When it comes to repairs, think of your commercial refrigerator like you would your car. Imagine the compressor in a cooler is like an engine in a vehicle. If the compressor goes bad and is replaced you get a new compressor, not a whole new cooler. The same way the garage doesn’t tell you to get a new car just because you need a bit of engine work. In other words, all the other components including coils, fans, controls, piping, and gaskets (door seals) are still old. This is similar to an engine in a car going bad and being replaced. You end up with a new engine in an old car. There are a couple of key factors to consider when trying to decide whether or not to do a major repair on a piece of refrigeration equipment. Here are a few things to ponder before pulling the trigger on an expensive repair.
1. How old is the cooler? If older than 10 years it is advisable to price out a new one.
2. What kind of refrigerant is used in the cooler? If the answer is R12, R502, or R22, consider pricing out a new cooler. R12 and R502 have been banned by the EPA for years and R22 is currently being phased out by the EPA.
3. What is the overall condition of the cooler? Check door seals, hinges, floor in cooler, coils, and fans. If everything looks like it’s falling apart, it may be time to price out a new cooler.
We are happy to perform repairs for customers, but don’t want to see them throwing good money after bad.
Last week a customer in Chicago had a large walk-in freezer compressor go bad. The condensing unit that the compressor was part of was around 18 years old. The system was set up to run on R502 gas which is now obsolete, since it has been banned by the EPA. There were two options for customer: 1. Get same compressor and convert the system to a newer style gas called R404A, or 2. Replace the entire condensing unit including compressor, condenser coil, fans, controls, and enclosure with a new unit set up for R404 gas. The new unit is far more efficient than the old condensing unit.
Our customer ended up going with option #2 and we installed a new R404A condensing unit for their freezer. That was a good choice.
If your commercial refrigerator is set up to run on obsolete gas it’s time to replace it when any major repair comes up. The unit is most likely very energy inefficient.