commercial refrigerator service

How To Diagnose A Commercial Refrigerator

As a business owner, your refrigerator is one of the most important appliances in your establishment. And with that said, having a fridge that is not functioning properly can be a frustrating experience for anyone. Unfortunately, attempting to fix your unit by yourself can lead to further problems and can actually make things worse if you don’t know what you’re doing.

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Refrigerator Is Not Cold Enough

The most common cause of a fridge not cooling enough is damaged or dirty condenser coils. If your coils are clogged or not functioning correctly, it will reduce your unit’s cooling capacity as the unit won’t be able to dissipate heat properly.  You want to clean your coils at least once a year to prevent the build-up of dust, debris, or other substances. You’re also going to want to check your fan motors. Especially if they are unusually noisy or producing a burnt smell, they will likely need to be replaced.

Faulty Thermostat

Thermostat Repair

If you notice that your food isn’t lasting as long or isn’t as cold as you expect it to be when you remove it from the fridge, there may be something wrong with your thermostat. A faulty thermostat can lead to your fridge not being cold enough or actually being far too cold as well. To test if your thermostat is working correctly, rotate it manually from the coldest to the warmest temperature. If you hear the thermostat clicking on, it is likely working as it should. If you do not hear any clicking, it might be time to replace your thermostat.

Damaged Door Gasket

Refrigerator Door Gasket Replacement

A damaged door gasket will prevent your fridge from sealing properly when it closes. This will allow cold air to escape and in turn, will reduce the cooling capacity of your unit. You can perform a quick DIY test to determine if your gaskets are sealing in cool air properly and keeping the heat out. Start by closing the fridge door with a piece of paper stuck between the door and the unit. After you have closed the door, try to pull out the piece of paper. If the paper comes out with little resistance, your gaskets are not sealing properly. On the other hand, if the paper comes out, but requires a little extra effort to remove, your gaskets are sealing as they should. You may need to replace your gaskets if they aren’t functioning correctly, but you can also try applying some petroleum jelly to them first to see if that helps improve the situation.

Leaking Compressor

Refrigerator Compressor Replacement

If you notice your food is not as cold, or that it isn’t lasting as long in your fridge as it once did, it could be a sign your unit has a freon leak.

Not only could this result in a reduced cooling capacity for your unit, but it could also negatively impact your health. In fact, leaking freon can cause respiratory problems and lung irritations. If your fridge is leaking freon, you may notice a chemical smell emanating from it. Your unit’s motor may continuously run as well, as the unit tries to cool itself but isn’t able to do so.

Leak detection kits are available for purchase, but your best bet is likely to call a professional.

Refrigerator Won’t Work

If your fridge suddenly stops working altogether, it is likely a problem regarding its power supply. Therefore, you’re going to want to check the power cord and socket to see if you can pinpoint the problem. Alternatively, you’ll also want to check to make sure that you haven’t blown a fuse or tripped a breaker.

Power Supply Problems

Refrigerator Won't Turn On

If you suspect a power supply issue, only proceed with troubleshooting if you’re absolute sure you know what you’re doing. If not, you risk damaging your unit, and there’s also a very serious risk of electric shock. However, there are a few things you can do if your refrigerator is not being powered properly. For starters, flip the circuit breaker that your fridge is connected to into the “off” position. Then, unplug the unit before checking the power cord and wall outlet.

If anything is damaged, appears corroded, or is visibly worn out, you may need to replace these components. Then, plug the fridge back in securely, and switch the circuit breaker back to “on” to see if the fridge powers back up.

Burnt Main Board

Faulty Control Board

If you notice that your unit’s fans are running while the compressor is off, you may have a problem with your unit’s main motherboard. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for these mainboards to burn out after being in use for an extended period of time. Sometimes, this happens due to a power surge or faulty wiring somewhere else in the unit.

If you discover the motherboard has been burnt, you may want to inspect your fans as well to make sure they haven’t sustained any damage. If you purchase a new motherboard, but your unit still has faulty wiring or components, they will damage the new motherboard, if they aren’t replaced or fixed. New motherboards can easily be purchased, but you need to determine the cause of the initial breakdown before replacing any parts.

However, if you’re unable to pinpoint any issues with your unit’s power supply, a professional appliance technician might be needed to resolve the issue.