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.

Storms Wreak Havoc Northeast Cooling Saves the Day!

Severe storms and extreme temperatures have wreaked havoc among homeowners and businesses alike across the Chicagoland and Milwaukee areas in the past two weeks. Northeast Cooling knows firsthand how nerve-wracking and frustrating outages and overworked equipment can be for those that depend upon them for their livelihood.

Last Saturday around 10 PM, we received a call from a meat warehouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The entire refrigerated warehouse was down due to a compressor that would not stay on. The temperature was rising fast and so were tensions. The owners had roughly $50,000 worth of  meat that they stood to lose within hours if something didn’t happen FAST!

Mitch headed up to Kenosha from Mundelein, Illinois and arrived around 11:30 PM. Once inside, he found the compressor overheated and off on High Pressure Safety cutout. This meant that neither condenser fans were running at all. With some thorough checking of the electrical system, he found one of the two in-line fuses for the condenser motor unit needed to be replaced.  Once the fuse was replaced he then discovered that the motor circuit was over amping. By using an amp meter, Mitch was able to find which motor was over amping and resolved that it was the reason the fuse had blown initially.

After removing the faulty motor and pressure cleaning the condenser coil, he was able to get the entire unit back online and keep it running with just one condenser motor powering the entire system.  He stayed and monitored the refrigerant pressure and found it will below the high pressure safely cut out setting. Soon after the warehouse started cooling down quite quickly and the meat was saved.

The unit was able to sustain itself until he could return on Monday and install a new 1 horse power condenser fan motor.

Northeast Cooling is happy to provide after-hours services for your EMERGENCY needs.

Check our website for further information.