The world of commercial kitchens moves quickly. When the orders flood in, it’s important that your appliances are working properly.

Commercial refrigeration is crucial in food service environments. Your fridges are responsible for preserving foods, so a faulty refrigerator can cost thousands of dollars in waste alone.

While commercial refrigerators are designed for heavy use, they require regular maintenance to ensure they are always operating properly. When something goes wrong, a common symptom is freezing or the formation of ice. Ice on the inside of a fridge can damage food products and prevent the system from working properly.

So, why is my commercial refrigerator freezing? There are a few possible causes, and we’ll go through each of them in this article.

Why is My Commercial Refrigerator Freezing?

Commercial refrigerators are much more powerful than residential units. They’re often responsible for chilling large volumes of food quickly. These two factors mean they are prone to freezing over when something goes wrong.

The most common causes of a commercial refrigerator freezing include:

  • Incorrect temperature settings. Commercial refrigerators that include a freezer section often use a single temperature controller. If this is the case, setting the freezer section too low can cause the entire refrigerator to freeze.
  • Faulty thermostat. If the temperature setting is correct but the refrigerator continues to freeze, there may be an issue with the thermostat.
  • Air leaks. Small air leaks in a refrigerator can cause the temperature to rise. Rather than causing the fridge to thaw, the thermostat detects the rise in temperature and the system works extra hard to stay cool. Overloading the system like this can cause freezing and may shorten the lifespan of the unit.
  • Air duct positioning. Many commercial refrigerators offer zoning that allows some parts of the fridge to be colder than others. Zoning is controlled by ducts. A poorly positioned duct can cause the entire refrigerator to freeze, rather than cooling specific sections.

How to Prevent a Commercial Refrigerator from Freezing

It’s normal to find small amounts of ice in a commercial fridge. These appliances may generate icy build ups due to condensation, temperature changes and or the placement of the fridge.

Preventative maintenance is the best thing you can do to stop a commercial refrigerator from freezing. In between service appointments, you can:

  • Change the temperature settings. Commercial refrigerators should be set to anywhere between 2C and 6C. If you’re struggling with a fridge that repeatedly freezes, try increasing the temperature to the higher end of this range.
  • Purchase a thermometer. If your refrigerator doesn’t have an integrated temperature display, you can purchase a separate thermometer to check internal temperatures. This can give you an idea of whether the temperature setting is accurate.
  • Check the door seals. Locating air leaks is usually better left to a refrigeration technician. However, most leaks occur at the door seals, and a quick inspection can tell you whether the seals are damaged, hardened or cracking. Commercial refrigerator seals typically need to be replaced every few years. Your refrigeration mechanic can handle this, or you can do it yourself.
  • Keep an eye on the system. Don’t wait for large amounts of ice to build up. Check that your refrigerators are working properly as part of your weekly routine. Check the evaporator for signs of icing, and keep the coils clean of any dust that could affect their performance.

The best thing you can do to keep a commercial refrigerator running is to invest in regular maintenance. Commercial refrigeration devices work hard. They need to be serviced every 3 to 6 months to ensure they’re operating as intended.

If you’re dealing with a refrigerator that regularly freezes over, it may be a sign that something is wrong with the system. You’ll need a professional technician to diagnose and repair the issue.

Keep Your Kitchen at Full Capacity with the Air Conditioning Doctor!

Managing a commercial kitchen comes with its fair share of challenges. Maintaining equipment is an essential task, and the Air Conditioning Doctor is happy to help!

The Air Conditioning Doctor is a qualified refrigeration mechanic that works with clients across Adelaide. We service, maintain and repair air conditioning, HVAC and refrigeration systems for commercial clients. Refrigerators getting icy or freezing over is a common issue, and our technicians have the skills to identify and repair the problem.

With our help, your commercial refrigeration will always run perfectly! Get in touch with us to book an appointment, or give us a call for a quote.

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