Commercial Refrigeration Repair & Maintenance

by | May 22, 2023 | Refrigeration

The food and hospitality industries rely heavily on commercial refrigeration systems to store and preserve perishable products in large quantities. Whether it’s breweries & distilleries, catering, meat & dairy, restaurants, hospitals, flower shops, or other businesses, the proper functioning of these refrigeration systems is essential.

In this blog article, we will explore the significance of commercial refrigeration in the food and hotel sectors. We will delve into the importance of commercial refrigeration repair and maintenance, highlighting common issues faced by businesses relying on these systems.

What is Commercial Refrigeration?

Refrigeration systems are basically cold storage equipment used in commercial settings to store and preserve perishable commodities in the food and hospitality industries. Commercial refrigeration systems come in a variety of sizes and designs, including walk-in cooler, refrigerators, and showcases. They all work by using refrigerants to remove heat from the air inside the unit. This keeps the temperature inside the unit cool, which helps to preserve the quality of the stored goods.

Commercial refrigeration systems are an important part of many businesses. They help to ensure that food is safe to eat and that other perishable goods are kept in good condition. As a result, it is important to properly maintain and repair these systems. 

Why is Commercial Refrigeration Important?

Commercial refrigeration plays a critical role in maintaining the quality and safety of perishable goods. Improper handling or storage of food can result in dangerous bacteria growth, leading to foodborne illnesses and even fatalities. The CDC reports that 1 in 6 Americans suffer from foodborne illnesses annually, resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.

To prevent foodborne illnesses, businesses in the food and hospitality industry must adhere to stringent food safety standards. Proper temperature control is crucial. Perishable items should be stored at or below 40°F (4°C) to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria, as advised by the FDA. Failure to maintain the correct temperature can lead to rapid bacterial multiplication, posing risks of food poisoning and other health hazards.

What are the common problems with commercial refrigeration?

Commercial refrigeration systems are complex and require regular maintenance to operate at their best. However, even with proper maintenance, these systems can still experience problems. Here are some of the most common problems that businesses with commercial refrigeration encounter:

  • Compressor Issues: The compressor is the heart of the refrigeration system, and it can fail for a number of reasons, including refrigerant leaks, overheating, and electrical problems. When the compressor fails, the entire system will stop working.
  • Evaporator Fan: The evaporator fan helps to circulate air through the refrigeration unit, and if it fails, the air will not be able to circulate properly, which can lead to uneven cooling and temperature fluctuations.
  • Electrical/Power problems: Faulty electrical connections, motors, and compressors can all cause problems with the refrigeration system. In some cases, these problems can be minor and can be fixed by a qualified technician. However, in other cases, the problems may be more serious and may require the replacement of the entire refrigeration unit.
  • Blocked vents: Dirty condenser coils can block the airflow to the compressor, which can cause the compressor to overheat and fail. To prevent this, it is important to clean the condenser coils regularly.
  • Temperature problems: Faulty thermostats can cause the refrigeration system to operate at the wrong temperature, which can lead to food spoilage. It is important to have the thermostat checked regularly to ensure that it is functioning properly.
Refrigeration Problems

By being aware of the most common problems with commercial refrigeration, businesses can take steps to prevent these problems from occurring and to keep their refrigeration systems running smoothly.

Commercial Refrigeration Repair

For many organizations, especially those in the food and hospitality sectors, commercial refrigeration is a crucial component. Commercial refrigeration devices can malfunction, though, just like any other mechanical device. The loss of a lot of money, food waste, and even serious health risks can result from a broken refrigeration system. We will go over how to spot typical commercial refrigeration issues, solve them, and fix the appliance in this article.

How to identify a commercial refrigeration problem

Detecting the issue is the first step in refrigeration system repair for businesses. The following are typical indications of a refrigeration issue:

  • Temperature swings: If the refrigeration system’s temperature is inconsistent, there can be a problem. To guarantee the quality and security of commodities being stored, a refrigeration unit needs to operate at a constant temperature.
  • Noises that are strange: If the refrigeration unit is generating unusual noises, there may be a problem. The compressor or fan motor may be having problems if you hear unusual noises.
  • Ice buildup: If there is a significant accumulation of ice on the evaporator coils, it can be a sign that the defrost system is malfunctioning.
  • Leaks: Leaks from the refrigeration unit may indicate a serious issue. The loss of refrigerant due to a refrigeration leak could result in an issue with the appliance.

How to troubleshoot common commercial refrigeration problems

Once you have identified a potential problem with your commercial refrigeration equipment, the next step is to troubleshoot it. Troubleshooting involves identifying the source of the problem and attempting to resolve it. The following list of common commercial refrigeration problems is accompanied by solutions:

Refrigeration unit won’t turn on: This could be caused by a faulty thermostat, an electrical problem, or a failed compressor. To troubleshoot this issue, first, check that the thermostat is operating properly and is set to the desired temperature. If the thermostat is operating properly, check the electrical connections to make sure they are secure. If all else fails, there may be a problem with the compressor that will need to be repaired by a qualified technician.

