Maintaining a Commercial Refrigerator

Troubleshooting Tips for Optimal Performance

In any food service establishment, a functional refrigerator is the heartbeat of your kitchen operations. However, due to its constant use, it may require more attention than other appliances. Every food service establishment owner or manager should be equipped with the knowledge to troubleshoot common problems that commercial refrigerators often face. Let’s delve into essential checks when encountering power issues, temperature fluctuations, or water leakage onto your kitchen floor.


Refrigerator Is Not Turning on or Not Receiving Power

If your commercial refrigerator refuses to turn on, a series of simple checks can ensure it receives the proper power supply:

  • Confirm the unit’s power switch is in the “on” position.
  • Verify if the refrigerator is properly plugged in, and check the functionality of the outlet.
  • Examine the power cord for any signs of fraying or splitting, both in the wall and on the unit.
  • Avoid using extension cords to maintain the unit’s warranty.
Refrigerator Is Not Cold Enough

If your commercial refrigerator‘s temperature is not adequately low, consider the following:

  • Validate the temperature gauge accuracy using a thermometer.
  • Allow the refrigerator to sit for a minimum of 4 hours after installation. However, if it was delivered sideways, we recommend waiting 24 hours to allow the gas to settle properly and ensure effective functionality
  • Monitor door openings to ensure they are not excessive.
  • Check the door seal and replace gaskets or hinges if necessary.
  • Assess kitchen conditions, avoiding direct sunlight, excessive heat, or overcrowding.
  • Ensure proper installation of shelves for adequate air circulation.
  • Confirm ample space around the refrigerator for proper air circulation.
  • Examine the compressor and clean condenser coils as needed.
Ice Is Building Up or the Refrigerator Is Too Cold

If your unit experiences ice buildup or excessive coldness, consider these troubleshooting steps:

  • Verify proper door closing to prevent temperature fluctuations.
  • Assess the functionality of the evaporator fan and consider repairs if needed.
  • Investigate freezing coils, which may indicate pressure issues requiring professional attention.
  • Check the defrost cycle for refrigerators with auto-defrost; replace the defrost timer if necessary.
  • If manual defrost is required, ensure regular maintenance when ice buildup reaches a quarter of an inch.
Refrigerator Is Leaking Water

Address water leakage issues by considering the following:

  • Manage kitchen humidity to prevent excess moisture affecting the unit.
  • Ensure the refrigerator sits on even flooring to avoid overflow from the evaporator pan.
  • Check the evaporator pan’s absorbent wicking for mold, wear, or oversaturation, and replace it if necessary.
  • Assess the pan’s water level, as excessive water may indicate a compressor problem.

For open merchandisers, a bonus tip recommends changing the wicking pad every six months based on restaurant humidity levels to maintain optimal performance. For additional details on handling excess water in open display cases, refer to this guide.

In case your commercial refrigerator encounters issues, always ensure the coils are clean, provide sufficient clearance for airflow, and discourage prolonged or frequent door openings. For unclear problems, refer to this troubleshooting guide for assistance. By following these maintenance tips, you can ensure your commercial refrigerator operates at its best, promoting food safety and efficiency in your kitchen. Don’t forget to bookmark or print this guide for quick reference!