Most Common Reasons For Cooling Failures In Walk-In Coolers

A walk-in cooler is without a doubt one of the most essential appliances in the hospitality industry. Whether you are running a restaurant, a grocery store, or a roadside gas station, it’ll provide you with the extra cooling space needed to increase your overall revenue. Want to add ice cream to your list of products? Maybe you want to sell ice-cold sodas along with your gas. That’s exactly what a walk-cooler will give you the ability to do. While these devices might just seem like a big refrigerator or cooler, they are much more complex when you peel back the layers and components.

Also, just like any other appliances, they are going to need regular care and maintenance for proper operation, but this still doesn’t always guarantee you won’t encounter problems. Even with regular maintenance and cleaning your cooler can experience problems. And, it likely will over the years. Want to know how you might be able to fix these problems and what’s causing them? A1 Portland Commercial Refrigeration Repair

Don’t Over Look The Little Thing

The thing with a cooler is that most people set it on a certain temperature and forget about it. It’s not like dealing with an air conditioning system where you’ll adjust the temperatures for different seasons. While this is the way that a cooler was designed, you need to be aware of the fact that this system, just like the air conditioner or heater, works off a thermostat. What does this mean? It means that you may be just dealing with incorrect temperature settings. Maybe one of your employees bumped into the thermostat when loading in items. Maybe someone deliberately changed the thermostat, thinking they were doing some good.

Whatever the situation is, you’ll always want to make sure that you have the thermostat properly set before spending money on a service call. If you call out a tech and he just has to adjust the thermostat, you’ll still likely end up spending nearly a hundred dollars or more. You want to aim for anywhere between 35 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Obstructed Condenser Coils

A walk-in cooler will contain condenser coils, just like an air conditioner. What you need to know is that these coils are responsible for displacing the heat. The heat inside the cooler is transferred through the copper lines and evaporator system and expelled out through the condensing coils. These coils are usually located outside with the compressor, but it is not uncommon for them to become obstructed. Just the slightest layer of dust or leaves could be affecting the overall performance. This unit is commonly cleaned during routine maintenance to prevent such issues, but there could be other explanations for the obstruction. This will be something you’ll want to check first.

Freezing Evaporator Coils

Your system will also contain an evaporator coil or maybe several. What you need to know is that this component is responsible for regulating the temperature inside the cooler. These systems are equipped with a defrosting mechanism that melts off any frost or ice that builds upon these coils. The excess water is what is usually referred to as condensation and is drained out through PVC pipes. If the water doesn’t properly drain or the ice doesn’t melt as it should, it’ll cause problems. These units are located inside the cooler and can also get obstructed. Once again, even the slightest film of dust could impact performance. Check to make sure this component has room to breathe.

If you are experiencing problems here, it’ll likely be dirt or someone has stacked product in front of the discharge area and the coils can’t discharge properly.

Malfunctioning Condenser And Evaporator Fans

Both the condensing and evaporator units will also contain fans. The fan is what allows the coils to discharge temperatures. If they are not working or are also blocked then it can cause the unit to freeze. First, you’ll want to make sure that there is nothing inside the unit blocking the fan blade from spinning. It is possible that a copper line or something inside broke and is blocking the fan from spinning. However, it is probably more likely that the motor failed or is locked up. Whatever the situation is, both of these units need fans to expel temperature and provide air movement.

Leaky Panels/ Poor Insulation

You’ll find that the walls and ceiling of your cooler are made of insulated panels. While these panels don’t contain moving components or features, they’ll still need to be checked from time to time. Insulation wears down, falls apart, and gets old over the years. If this is the case then your cooler will not be able to maintain proper temperature because all the inside air will be going outside. This would be equivalent to turning on the air conditioner in your home and leaving all the windows and doors open.


The unit will never be able to satisfy the temperature and it would just run and run until it likely encountered a mechanical failure. After about 5 years or so, you can expect these panels to grow more and more inefficient. The insulating properties will degrade and they’ll begin to allow moisture and ice to build up on inside them. This will probably be something that you’ll notice right away when talking in the cooler. Keep an eye out for this because if you catch it early enough, you can simply replace the panel without experiencing too much of a disruption.

Overstocked Cooler

You might be surprised to hear it, but it is entirely possible to put too many items in your cooler. This will cause problems, but it won’t just be obstructions like mentioned above. Sure, too many items can disrupt the airflow of the unit, but everything you stick in your cooler has a heat value. Your cooler has to work to lower this heat value. The more items in there, the harder and longer it will take for the cooler to lower said items to the desired temperature. Too many items and it’ll never be able to accomplish the task in question.

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