not too warm or humid. So, placing it too near the kitchen or any cooking equipment can lead to frequent breakdowns of the refrigerator.

Moreover, you should make sure that the vents and fans of the refrigerator have enough space to “breathe”. This means the refrigerator should not be closely placed alongside a wall. Instead, there must be a distance of 6-12 inches between the unit and the wall or any nearest item. Along with that, don’t keep any boxes or items near the refrigerator.

Why is this suggested? Because a refrigerator’s condenser coils and the compressor become hot during the refrigeration process. They must be able to throw heat outside using the fans for cooling. If anything is blocking the fans or vents, then the coils, the compressor, and the internal components will heat up. This will put stress on the components and eventually, the unit will break down.

Don’t Leave The Refrigerator’s Lights On

When putting inventory inside or taking something out from the refrigerator, lights are used. However, make sure the lights are not left on without any reason. That’s because lights produce heat inside the refrigerator so it will have to work more to cool down the interior.

Ensure That The Door Shuts Off Properly

A common cause of many commercial refrigerator problems involves improper closing of the refrigerator door. If the door of a commercial refrigerator is not closed or improperly closed, warm air will keep entering the unit. It will make the compressor and other parts overwork for cooling the interior. This will increase the wear and tear of the components and the risk of the unit breaking down apart from increasing the electricity bills and spoiling the stored food.

In worst cases, door problems can cause water leakage and freezing of the evaporator coils and the fans of the refrigerator.

So, the door of your commercial refrigerator should be opened only when required and closed firmly afterward. Moreover, frequently check the door seals and hinges. If you notice any problem, consult an expert.

Clean The Unit Including The Condenser And Evaporator Coils

For most restaurants and cafes, this is a part of their basic commercial refrigerator care routine, but in spite of it, some parts of the refrigerator are ignored like the condenser and evaporator coils. This can be because monthly deep cleaning is uncommon in comparison to the daily superficial cleaning.

The evaporator and condenser coils work together in the cooling process. In this, the condenser coils become hot and need to throw heat outside. When there are layers of dust on them, their heat transfer is affected. On the other hand, evaporator coils become cold and if they are not cleaned, they might freeze up.

Moreover, cleaning other parts of the refrigerator is essential as well such as the drain. If it’s not cleaned, it will become clogged. Clogged drain can cause standing water inside the unit. Plus, dust and dirt buildup on the fans slow down their movement. This also impacts the efficiency of the unit.

Therefore, apart from the daily cleaning, deep clean your commercial freezer or refrigerator at least once every month. You can also hire an expert for cleaning.

Check The Defrost Timer

The defrost timer is used to schedule automatic defrosting of your commercial refrigerator. Your refrigerator determines the best frequency of its defrost cycle by using the temperature, pressure, and timer controls. So, the defrost cycle of the same refrigerator used differently will be different. It can be between once every 2 hours to once a day.

You should check your refrigerator to make sure that the defrost timer is set correctly and that there is not too much frost on the vital parts like the fans and evaporator coils. If there is, then adjust the timer. If this doesn’t reduce ice in the unit, then any other component is malfunctioning. Consult a professional.

Notice The Sound Of The Refrigerator

You already know how your commercial freezer or refrigerator sounds, so frequently try to hear its sound and make sure that it’s normal. If you notice louder noises, call in an expert. Similarly, if you smell anything wrong like a burning smell, or a musty/sweet smell, reach out to a professional.

Clean The Air Filters

Like other refrigeration units, your commercial refrigerator also features air filters and you have to keep them clean. Not cleaning the air filters can damage them and reduce their efficiency. You should know that the air filters inside a refrigerator are made to keep the air inside the unit clean and the stored food fresh. Even if a food item expires, the mold or bacteria are caught in the air filters and mostly stopped from contaminating all the items in the refrigerator.

So, if they are damaged due to ignoring cleaning, they won’t be able to stop bacteria and other contaminants from attacking other foods. This can speed up food spoilage inside your refrigerator. Therefore, clean the air filters once a month to avoid problems. And have them inspected by a professional during an inspection so they are replaced if damaged.

Keep The Unit Dry

This sounds like a simple advice, but it’s an important one. If the interior of the refrigerator is too moist and any spills are not cleaned, it can lead to various problems like excessive freezing and the icing up of the internal components like the fans. So, clean up spills as they happen. Moreover, clean the interior of the unit once every week.

This tip is even more critical for walk-in units because spills or moisture on the floor can cause slips and someone can hurt themselves if they are not careful.

Schedule A Commercial Refrigerator Service

Even when you do take care of your commercial refrigerator or walk-in freezer properly, many things can’t be cleaned, inspected, or fixed by a layman. This is why you should have your commercial refrigerator serviced depending on your usage and the manufacturer’s instructions. You should have it serviced once every 3 to 6 months.

The professional will not only check the things that you normally do, but many things that you can’t like the compressor, electrical wiring, condenser coils, evaporator coils, fan motors, refrigerant levels, and others.


You can reduce the breakdown count of your commercial refrigerator significantly if you follow the above-mentioned tips. However, some problems are inevitable. So, if you do face any problem with your unit, consider commercial refrigerators repairs Fairfax immediately so an expert can take a look at the unit and suggest fixes.

Share this story!

Leave us a Comment