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3 Troubleshooting Tips For A Restaurant Freezer That Won't Run

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If you're like most restaurants, you're probably pretty dependent on your freezer to store excess inventory. If your freezer stops working, you could be in big trouble. Depending on how long the outage lasts, you could lose inventory and you may not even be able to serve some items that are on your menu. It can be especially problematic if you can't get a service person out to your restaurant in a short amount of time.

If your freezer goes out, it's always a good idea to call a commercial freezer repair service. However, there are a few things you can try yourself to get it up and running. Here are three easy solutions:

Check if the light is off. Freezer problems are usually caused by either a broken piece in the freezer or an electrical problem. If the light is off, your freezer is likely fine, but you probably have an electrical problem. For the latter, start by making sure the freezer is plugged in. Also, if you're using an extension cord, try switching it out. You'll also want to check the breaker to see if it's tripped. If the outlet has a reset button, try pushing that too. 

Clean the coils. If the light is working but the freezer isn't, you can be fairly confident that the issue is isolated to the freezer itself. The easiest solution is to clean the coils on the back of the freezer. They should be cleaned regularly, but many restaurants get so busy that they fail to do this. The coils cool air before it's pumped into your freezer. If the coils are dirty and grimy, they may not be able to cool the air effectively. In extreme cases, air may travel through the freezer at all.

Unplug the freezer and use warm, soapy water to clean the coils. You can also use a vacuum to get hard-to-reach dirt and grime. Dry the coils off and then plug the freezer back in. Give it a few minutes and then check to see if it's running. If so, your problem is solved.

Check to make sure it's not in defrost mode. Your freezer alternates between freeze and defrost cycles to prevent ice from accumulating within the freezer. Newer models work pretty efficiently. However, older models can get stuck in defrost mode. You can check this by opening the grill on the front of the freezer, just underneath the doors.

It could also be behind a panel just inside the freezer. There should be a screw that should be labeled something like "Advance Mode." Use a screwdriver to turn this screw until it clicks. That forces the freezer into the next cycle. If it was stuck in defrost, the freezer should kick on.

If none of these solutions work, you'll likely need help from a commercial freezer repair or commercial broiler repair specialist. Contact one as soon as possible so they can inspect your unit and resolve the problem.