If you run a restaurant or other food-related business, the chances are that you have at least one walk-in cooler. A breakdown can be a devastating thing, as it leads to loss of stock and business.
So, you might be asking yourself if it’s worth replacing or repairing a walk-in cooler. This article will give you the information you need to decide if commercial cooler repair is worth it.
What you will learn in this article:
Walk-in Cooler Issues
There are plenty of reasons why you might be considering a cooler repair. Hopefully, it’s not that your cooler has broken down, but rather that it’s just not running as efficiently as it was.
A walk-in cooler in a restaurant, for example, gets lots of daily use. The doors, hinges, cooling unit, and more get plenty of abuse, even if you’re careful.
So, it might not even be the refrigerant system that’s stopped working. A walk-in cooler is the same as a household refrigerator: all parts must work properly to be worth keeping.
Also, consider the age of your cooler. As a general rule, a walk-in fridge will last 15 years. This aspect considers advances in technology but also on the system’s working parts.
Of course, you can get it to last longer if you take good care of it. But, like any other mechanical object, there comes a time when the cost of replacing individual parts outweighs the cost of a new unit.
Repair or Replace?
To decide whether a walk-in repair is worthwhile, you’ll need a professional to diagnose any issues. That said, there are some basic things you can decide for yourself. Working out the answers to these questions will determine whether you call a cooler repair technician or your equipment supplier.
When to Repair
As you’d expect for an expensive bit of kit, almost anything in a walk-in cooler is repairable. Let’s take a look at the things you can repair fairly easily.
Doors and Hinges
A walk-in cooler’s doors and hinges take most of the wear and tear. After all, you open the door every time you take something out or add something. They’ll need replacing eventually despite manufacturers keeping this use in mind.
Luckily, this is a pretty easy job. Most models have hinges that can unscrew, allowing you to replace the entire door unit. A technician can do this in a matter of hours.
Walls and Floor
Like the door, walls and floors receive a lot of wear and tear. The floor is the most high-traffic area and so might need replacing after just a few years.
Walls can get rammed or dented if an employee isn’t paying enough attention. While many of these dings are superficial, big ones could compromise the walk-in’s cooling ability.
The floor is easy to replace: you could either rip the old one out or lay a new one over the top.
Walls are slightly harder to repair, but a well-designed cooler will make this job easy. Again, it should only take a few hours.
A walk-in cooler runs on a big HVAC unit. So, like any other HVAC unit, it loses refrigerant over its lifetime. As we mentioned earlier, you should get roughly 15 years out of a standard unit.
But, HVAC repair is possible without replacing the entire walk-in unit. Providing the technician can access the cooling system, almost any issue is repairable without too much issue.
For example, replacing the condenser coils or evaporator (usually inside the fridge) takes a few hours. A broken fan might take an hour or so.
Even if the whole unit needs commercial cooler repair, a well-trained technician could do this in a few hours.
While most owners see a broken refrigerator unit as the end of their walk-in cooler’s life, this isn’t the case. An HVAC repair company can usually fix almost any issue in the system.
Repairing a walk-in’s cooling system is one of the pricier elements, but it’s still much cheaper than buying a new fridge.
When to Replace a Walk-in Cooler
Even though many issues in a walk-in are fixable, sometimes a walk-in repair isn’t the answer. If you identify the following issues, consider a full replacement.
If the system is more than 15 years old, you can repair it. But, it would be best if you also considered its energy efficiency. HVAC units have seen massive improvements in recent years, and energy savings offset much of the cost of replacement.
Be sure to get a professional’s opinion on your cooler’s energy efficiency before taking this leap.
Cost of Repair for a Walk-in Cooler
If the cost of your repairs is mounting, it might be worth investing in a new system. Most of us have weighed going with this option concerning an old car, and it’s no different here.
Sure, a new walk-in cooler might be a few thousand more than the cost of repairs, but how many more times will it break down in the future?
Safety and Theft Concerns
While not necessarily grounds for a full replacement, these are worth considering. For example, a glass door will prevent theft, as you’ll be able to see what’s happening inside the walk-in cooler.
Protecting your staff from injury is also good grounds for replacement. If the cooler’s door isn’t sealing properly, you might have condensation puddles build up. These can lead to slips and falls if not dealt with properly.
So, the cost of replacing the door and floor will massively outweigh the cost of being sued.
Key Takeaway – HVAC Repair
More often than not, the cooler repair is the sensible option. A walk-in cooler is an expensive bit of kit, so repairing where possible will save you money.
Of course, you need to get any issues diagnosed first.
If your walk-in cooler is playing up and you need commercial cooler repair, contact us today. As trained HVAC repair technicians, we can diagnose any faults in your system and help you get it working again.
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