As a restaurant owner, you know how vital the refrigerator is to your kitchen operations—a working cold storage system ensures food safety and quality. Unfortunately, since they have to work hard to cool a large space at a low temperature, restaurant refrigerators can wear and break quickly. Since this results in lost revenue, learning to identify problems early and taking immediate action will help prevent this issue. Here are a few red flags to watch for.

3 Signs of Commercial Refrigerator Failure

1. Temperature Fluctuations

Temperature fluctuations are often the result of a refrigerant leak or dirty condenser coils. It’s also possible the seal on the door is worn and is allowing cool air to escape.

Cold storage spaces should remain at or below 40 degrees to avoid food contamination. If you notice the refrigerator isn’t as cold as it should be, or the exterior feels warm, relocate the food and address the issue immediately.

2. Leaking Water

cold storageA leak may develop due to clogged drain lines, a full evaporator pan, or a broken gasket. It’s also possible the restaurant kitchen is too humid, creating moisture problems for the refrigerator’s components. The unit may also be sitting on uneven flooring, causing the evaporator pan to overflow.

3. Frost Buildup

Ice should never form on the interior or exterior of the appliance. If you can see it on the door, around the evaporator coils, or accumulating inside the cold storage unit, it may mean the temperature setting is too high. This issue also happens when the defrosting mechanism malfunctions or the refrigerator is overloaded and prevents sufficient airflow from moving around the food.


If you consistently experience refrigeration issues, keep your overstocked ingredients and perishables in a chilled warehouse to protect them. The team at Unicold Corporation in Honolulu, HI, has provided Oahu businesses with reliable cold storage solutions since 1962. The refrigeration system in their chilled warehouse is professionally maintained, ensuring your goods will never spoil or experience freezer burn. To get more information about their services, visit them online or call (808) 836-2931.