Why Is My Walk-In Cooler Not Cooling?

Walk-in coolers are essential machines for restaurants, cafeterias, and food businesses. However, they are usually not noticeable until they develop problems. If your walk-in refrigerator is not cooling, it can spoil the inventory stored in it so you must act fast and consult commercial refrigerator services.

If you’re curious why your walk-in refrigerator is not cooling, here are the causes.

Incorrect Temperature Settings

This is a simple and easy-to-fix cause of a walk-in freezer not cooling. Check the temperature settings of your appliance and make sure they are correct. This is because a commercial facility is a busy place and many workers and staff members use a walk-in cooler.

Sometimes, the settings can be changed accidentally or someone changes the settings intentionally but fails to input the correct temperature.

Thermostat Problems

Most walk-in coolers and commercial refrigerators have an electromechanical thermostat. It includes a temperature sensor and an electric contractor. It works similarly to other thermostats. When the temperature rises to the set degree, the thermostat signals the compressor to start functioning. When the temperature is lowered to set the number, the compressor is turned off.

If your walk-in cooler is not cooling, the issue can be with the settings of the thermostat or the sensor or the thermostat itself is malfunctioning.

We discussed earlier incorrect temperature settings. But revisiting is essential keeping an electromechanical thermostat in mind. They have cut-in and cut-out settings.

Cut-in means the settings when the compressor should turn on and cut-on denotes the settings or temperature when the compressor is sent a signal to turn off. The temperature differential should be optimal. If it’s not, the compressor may turn off too early or keep working for too long. It can lead to temperature inconsistencies and damage to the components of the unit.

Have the settings checked by an expert who can ensure that they are correct. If the settings are fine, then the issue could be with the sensor or the thermostat. Only a technician should replace a temperature sensor or thermostat of a walk-in refrigerator.

The Door Gasket Is Worn

Another simple issue is the door not closing properly. Usually, the doors of the walk-in cooler shut perfectly but if the unit is older or if the upkeep is poor, the gasket will not seal the door. In turn, warm air from the outside with get into the unit, and the cool air will escape from the tiny spaces left by the worn gasket.

So, the unit will either not appear cool enough or the compressor will work longer to cool the unit. In the first case, you have a sign of a problem right away, but in the second case, the problem will not be easy to detect. However, the overworking of the compressor will lead to damage to the compressor and other components.

Let an appliance repair technician inspect the door gasket and suggest a fix. Sometimes, the door gasket is fixable, but a long-term solution is the replacement of the gasket.

Blocked Condenser

Walk-in coolers have a condenser on the roof or above the unit. A condenser turns the refrigerant from gas to liquid. In this process, the heat absorbed by the refrigerant is released outside. So, the condenser enables the refrigerant to throw heat outside. If the condenser is blocked, the heat won’t be released properly and the unit won’t work properly.

So, if your walk-in cooler is not cooling, check out the condenser and make sure it’s not obstructed by anything – not even a wall. Moreover, clean the condenser as well because dust and debris can cause invisible obstructions as well.

Condenser And Evaporator Fan

The condenser fan aids in dissipating heat from the condenser coils and keeping the compressor cool. If the condenser fan is not working, check the fan for obstructions that may be stopping it from rotating and clean the fan. If it’s still not working, the fan motor may be faulty.

An evaporator fan helps in blowing cold air into the cooler. If it’s not working, you should check it as well. First, for obstructions, and then inspect the motor. However, this inspection should be carried out by an expert who can not only check out the said components but also inspect other parts as well to fix the issue.

Damaged Insulation Panels

Walk-in coolers have insulation panels on the walls of the unit that aid in maintaining the temperature inside the unit. But these panels don’t last the entire life of the walk-in cooler so you need to check them if your commercial refrigerator is not cooling.

There are multiple types of insulation panels for walk-in coolers and the lifespan of each depends on the mean temperature of the unit, moisture, and ice.

You should take note of the condition of the insulation panels if they have been on for 10 years. A sign of damaged insulation panels is leaking. But if you want to be sure, hire an expert to check out the panels and if they are past their lifespan, replace them.

Water Leaks

We have already mentioned that insulation damage can lead to leaks, but there are other causes of leaks also that may be the reason your walk-in cool won’t cool. Worn gaskets lead to puddles of water near the unit as well. Moreover, improper installation can cause leaks too.

Plus, check the drain lines of the unit because a blocked drain line will leave no escape for the water so it will stay on the floor of the cooler or leak through the door if the door is opened frequently.

Bear in mind that water leaks not only indicate that something is wrong that you should fix, but they also give way to mold and mildew growth. You don’t want a health inspector to see this. So, find the cause of the leaks and fix it and then properly clean the unit as well.

Frozen Evaporator Coils

Firstly, mild frost on the evaporator coils is considered normal for walk-in coolers but not for residential refrigerators. However, if the buildup layer of ice is thick, it shows that the defrost cycle is not functioning or any other problem is causing this.

The freezing of the coils will restrict the heat transfer process. The compressor is overworked to produce more pressure for a better heat transfer rate. Moreover, if the ice buildup is extreme, the compressor might run all the time.

In this process, the walk-in cooler will consume more power, and the risk of damage to any components increases.

Older Unit

A walk-in cooler that is too old will break down often. For instance; if you replaced the insulation panels and thought that the unit won’t need any other repair in some time, you will notice leaks in the unit. So, you will need to have it repaired again.

Therefore, if your walk-in cooler is struggling to cool and it’s older than 15 years, then you should consider the replacement of the entire unit instead of a repair.


The common causes of a walk-in cooler not cooling are incorrect settings, damaged gasket, thermostat issues, obstructed compressor, fan motor malfunctions, and old age of the unit. Hire a walk in cooler repair Fairfax technician to fix this problem.