Refrigeration Maintenance Pays: A Client Lesson

It never pays to be penny-wise & dollar-foolish when it comes to maintenance of commercial refrigeration. Hopefully you can learn from this customer’s expensive lesson!

We received a call on a Saturday in August for emergency service. As Murphy’s Law would have it, their 2-door cooler broke down on the weekend, when repairs come at a premium.

Let’s backtrack for a minute. We quoted this customer a full comprehensive maintenance plan back in November of 2011. This maintenance, if performed, likely would have prevented the cooler in question from breaking down. The maintenance would definitely save the customer on energy usage & extend the life of the equipment. Unfortunately, as is all too often the case, the customer did not schedule or approve our refrigeration maintenance proposal. Have a look at our quote below for the maintenance work:

Fast forward to the emergency service call. Their 2 door cooler was running at 70 degrees, which we diagnosed as a bad condenser fan motor. Most likely, the fan motor overheated due to the condenser coil being plugged with grease. The compressor was extremely overheated & tripping off on overload. We had to cool the compressor with ice, degrease the coil several times & replace the condenser fan motor. All this was done at our Saturday rate, which is 1.5 times our regular rates. Now take a look at the invoice for emergency Saturday service:

(Note: Our current regular business hour rates are as follows $65 service charge $115.50 per hour plus parts)


Here is how it breaks down:

  1. The emergency service on the one cooler was almost $200 more than the entire maintenance proposal for 12 Refrigeration Units.
  2. The other 11 Refrigeration Units are still overdue for maintenance.
  3. The compressor on cooler serviced has been severely strained & may fail soon.

This scenario is something we see all the time: We try to preach the benefits of  routine maintenance, but it is all too often ignored. For the handful of clients who routinely maintain their refrigeration equipment, the units are operating much more efficiently and have far fewer breakdowns than units that are not serviced regularly. We recommend a thorough maintenance inspection be done a minimum of twice per year.

Here are a couple other maintenance-related posts that are useful:

DIY Commercial Refrigeration Maintenance Inspection

5 Steps To Conserve Energy & Extend Life Of Refrigeration Equipment

Problems Caused By Lack Of Commercial Refrigeration Maintenance

Please contact us with any questions regarding commercial refrigeration.

Commercial Refrigeration Energy Saving Tips

Refrigeration accounts for about 20% of the energy used world wide. There are steps that can be taken to lower commercial refrigeration energy consumption. Following our thorough refrigeration maintenance checklist and performing control upgrades can reduce electrical consumption by as much as 20% and more. It can also extend the life of commercial refrigeration equipment & prevent commercial refrigeration repair service. The following is recommended to start reducing commercial refrigeration energy usage & avoid commercial refrigeration service calls.

Commercial Refrigeration Energy Saving Checklist

  1. Keep condenser coils clean & de grease if necessary. Have the coils inspected once a month or more.
  2. Make sure door gaskets (seals) are in good condition & working properly.
  3. If refrigeration unit is equipped with automatic door closers make sure they operate properly.
  4. Keep commercial ice machines clean & have them serviced at least twice a year. Ice Machine service & repair in Lake County Illinois is needed more often when using well water.

See our DIY Commercial Refrigeration Maintenance Inspection post for more details.

Simple, sustainable, energy saving upgrades are available for commercial walk in coolers & commercial freezers. One such product is Intellicon-RU.  This product can reduce electrical consumption by as much as 10 to 20%! It is a microcomputer controller that once installed makes the refrigeration system run at a higher efficiency level. This also helps reduce service calls & can extend the life of the compressor. Please see our Intellicon-RU post for more details.

By implementing routine commercial refrigeration preventive maintenance & installing energy economizing parts the cost running of equipment may drop by 20% or more. This will pay for itself in the long run. Contact us with any questions about commercial refrigeration preventive maintenance or commercial refrigeration energy saving options.