What Are The Reasons For A Commercial Refrigerator Not Working?

Commercial refrigerators are designed to store and keep several food items fresh at a time. If you own a commercial restaurant, having a smooth-running commercial refrigerator is of utmost importance. If they run into problems, immediately carry out commercial refrigerators repairs yourself or hire a technician. Let’s take a look at some common reasons along with troubleshooting tips.

The Thermostat is Set Too Warm

A thermostat set too warm is one of the first reasons your commercial refrigerator might not be working. If you observe that the unit is turned on but is not producing cool air, you do not need to panic. It’s not necessary that the unit needs expensive repairs or replacements.

The first thing you need to check is the thermostat. It is very common for such settings to be changed by employees without them even noticing. It might be that someone has accidentally touched the electronic control panel. So, first, check the temperature settings.

If that does not work out, consult the user manual to see if you can manually adjust the temperature. If it works but the electronic panel does not, it means there is a problem somewhere.

Refrigerator Overloaded With Items

Although, this is a basic tip when it comes to operating and maintaining a commercial refrigerator but is often ignored. Every unit comes with limited storage for food and other items. Some restaurant owners tend to overload the unit, which puts it under stress.

You need to keep in mind that there is a reason manufacturers design different compartments inside the refrigerator to keep the items cool. This design helps proper circulation and flow of cool air. However, if you were to stuff the storage area, the circulation would be affected.

Not only will the unit struggle to cool all the food items in the storage but also cause the air vents to become clogged. Furthermore, you should not overload the unit with warm products. This will again put the unit under stress and cause the overall temperature to drop.

Refrigerator Not Cooling Due to Excessive Door Opening

Commercial refrigerators are made to store a lot of inventory. However, the constant closing and opening of the refrigerator door could impede the performance of the unit. So, for a while, you might assume that the unit has malfunctioned and needs repair.

If the refrigerator is opened and closed several times in a minute, the cool air will escape and the refrigerator will take some time to cool all the items. Modern restaurant refrigerators come with smart technology that prevents access if the temperature inside compromises the quality of the food stored in the refrigerator.

But if your commercial refrigerator does not have that feature, you should inform the customers and employees to give it some time before you can open it again.

Improper Installation

Even though commercial refrigerators can be installed anywhere as long as there is enough space, there should not be any obstructions and the unit should not be pushed against the wall. Keep in mind that commercial refrigerators are heavy-duty machines that need to expel hot air to function properly.

So, if they are surrounded by obstructions or pushed against the wall, they will not be able to perform this function properly. As a result, the unit will come under stress and will not be able to maintain the temperature. Moreover, if the unit is installed near hot appliances, the unit will become directly affected by it.

Plus, the unit should also be placed on a leveled surface. If it is leaning to one side, you can expect some leakages or other problems. So, after the installation, make sure the refrigerator is level. If not, check the surface and the bottom of the refrigerator.

Clogged Condenser And Evaporator Coils

Commercial refrigerators like other kitchen appliances need regular inspection and maintenance. This maintenance is key to ensure smooth and effortless running. With time, components such as the condenser and evaporator coils become accumulated with dirt and dust.

The purpose of these coils is to dissipate heat. If there is an accumulation of dirt and dust, the coils will not be able to dissipate heat and will overheat as a result. Eventually, the unit’s performance will drop. So, in this case, you will need to get your refrigerator thoroughly cleaned by a professional.

To avoid such issues, you should regularly inspect the refrigerators and freezers and train your employees to clean them. But for complicated issues, only let a certified commercial freezer repairs Northern VA expert to inspect and fix your appliance.

Refrigerant Leaks

Refrigerant leaks are another common issue impeding the performance of commercial refrigerators. These leaks can occur even if the unit is new. In the case of a new unit, it might be due to improper installation or maintenance. However, if the unit is old, refrigerant leaks could take place due to cracks, rust, and other factors.

In most cases, the refrigerant leaks are so small that they are not even visible. So, if you observe your commercial refrigerator constantly tripping or not throwing cool air, it means the gas is gone. Refilling the gas will make the unit work again but the leakage should be identified.

If the leakage is ignored, the unit will only work until the gas leaks again. This is where you will need to consult an expert who will use special tools to identify refrigerant leaks and fix them. Otherwise, you can easily end up damaging the compressor.

Compressor Failure

Compressors are tough and rigid components designed to last several years before needing a replacement and usually fail due to external factors that adversely affect the performance. In addition to low refrigerant levels, compressors will fail due to electric surges, improper power supply, condenser fan motor failure, etc.

Then again, before installing a new replacement, you should determine the source of the problem. Otherwise, the newly installed compressor won’t run long either. Plus, compressors cannot be repaired. It is better to opt for an exact replacement.

How To Avoid Commercial Refrigerator Issues?

Commercial refrigerators are fairly simple working machines. They will be worth every penny if you invest in professional maintenance at least once a year. Professional maintenance is not only about thorough cleaning but also inspecting for potential repairs and replacements.

The last thing you want is for your refrigerator to give up when your customers are waiting in line. A professional inspection and maintenance in that respect will help avoid the issues by repairing and replacing any soon-to-be faulty components.

Plus, thorough cleaning also prevents dirt and dust accumulation that directly impacts the performance of the unit. Such factors are left ignored as owners think of professional maintenance as an expense. However, soon, these minor problems that could have been easily avoided turned into expensive repairs and replacements.

So, professional maintenance should be considered an investment for effortless operation for years to come.


There could be several other reasons your commercial refrigerator might not be working but the listed are the most common. Make sure to keep an eye out for unusual signs and sounds and schedule professional maintenance by commercial refrigerator services Northern VA to avoid or fix complicated issues down the road.

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