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Why Is My Commercial Refrigerator Freezing?


  Posted 28/12/2019    by admin

Why Is My Commercial Refrigerator Freezing?

If you are using a commercial fridge to store fresh food and drinks for your restaurant or café, but find that they are freezing solid, there’s an obvious reason – the interior of the fridge is too cold. But what’s the cause of this, and do you need commercial fridge repairs? Maybe it’s a simple maintenance job you can do yourself or with the help of technical support, and you don’t need to call a mechanic?

All the well-known commercial fridge brands commonly found in a restaurant or café work in basically the same way, whether you have a Polar, Blizzard, Fagor or Foster refrigerator. If they fail and the food defrosts or is thawing, obviously you will need an emergency fridge repair or servicing, and you should search the internet for “commercial fridge repair near me”. But the opposite problem, of the fridge content freezing, may be something you can sort out yourself.

The problem could be something simple, like having the fridge temperature setting too low. Most fridge sections in commercial fridges will have settings from LOW to HIGH, or numerically from 1-10; try setting it to MEDIUM or 5. If it has an exact temperature setting, try setting it to around 40°F. The freezer section should be set to 0°F.

Be aware that in some types of commercial fridge, the temperature control in the freezer section will also set the coldness for the refrigerator section. Check the manual to see if this is the case.

If this doesn’t solve the problem, you may still be able to fix it without calling an engineer. Causes of over freezing can include:

  • Dirty or dusty coils. This cause the compressor to work harder and longer to keep the freezer at the correct temperature, and can result in the refrigerator overcooling and freezing food and drinks. Remove dust and dirt from the coils at the rear of a commercial fridge using a hose-type vacuum cleaner.
  • Leaking door seals. The gasket-type seal on the fridge door can be worn or damaged. Make sure it is sound or your commercial fridge may run continuously, leading to icing. You may be able to change the gasket door seal yourself, if not, call in a commercial refrigeration engineer.
  • Badly positioned air duct. Some modern refrigerators have an air duct designed to keep some food or drink products such as milk colder than the other contents of the refrigerator. If the air duct is positioned wrongly, you should be able to slide its door cover closed. Check the manual.

If your commercial fridge isn’t fitted with a temperature display, the easiest solution to avoiding over-freezing problems is to buy an internal fridge thermometer. This will help you to maintain a constant temperature in the fridge and will provide a warning if the settings have been inadvertently adjusted. This simple technique could save you from spending money on servicing.

If you have a walk in unit such as Foster walk in fridge, and it is freezing, the first step is to melt ice off the evaporator, then check that the evaporation fan is running and rotating correctly. Next, check for a clean coil and clear drain line, and look at all gauges to be sure that temperatures, subcooling, superheat, and pressures are all normal. If none of these steps solve the freezing problem with your Foster walk in fridge, consult the owner’s manual or contact a repair technician.

If only the first section of the Foster walk in fridge evaporator is freezing, the problem may be a low charge or a restricted liquid line, drier, or metering device.

How To Defrost A Commercial Fridge

The first thing a commercial refrigeration engineer will ask when called on to defrost a commercial fridge is what make he’s dealing with – models like Polar, Blizzard, Fagor and Foster refrigerators all have different control arrangements and defrost methods.

There are two main defrosting systems – electric defrost and hot gas defrost. With electric defrost, electrical heating elements beside the evaporator coils activate and the evaporator fan blows hot air over the evaporator coil, melting accumulated ice. With hot gas defrost, hot refrigerant vapor from the discharge side of the compressor is used to warm the evaporator coil and melt the ice. There are three different hot gas defrost systems, one using a defrost line, one a reversing valve, and the last a reverse flow suction line.

Electric defrost and hot gas defrost each have their pros and cons; for instance electric defrost systems are relatively easy to design and install, while hot gas defrost uses more complicated piping. However, hot gas defrost is more efficient, while electric defrost can create humidity.

In some types of defrosting system, the normal off-cycle of the compressor is adequate to keep the evaporator coil clear of ice, but in others, a defrost timer will periodically clear the coil by shutting off the compressor for an “air defrost” period while the evaporator fans still operate.

In other types, the evaporator fans shut off, and defrost heaters melt accumulated ice off the evaporator coils, while warming the drain pan so the condensate can run off through a drain line without refreezing. The defrost cycle can usually be ended either by the timer, or manually.

Summit Appliance gives the following tips for defrosting its appliances, but they apply equally well to other makes such as Polar, Blizzard, Fagor and Foster.