Temperature swings: Temperature swings can be caused by a number of things, including a broken fan motor, dirty condenser coils, or a bad thermostat. To troubleshoot this issue, first, check the thermostat and adjust it as needed. If the thermostat is operating properly, look for dirt or debris on the condenser coils. If the coils are dirty, clean them thoroughly. If neither the thermostat nor the condenser coils are the issue, the problem may be a bad fan motor that will need to be replaced.

Evaporator coil ice buildup: This can be caused by a malfunctioning defrost mechanism or a refrigerant leak. To troubleshoot this issue, first, check the defrost system to make sure it is working properly. If the defrost system is operating as it should, the problem may be a refrigerant leak that will need to be repaired by a qualified technician.

Leaks: Refrigeration leaks can be caused by a number of things, including a broken or corroded refrigerant line or a malfunctioning valve. If you suspect that there may be a refrigerant leak, turn off the appliance immediately and call a qualified technician to repair it.

It is important to note that these are just a few of the most common commercial refrigeration problems. If you are unable to troubleshoot the problem yourself, it is always best to call a qualified technician.

How to repair a commercial refrigeration unit

The following step is to repair the device if you’ve located the issue with the business refrigeration unit and made an effort to troubleshoot it. It is crucial to remember that some repairs need a qualified technician’s knowledge and experience.

Repair Refridgerator
  • Replacing a Thermostat that is defective: A defective thermostat has to be replaced. Shut off the power supply, Disconnect the cable, and remove the thermostat from the appliance. The wire of a new thermostat should be connected and the electricity should be turned back.
  • Cleansing condenser coils: Dusty condensing coils shall be cleaned. Use a soft-bristled brush or compressed air to clear any dirt or debris from the coils after turning off the unit’s power and removing the access panel. Switch on the power after replacing the access panel.
  • Replacing fan motor: Broken fan motors ought to be replaced. Turn off the electric supply of the unit and remove the access panel, disconnect the fan motor’s wiring. A new fan motor shall be replaced in place of the old one before re-engaging the power supply.
  • Defrost renewal: A defrost system can be rebuilt if it is broken. Remove the access panel, shut down the power to the appliance, and find the defrost system. Identify if there is any damage over it may it be a broken heater or thermostat defrost. Before putting the power back on, repair any damaged parts and reinstall the appliance.
  • Refrigerant leak repair: If there is a refrigerant leak, a qualified specialist will need to fix it. Leaks of refrigerant can be dangerous and require special tools to fix.

Commercial Refrigeration Maintenance

Businesses that rely on the storage and preservation of perishable items need to maintain their commercial refrigeration systems. Regular maintenance can help ensure the equipment is running properly, prolong its life, and help prevent potential problems. This section discusses the causes of commercial refrigeration problems, how to maintain a commercial refrigeration unit, and how to schedule routine commercial refrigeration maintenance.

How to prevent commercial refrigeration problems

Regular maintenance is the first step in preventing commercial refrigeration problems. To ensure that their system is operating properly and to avoid potential problems, businesses can also take a number of other measures, such as:

Regular Cleaning: One of the key steps in preventing commercial refrigeration problems is regular cleaning. Make sure to clean the interior and exterior of the unit on a consistent basis. This helps prevent the accumulation of dust, dirt, and debris that can hinder the efficiency of the system. Pay special attention to cleaning the condenser and evaporator coils as they are prone to collecting dirt and affecting the cooling process.

Proper Temperature Monitoring: Regularly monitor the temperature of your commercial refrigeration unit. Fluctuations or deviations from the desired temperature can indicate potential issues. Use a reliable thermometer to check and record the temperature readings. This allows you to identify any problems early on and take appropriate measures to prevent further complications.

Inspect and Maintain Door Seals: The door seals of your commercial refrigeration unit play a crucial role in maintaining the desired temperature. Regularly inspect the door seals for any signs of wear, damage, or dirt buildup. Damaged or dirty door seals can result in air leaks and temperature fluctuations, impacting the efficiency of the unit. Clean or replace the door seals as needed to ensure a proper seal.

Optimize Airflow: Adequate airflow is essential for the efficient operation of a commercial refrigeration unit. Ensure that there are no obstructions around the unit that can restrict airflow. Clean the condenser and evaporator coils regularly to prevent dust and debris buildup, which can hinder heat exchange. Additionally, keep the surrounding area well-ventilated to facilitate proper airflow and prevent overheating.

