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Troubleshooting walk-in refrigeration and freezers in the food industry

Noisy walk-in refrigerator, a freezer that’s failing to maintain a consistent temperature or puddles on the floor? Most common maintenance issues with commercial fridges and freezers are relatively straightforward to identify and fix.

Here are three of the most common troubleshooting issues with walk-in refrigerators and freezers and what needs to be done to resolve them.

1. A buildup of ice in a commercial freezer

Although an accumulation of ice and frost inside a commercial freezer might not immediately sound the alarm bells – it is supposed to freeze things after all – it can be caused by warm air entering the space higher than normal humidity levels. Both can indicate poor temperature regulation and potentially pose a food safety risk. Melting and refreezing of ice also causes moisture to enter and damage the interior components.

Possible causes and solutions:

    • The evaporator fan is not rotating properly and likely will need a professional repair
    • Faulty or clogged evaporator coils – you may be able to clean the coils yourself but this may need an engineer to inspect and replace them.
    • The doors are being left open too often – the simplest to fix. Self-closing hinges will help or a dehumidifier can be placed near the entrance to reduce humidity levels.

2. A build-up of water on the floor or condensation on the walls

This usually indicates a temperature problem which can quickly result in food going bad.

Possible causes and solutions:

      • The refrigerator or freezer is over its capacity for how much it can store and is struggling to keep everything cold. Reduce how much is in it or repack more in a more spaced out manner.
      • The door seals are faulty allowing too much air in or out and should be replaced
      • It may be a faulty drain mechanism, evaporator pan or condenser coil, each of which will need to be replaced by a professional.

3. Strange or stale smells

Usually caused by food that’s past its best, once you’ve ruled this out, a slightly curious stale smell is often a sign of a coolant leak.

Possible causes and solutions

      • The condenser is worn or malfunctioning and is in need of replacement.
      • Coolant is leaking from a pipe or component somewhere in the system. An inspection will usually be required to identify where this is before replacing the faulty part.

Many problems with walk-in refrigerators and freezers can have expensive consequences. The cost of replacing stock that has gone off and is no longer usable is often significant. Faults in fridge and freezer systems also often cause an increase in energy consumption which in the current climate of rising electricity bills can seriously hit your bottom line.

Often identifying the cause and resolving the problem requires calling out an HVAC engineer. Brooktech are experts in the installation and repair of commercial refrigeration systems. Give our team a call to find out more.

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