If your business has a walk-in cooler, chances are that it’s an essential part of your business model. Maybe you’re a restaurant, a grocery store, or a hotel that stores food ready to cook and serve to clients. Maybe your business handles temperature-sensitive products or works with volatile chemicals. Whatever the reason you have a walk-in cooler, it’s critical to keep that cooler in good condition which means both regular care from the staff and occasional maintenance from a commercial appliance repair technician.
But when do you call for a technician? Where do you draw the line between a quick mop-up and a service call? We’re about to help you make that discernment and know when to call for walk-in cooler repairs. Here are the top six signs that your walk-in cooler needs professional maintenance.
1) Wet Floors and Leaks
Walk in coolers can produce condensation on the walls and products. But there should never be an excess of water. If you walk in and there are puddles on the floor or on the shelves, that’s a bad sign. It could mean that temperature is irregular or that humidity is not being controlled. It could also be the indication of a leak somewhere in the cooler system. You don’t have to hunt down a leak to know there’s a problem. Any significant puddle of water is a clear sign it’s time for maintenance.
2) Strange Smells
Each facility’s walk-in cooler tends to have a smell. That smell is made up of the disinfectant in the mop water, the tangy smell of artificial cold, and a very faint smell of boxes or the products contained within. Your staff is familiar with the usual cooler-smell. So if you one day smell something new, strong, or unpleasant then be on alert. This could mean that something is spoiling or that mold is growing. It could also be the smell of leaking coolant fluid and other mechanical problems. All of which are worthy of a professional inspection.
3) Noisy Rattling, Banging or Scraping Sounds
A walk-in cooler works with a giant cooling system similar to both ACs and domestic refrigerators. There is a compressor with a motor, a fan, and other moving parts that make the whole thing work. These moving parts create the low-level hum of a cooler but they can also make other noises. If the parts break yet continue to move, you may start to hear rattling, banging, or scraping. Call for repairs immediately before the one broken-and-moving part breaks anything else.
4) Irregular Temperatures
A cooler must be relied upon to maintain a steady temperature. The exact right temperature will depend on your stored product’s purpose, and business model. But when you set the temperature, it needs to stay put. Keep track of the temperatures inside the cooler. If the temp fluctuates by more than five degrees during the day, consider calling for a technician to hunt down the problem and stabilize your temperatures.
5) Door Doesn’t Seal Firmly
The cooler door is one of the most important parts. Specifically, the gasket that seals your walk-in cooler like a fridge. Walk-in doors should be difficult to open with a feeling of fighting suction most of the way. They should also seal firmly. If your cooler door pops open at a touch and, worse, if it doesn’t stay closed unless you latch the door, you’ve got a containment problem. Most likely, you’re also losing electricity because the door is not effectively keeping in the temperature. A professional can suss out if the problem is your door gasket or the hinges.
6) Excessive Frost Buildup
Finally, watch out for frost buildup. A walk-in cooler should have automated defrosting cycles that help to prevent the growth of fluffy ice-frost on the walls and products. However, if that defroster function is broken, then you may start to see excessive frost buildup. When this happens, it’s time to call a cooler technician.