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Is It Time to Replace Your Refrigerator or Freezer?

Refrigerators and freezers are essential for ensuring food safety in any commercial kitchen. While they're typically built to last, the time will come when you have to replace your trusty cold storage equipment. Keep reading to learn more about when it's time to purchase a new unit and how to extend your replacement fridge or freezer's lifespan.

1. Is Your Equipment Making Unusual Noises?

Stephanie

If your refrigerator or freezer is producing more noise than usual or making loud rattling sounds, it's probably time to replace it. To avoid excessive noise, be sure to clean your unit's compressor and coils regularly, along with the area around the equipment itself. Another way to keep your unit quiet is to ensure the compressor fan has good airflow. Partially blocked or dirty compressor fans have to work harder to cool the refrigerant in the unit, which shortens its life.

Not sure whether you should choose a model with a top-mounted compressor or a bottom-mounted compressor when you purchase a replacement unit? Here are the main benefits and drawbacks of each type:

Bottom-Mounted Compressors

  • Pull in cooler air, making them ideal for hot environments.
  • Take up some storage space, but make the unit's bottom shelves easier to reach.
  • Can become clogged with dirt, grease, and other contaminants on the floor.

Top-Mounted Compressors

  • Pull in warmer air, making them ideal for cool environments.
  • Are less accessible for cleaning and service, but don't take up storage space.
  • Are less likely to clog than bottom-mounted models because they're farther from the floor.

2. Is Your Unit Not Keeping Food Cold?

Stephanie

Have you noticed that your unit isn't keeping its contents cold? Refrigerators should hold temperatures between 36 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit, while freezers are designed to hold between -10 and 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperature fluctuations can result in lost product - which in turn costs your business money - so you should be sure to purchase a new unit if you're encountering this issue.

Be sure to install your replacement fridge or freezer on a level surface that's far from heat-generating appliances, as operating in high temperatures can cause the coil to malfunction. In turn, the temperature within the unit increases, leading to spoiled food. Additionally, avoid installing refrigerators in humid or dusty areas, which are just as damaging to compressors as placing refrigerators in excessively hot environments.

3. Does Your Equipment Look Beat-Up on the Outside?

When it comes to refrigeration equipment, appearance is important. If your unit looks extremely beat-up, it's probably time to replace it. Here are a few telltale signs:

  • The hinges are pulling away from the cabinet.
  • There are cracked seams or welds.
  • You can see exposed insulation.
  • The gaskets are worn.

In addition to the issues listed above, you should determine whether the unit's door is closing and sealing correctly. Having air leaking out of your refrigerator or freezer forces the compressor to work harder, which usually leads to excess noise, spoiled food, and higher energy costs.

4. Is Your Unit's Floor Rotting?

It sounds gross, but the floors in refrigerators and freezers can rot over time. While it's normal for things to spill in your unit as employees take things out and put things in, you should also be sure your workers are cleaning the floor of your refrigerator or freezer regularly. However, some spills are harder to notice, especially if they seep into cracks or corners. If you notice the floor of your refrigerator or freezer is warped or soft, it's a sure sign of rotting - and time to purchase a new unit.

5. Is Your Equipment Old and Out of Warranty?

Stephanie

Even though your 10-year-old refrigerator or freezer may seem to be working perfectly, chances are it's not as energy efficient as it could be. It's also probably out of warranty, which means you're most likely spending more money on repairs than you would if you just purchased a new unit. So, buying an up-to-date model will not only save you money on electricity costs, but will also cut costs in the long run because it's far less likely to malfunction.

6. Do You Just Need a Change?

Sometimes, it's just time for something new, even if your existing unit isn't having any problems. You may need something larger as your business expands, or you may need to swap out your bottom-mounted fridge for a top-mounted model if your kitchen layout changes. When you purchase that shiny new unit, consider selling your existing refrigerator or freezer to another business to get your money's worth.


From rotten floors and noisy condensers to worn-out gaskets and beat-up doors, there are plenty of signs that it's time to replace your refrigerator or freezer. Although purchasing a new unit will obviously cost you money up front, it will also cut down on expenses in the long run because these pieces of equipment are more energy efficient than their predecessors. With a little research and some due diligence, you can make an informed purchasing decision and select a high-quality model that will last for years.

Posted in: Management & Operation | By Nora Fulmer
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