Refrigeration Troubleshooting

Commercial Refrigeration Troubleshooting Guide

All commercial freezers have similar and basic components. For example, all freezers will have a compressor, condenser, and evaporator. Similarly, all commercial freezers will have common and basic reoccurring problems. Most of these problems are user or consumer related. View our commercial refrigeration troubleshooting guide for help on a variety of common issues.

Consumer related problems include:

  • Lack of Maintenance
  • Iced Coil
  • Power Issues
  • Bad Start Components

Common problems with True, Master Bilt, and Beverage Air:

We recommend starting with the most basic search while troubleshooting freezer/cooler problems.

Start with checking the power to the unit (on/off switch, reset button, etc.) Then, check the cord for cracks, fraying, or any other damage.

Check for power or wiring issues. If after a lengthy period the lights do not come on, we typically find the ground wire or the neutral has a poor connection.

Common problems with True freezers:

1.) Thermostat: We’ve discovered one of the most common problems with the True freezer is the factory-installed thermostat. There are easy and practical ways to test the thermostat. See Trouble Shooting Thermostat for details and information on how to verify if this is the problem.

2.) Capacitors: For several reasons, the start capacitor, run capacitor, and/or relay may fail. Often this is misdiagnosed as a compressor failure. In particular, when the starter capacitor fails, the unit often will make a humming noise or a clicking noise. Fortunately, this can be a very inexpensive and easy fix. See Diagnosing Starting Components for further info and details.

3.) Lights: The True has male/female plugs near the compressor for the door lights. If one of these plugs comes undone, none of the lights will work. This is often overlooked but is extremely common as there is very little room for the plugs. If we overlook it when pushing the condensing unit in, the lights will not work.

The True is also prone to burned-out electrical sockets. This is not because of design flaws but is always due to improper bulb installation. Replacement bulbs are expensive and there are bulbs from discount home improvement stores that will “fit” the sockets. The problem is, the discounted bulbs are a 12w bulb and are too powerful for the sockets which are wired for a 10w bulb.


4.) Ballast: Sometimes the ballast will need to be replaced. Providing everything else has been thoroughly checked over/diagnosed. You would then check the ballast. This is fairly simple to replace and oftentimes can be purchased from the discount box stores. We strongly suggest you buy the same “size” ballast as the old one. Here again, wrong or incorrectly sized replacement parts can and will cause other costly damage down the road.

Common problems with Master Bilt freezers:

1.) Programming: The Master Bilt freezers have little commonly known issues. However, we occasionally get units that “don’t work” or are not working properly. Usually we find a small leak because of vibration in the suction or liquid lines. However, nine out of ten simply need to be re-programmed.

The Master Bilt seems to occasionally develop leaks. This is not necessarily a factory or design problem, but one more related to set-up, positioning, and/or delivery. Use extreme caution should while pulling the condensing unit out and pushing it back in. A simple little vibration can become an expensive repair/service call.

The newer Master Bilt freezers have the hermetic compressors, which are a significant improvement over the semi-hermetic compressors. These units run much more efficiently and are less likely to have compressor failures.

The newer units have been revealing unique problems than units of the past. One common problem has been a bad defrost heater for the condensate drain. Contact us for more information on how we fix problems related to the defrost heater!

Common problems with Beverage Air freezers:

1.) Compressor: The biggest drawback of the Beverage Air freezer is its 1hp compressor. Issues related to the compressor are typically user related. Improper maintenance can be attributed to premature compressor failure. The valve plate can be easily replaced/repaired providing the failure is caught expeditiously. Please note, even with a valve plate failure, the compressor will continue to run and often will continue to maintain temperature. However, it will do so under a tremendous load on the compressor and, if not caught soon, will ultimately damage other critical components. These more terminal problems can be expensive and will generally require a new compressor.

2.) Freezers: You either need to have a TXV (expansion valve) or a capillary tube. The TXV valve has adjustments on it that control the amount of gas flowing through and into the expansion coil. The backside of this valve has a screen inside the flare nut. This screen is basically an oil filter. We have found countless machines that had nothing majorly wrong with them other than this screen being plugged. The screen gets plugged with dirty oil or other contaminants, thus restricting the flow of gas.

There’s a lot to learn when it comes to refrigeration. Thank you for reading our commercial refrigeration troubleshooting guide. If you have any further question, please fill out the form on our contact page.

Thank you for your great service. We struggled with our freezer not working correctly until you came and figured out we had a couple of issues that needed corrected with the unit. The unit is working fine now. Thank you.
Emil JensenFirst United Methodist ChurchGrand Rapids, MI

Primary Communities Served

Byron Center
Comstock Park

Grand Rapids