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.



Fixed: Commercial Refrigerator Is Not Reaching The Set Temperature

A commercial refrigerator that doesn’t maintain the temperature or doesn’t reach the temperature can spoil the food stored inside it. To avoid this situation, inspect your commercial fridge regularly and get the services of a commercial refrigerators repairs professional. You can also learn more about why your commercial refrigerator is not reaching the temperature by giving this guide a read.

Inspect The Power Source

Try a simple technique fix. Turn it off, wait for 30 seconds, and then turn on the refrigerator. Some issues are fixed with this method. Plus, check the power source of the refrigerator and the power cord. Make sure it’s plugged in correctly and the outlet is functional.

Moreover, if there is an extension cord used for powering the refrigerator, remove it and plug it into an outlet directly.

Check The Location Of The Refrigerator

Move on to check the placement of your commercial refrigerator. Any fridge should not be placed too close to the wall because it will restrict the ventilation and the refrigeration process of the appliance. Ensure there is at least 2 inches of clearance between the walls and the sides of the commercial refrigerator.

Furthermore, the temperature of the place where the refrigerator is located also impacts its cooling ability. Usually, if the placement of the refrigerator is in a hot place with poor ventilation, it won’t be a surprise if the commercial refrigerator struggles to reach the cooling temperature. In that case, change the location of your commercial refrigerator.

Clean The Condenser Coils

Condenser coils help in removing the warm temperature of the refrigerant that is inside the coils. They are placed at the exterior of a commercial refrigerator to effectively remove heat. In that, they receive dust, dirt, and other contaminants from the air that stick to the coils.

With the buildup of dust on condenser coils, the capability of them removing heat decreases. This results in the refrigerator not cooling properly or not maintaining the temperature inside.

Therefore, clean the condenser coils regularly to prevent this problem. The cleaning process of the condenser coils is easy and your staff can easily carry it out.

  1. Remove the power cord of the commercial refrigerator from the outlet.
  2. Move all the items stored in the unit to another refrigerator if this process sounds longer to you depending on what type of food is stored in your refrigerator.
  3. Locate the coils. They may be at the bottom front of the refrigerator or at the back.
  4. Remove the cover if any and use a stiff brush to gently clean the coils.
  5. Then, vacuum the coils.
  6. Put the cover back and turn on the refrigerator.

Check The Doors

Many problems related to the doors can lead to a commercial refrigerator not maintaining the temperature.

Firstly, check if the doors are closed properly. During the usage, if a staff member or a customer (if the refrigerator is accessible to customers) opens the door and doesn’t close it completely, it will affect its temperature because warm air will keep coming in.

Then, check the usage of the refrigerator. If the doors are opened and closed too many times in a short time, this will also impact the cooling process of the refrigerator. Hot air from the outside will sneak in every time the refrigerator is opened. Due to the sheer frequency of the opens, the refrigerator will take much more time in reaching the temperature or won’t reach the temperature at all.

After clearing the above suspicion, check the door gaskets. These are installed on the entire part of the door that connects to the fridge when it’s closed. The gaskets ensure no air leaks from or get into the refrigerator.

With usage, these gaskets become worn and stiff. Cool air may leak or warm air may get into the refrigerator leading to temperature issues. Hire an expert to replace the door gaskets as a long-term solution to this problem.

Look For Thermostat Issues

The thermostat in a commercial refrigerator takes care of temperature regulation. If it’s not working due to any reason, your refrigerator may become too cold or too warm. In short, it won’t reach your desired set temperature it won’t signal the control board at the correct time to cool the interior or stop cooling.

In some instances, the thermostat is not faulty but only blocked by food items. Sometimes, the vents are blocked by inventory. So, locate the thermostat to check if it’s blocked by anything.

Then, use can place a thermometer inside the refrigerator to check if the thermostat is faulty. If you see a difference between the readings of both devices, the thermostat is malfunctioning. Hire an expert who can check the thermostat. They may calibrate the thermostat or replace it.

Usage Habits

Commercial refrigerators are heavily used in restaurants and other food facilities. So, you should also look out for usage practices because some habits can impart adverse effects on the effectiveness of your commercial fridge.

For instance, it’s easier to just put hot food inside the refrigerator when the staff is dealing with a lot at peak hours. This will put more pressure on the refrigerator because it will have to cool a hot food item that is quickly changing the internal temperature of the fridge.

Moreover, hot food inside the refrigerator produces condensation that can damage the components of the unit.

Condenser Fan

Commercial freezers and refrigerators also feature a condenser fan. It’s located near the condenser coils and the compressor and cools these two important components which become hot during the cooling process. The fans circulate air and remove excess heat from the coils and the compressor to keep them functioning well.

So, check the fan. If it’s not rotating, clean it up and remove obstructions that may be stopping it from rotating. If the fan doesn’t work, then the fan motor may be failed. An expert will be required to check the fan motor and replace it if needed.

Check The Compressor

A compressor is a critical component for refrigerators. The cooling process starts when the thermostat signals the control board to turn on the compressor. The refrigerator then cools the interior and when the correct temperature is reached the thermostat again signals the control board to turn off the compressor.

But if the compressor is faulty, it will not properly run and the refrigerator won’t be cooled properly.

If you think that the compressor of your commercial refrigerator is malfunctioning, look for these signs:

  • Your refrigerator runs constantly and never turns off cooling.
  • The refrigerator doesn’t cool properly and doesn’t reach the temperature.
  • The fan runs but the refrigerator doesn’t get cold.
  • It trips the circuit breaker often.
  • The unit makes more noise than usual.
  • The power bill is crawling up.

Find any two signs relevant to your refrigerator. Have your commercial refrigerator inspected by an expert. Compressors of commercial refrigerators are expensive. Therefore, many experts first replace the compressor start relay because sometimes, it’s the culprit. If the new start relay doesn’t fix the issues, then they go ahead with compressor replacement.


Commercial refrigerators can run into problems with usage. If it’s not cooling, check the above-mentioned things. Allow a commercial freezer repairs Springfield expert to check the fridge and fix the cooling issue.