In the restaurant business, it's important to keep your walk-in cooler operating smoothly. A failed walk-in cooler can potentially cost you thousands of dollars in spoiled food. Worse, a walk-in cooler that isn't functioning properly creates a food safety issue in your restaurant — you may fail health inspections or your guests may become sick after eating food held in a malfunctioning walk-in. To help you keep food safe and your guests happy, here are some common warning signs that indicate it's time to call a refrigeration professional to inspect your walk-in cooler.
Water or Frost Inside the Unit
If you have water pooling on the floor of your walk-in or frost forming on the wall panels, it could be a sign that the walk-in's drain line is clogged. When a walk-in cooler defrosts its evaporator coils, the water should flow freely out of the cooler instead of back inside the unit.
Water and frost are both serious problems for a walk-in cooler. Icy floors can be a safety hazard, and excess humidity in the walk-cooler caused by evaporating water can lead to mold and mildew growing inside your cooler — your local health and safety inspector won't like either one! Call a refrigeration professional to have your walk-in cooler's drain line inspected and repaired.
Compressor Runs Constantly
A compressor that's functioning normally will turn on and off throughout the day. When the compressor in your walk-in cooler is always running, your power bill will skyrocket and its motor is more likely to fail. This problem is often caused by a refrigerant leak. When refrigerant leaks out of your walk-in cooler, the pressure in its coils drop. The compressor will continually run in an attempt to pressurize the system to normal levels, resulting in wasted energy. You'll need to call a refrigeration contractor to find the source of your refrigerant leak, patch the leak and recharge your walk-in cooler with more refrigerant.
Difficulty Maintaining a Consistent Cool Temperature
When your walk-in cooler has hot spots or can't maintain a low temperature, it's a food safety issue. Some of the food in your walk-in cooler may begin to spoil, causing inventory loss. You may also inadvertently make your guests sick by serving them food that was not held at a safe temperature.
Hot spots are often caused by a faulty thermostat or a tear in the wall panel that lets warm kitchen air into the unit. The seals around the door to your walk-in cooler may also be failing, which also lets warm air inside. Call a refrigeration contractor to inspect your unit, repair any faulty insulation and replace the thermostat if necessary.
If you notice any of these warning signs, call a commercial refrigeration service and have your walk-in cooler inspected. By catching problems early, you avoid food safety issues, which can potentially cause you to fail a health inspection. Ignoring a problem may also lead to your walk-in cooler suffering further damage, such as mold growing inside the unit or your compressor motor failing.