  • Don’t delay

Don’t wait until ice has built up to the point that you can’t close the door before doing a defrost

  • Plan ahead

The defrosting process could take several hours, so you need to make sure all food and drinks are kept in an iced cooler or cold room for that time to prevent it thawing. Organise cleaning equipment to mop up water

  • Save energy

Do switch the unit off during defrosting. Keeping it on wastes energy and slows down the defrosting process. Keep the door open to allow air to circulate. You can use a bowl of hot water to help ice melt

  • Multitask

Take the opportunity of defrosting to sort through the content of the freezer

  • Safety
  • Don’t use a knife, icepick or other sharp object to shift ice – you could damage the inside of the freezer or cause injury. Use a plastic spatula if necessary. Don’t use electrical appliances such as heater or hair drier to melt ice as this is a safety hazard
  • Wash and dry

After defrosting, clean the inside of the unit with soap and water, rinse, wipe down, and make sure it is completely dry before switching on again. Don’t forget to clean door seals

To avoid the requirement for commercial refrigeration repairs by a mechanic you should defrost your appliances regularly; see the manual for advice and technical support information on maintenance and servicing.

Why Is Your Commercial Refrigerator Freezing At The Back?

Frost or ice build-up rarely calls for an emergency fridge repair – usually it’s a condition which builds up slowly, and can affect a fridge, freezer or chiller.

There are two common types of icing; one is a powdery textured ice which builds up over a period of time, and is formed by condensation. Warm air from outside the appliance gets in and condenses when it meets the cold air in the fridge, forming tiny droplets of condensate.

It’s impossible to stop the entry of warm air altogether as it gets in each time you open the fridge door. But keep this to a minimum and you will minimise the problem. Check the door seals and hinges to make sure it is closing properly Small under-counter fridges with an icebox will need regular manual defrosting.

A less common type of freezing is a build-up of solid ice, often found on the base of chest freezers. This is caused by a water leak, and can result in very dense and difficult to remove icing. This type of freezing is often found on fridges which incorporate an icemaker where water enters from the outside.

In cold damp environments such as basements and garages, some fridges, particularly chest types, can accumulate ice on the outside, often at the bottom near the feet. This is often caused by a water leak or by cold air from the fridge contacting warm air from outside. If a water leak causes the fridge’s internal insulation to degrade, it’s time to call a commercial refrigeration repair service, but be prepared to be told by the mechanic that a repair is not possible.

Of course, there is another possible cause of sudden over-freezing – a failed thermostat. If this is the case you may need to call for an emergency fridge repair.

How To Stop Your Commercial Refrigerator Freezing

If you run a café or restaurant, you will be very dependent on your commercial fridge or cold room, and if it isn’t doing its job you stand a risk of losing stock and business. A common need for commercial refrigeration repairs is when the unit stops working and the contents thaw; but it can be equally damaging if it over-freezes its content.

So how do you stop your commercial refrigerator freezing?

The simplest problem is an inaccurately set temperature. Check the manual to see the ideal operating temperature for your fridge and adjust accordingly.

Many commercial fridge repairs are required due to a faulty thermostat. Check whether it is operating properly by using a thermometer to compare readings. If the thermostat is inaccurate, it can cause over-freezing, so may need replacement by a commercial refrigeration engineer.

Most serious is an issue with the compressor. If this if faulty you are unlikely to be able to fix it yourself, and it’s time to call for technical support.

How to Repair Your Commercial Refrigerator

While there are simple maintenance procedures and even minor commercial refrigeration repairs you ought to be able to carry out yourself, for instance the replacement of door seals, in many cases of refrigerator or freezer problems you will want to call a service engineer.

While you’re waiting for the service engineer, there are a few things you can do:

  1. Make a PPM plan. Planned Preventative Maintenance carried out under contract by an approved service engineer can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
  2. Switch off and unplug. This saves energy and is a safety measure, as your appliance may have suffered electrical damage.
  3. Empty and store. You engineer will need the appliance to be completely empty, so clear it out and place the thawing food in cold storage or a chiller elsewhere as appropriate.

ACR Repairs believes in providing the highest quality commercial fridge repairs. Our experienced, certified engineers work with all sorts of fridges, chillers and cold rooms, and brands including Polar, Blizzard, Fagor, Foster refrigerators and more. We have provided our services to businesses in London and surrounding areas for over 15 years. From a gas refill in a restaurant to an emergency repair in a hotel, we can help you in a range of situations. Get in touch today – we are always happy to help and will respond as soon as we can.


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