How to maintain a commercial refrigeration unit

Cleaning and checking on a commercial refrigeration unit on a regular basis is the first step in maintenance. However, there are numerous other measures organizations can take to ensure their system is operating successfully, including:

Regular Maintenance Schedule: Establish a routine maintenance schedule for your commercial refrigeration unit. This includes periodic inspections and servicing by a qualified technician. Regular maintenance helps identify and address potential problems before they escalate, ensuring the unit operates optimally.

Condenser Coil Cleaning: Clean the condenser coils at regular intervals to remove dust, dirt, and debris. Dirty condenser coils restrict heat dissipation, leading to increased energy consumption and potential system breakdowns. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines or consult a professional technician for proper cleaning procedures.

Monitor Refrigerant Levels: Proper refrigerant levels are crucial for the efficient cooling of your commercial refrigeration unit. Regularly check the refrigerant levels and ensure they are within the recommended range. Low refrigerant levels can result in inadequate cooling and compressor damage. If necessary, consult a professional to recharge the refrigerant.

Check Electrical Connections: Inspect the electrical connections of your commercial refrigeration unit for any signs of loose or damaged wires. Faulty electrical connections can lead to operational issues and even pose safety hazards. If you notice any problems, contact a qualified technician to rectify the issues promptly.

Keep Drain Lines Clear: Commercial refrigeration units often have drain lines to remove condensation. Over time, these drain lines can get clogged with debris, leading to water leakage or drainage issues. Regularly inspect and clean the drain lines to ensure proper functioning.

How to schedule commercial refrigeration maintenance?

To run smoothly and without any problems, regular maintenance of the commercial refrigeration system is a must. The most in-demand schedule for service companies is before the summer and winter season which is advised twice a year. Businesses can fix timely maintenance too:

  • Find a skilled technician: It’s crucial to hire an experienced technical guy to maintain the commercial refrigerator. A technician who is skilled has the experience and knowledge to locate issues and fix them before any breakdown. By contacting the product’s manufacturer or groups, businesses can spot competent technicians.
  • Timely schedule: Companies should run a maintenance program to tie up with technicians who are well-known in the industry for their skills. The schedule should include a list of technicians, their regularity and previous reviews, etc.
  • Maintenance activities tracking: The date of maintenance and activities in maintenance are important to be in records so that a customer should be billed only on the part out of warranty and it makes the issue detection easy since a certain part was replaced last time so it is not the one malfunctioning here. The unit’s performance can be tracked using this documentation, which can also be used to spot possible issues before they get out of hand.
  • Conduct routine inspections: Organizations should conduct routine inspections of the unit in addition to routine maintenance in order to spot any issues. A wear and tear inspection can save you a lot of money in the future by detecting temperature fluctuations or any other damage.
  • Educate personnel: Companies should educate staff on how to properly operate commercial refrigeration equipment. Staff members should receive training on how to change the unit’s temperature settings, clean it, and spot any issues.

How to find a qualified commercial refrigeration repair company?

Finding a qualified commercial refrigeration repair company is essential. It is recommended to look for a company that is licensed, insured, and experienced in working with commercial refrigeration systems. You can also ask for references and read reviews to ensure the company has a good reputation.

What are the requirements to be a quality commercial repairman? Repairing commercial refrigeration equipment requires specialized knowledge and training. Here are some of the qualifications and training that are typically required to work on this equipment:

Education: A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required to begin training in this field. Some employers may prefer applicants with additional education or training in refrigeration technology, such as a technical or trade school diploma or an associate degree.

Apprenticeship or on-the-job training: Most commercial refrigeration technicians learn their skills through apprenticeships or on-the-job training. Apprentices typically spend several years in both the classroom and with a qualified technician on the job.

Certifications: Many employers prefer or require technicians to hold industry certifications, such as those offered by the Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association (RETA) or the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) organization. These certifications demonstrate that technicians have the knowledge and skills needed to perform their jobs safely and effectively.

 Licenses: Technician licenses are required in some cities and/or states for a technician to work without supervision. The specific requirements for obtaining a license can vary but usually involve passing an exam and demonstrating a certain level of knowledge and experience.

Ongoing training: It is important for technicians to keep up with current technology, standards, and techniques. As technology and equipment continue to evolve, Ongoing training and continuing education can help technicians stay current with the latest technologies and best practices.

Overall, becoming a qualified commercial refrigeration technician typically requires a combination of education, on-the-job training, certifications, and licenses.


Commercial refrigeration is a complex and specialized field that demands in-depth knowledge of the equipment and the skills to troubleshoot and repair various issues. If you encounter problems with your commercial refrigeration equipment, it is crucial to promptly engage the services of a qualified technician for repair and maintenance. Delaying repairs can result in additional equipment damage, food spoilage, and other costly consequences.



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