Commercial Refrigeration Trouble Signs To Watch For

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When you're fairly new to restaurant ownership, the appliance problems that can occur may be puzzling to you. This can be particularly true with refrigerators, because commercial refrigeration is an intricate and detailed system. The more you understand about your walk-ins, the easier it is to troubleshoot issues. Here's a look at a few common issues that can happen with restaurant refrigerators and the things you need to know about them.

What Happens When The Compressor Fails?

The compressor on the refrigerator is key for cooling because it generates the cold air that the system uses. If you can hear the compressor running in the system but there's no cold air or the refrigerator temperature is inconsistent, that may mean that the compressor is failing. Try resetting it first, because that may be enough to restore its function. Locate the compressor on the back of the unit. The reset button should be on one side of the compressor. Press and release the button, then wait to see if the refrigerator starts to cool down. If you don't notice cooler air in the refrigerator after a little bit of time has passed, the compressor may need to be replaced.

What If You See Ice Inside The Refrigerator?

Your walk-in should have a built-in defrosting system. This keeps ice at bay inside the unit. If you start to see ice inside the refrigerator, that may mean there's a problem with the evaporator. Take a look at the evaporator assembly on the back of the refrigerator to see if it's running. If it's frozen, you'll need to thaw it. Turn off the refrigerator for a minute and melt the evaporator ice with a hair dryer.  

Once the evaporator is thawed, restore power to the refrigerator. If it freezes back up again, you'll need a commercial refrigeration tech from a company like Hy-Point Restaurant Equipment & Supplies Inc. to evaluate it. There may be a clog in the refrigeration line, in which case you'd need to have the lines flushed. If the lines themselves are clear, the evaporator may need replacement.

What If The Refrigerator Power Fails Completely?

If there's no power to the system, the first place to check is the power cord itself. Look for signs of cracking, fraying or other damage from the point where it meets the refrigerator to the point where it meets the outlet. If there's any visible damage, the power issues could be due to a short in the power cord. Problems like this can put the system and your kitchen at risk of problems like electrical shorts. This can actually cause damage to appliances and may ultimately cause a fire.

If the power cord is in good condition and securely plugged in, you'll want to check the breaker. Make sure that the breaker isn't tripped. Reset it if you aren't sure, because that will cycle the power supply and potentially restore its functionality. If this doesn't fix the problem, you'll have to have the whole system inspected to determine where the trouble is.