When to Replace Your Commercial Refrigerator or Compressor

commercial refrigeration compressorRestaurants, grocery and convenience stores, and cafeterias all around the United States depend on walk-in refrigerators. Average operating costs for a walk-in cooler were estimated at about $126 per month for a 8×8 unit in 2014 – energy costs have risen since then, and with them concerns about unit efficiency.

It may cost $10,000-$15,000 to replace a mid-sized walk-in refrigerator, so it’s no surprise businesses aim to extend their service life. When problems arise with a walk-in, attention usually turns to the compressor.

A compressor, like the Copeland 3DS150ETFC which is also known as a 3DS3R17METFC, is an essential part of any refrigeration or cooling system. They have been called the “heart” of such a system since it’s their job to drive refrigerant to other components. They do the majority of mechanical work in the refrigeration process – if they fail, everything comes to a halt.

Fortunately, the catastrophic failure of a compressor unit with no warning is relatively rare. However, these devices can lose efficiency over time, which causes the system to work harder and consume more energy.

When you are facing commercial refrigerator problems, there are a few questions to ask:

  • Does the problem really originate with the compressor or is it elsewhere in the system?
  • If there is damage to the compressor unit, does it justify replacing the whole refrigerator?

Your Refrigeration Compressor Is an Essential – But Durable – Component

Because of its central role in the refrigeration process, it’s common to check the compressor first when something goes wrong. That said, modern compressors are both durable and efficient.

Although plans for a replacement should start around eight years of service, a well-maintained compressor can reach to ten years and beyond. As it ages, efficiency loss is gradual at first.

With that in mind, the first question to ask is whether the compressor is truly at fault.

Several other problems can cause your refrigerator to stop working as expected, including:

  • Dirty evaporator or condenser coils
  • Insufficient or incorrect refrigerant
  • Loose electrical connections

If your refrigerator is relatively recent, it may use a sophisticated scroll-type compressor. These are highly efficient and can save several hundred dollars on annual energy use compared to older hermetic compressors. They are also designed with fail-safes to protect against common mechanical breakdowns.

If your compressor is on a regular maintenance schedule, it’s much easier to recognize problems as they develop and correct them early on. If maintenance has lapsed for three months or more, it is especially important to get in touch with refrigeration experts who can evaluate the compressor for you.

Your maintenance team should take a close look at the operating environment and find the root cause of any failure before putting your compressor back into service. Wear and tear can be accelerated by issues like mechanical vibrations or mismatched voltage that are not always obvious.

In many cases, you will find that the compressor itself is not damaged or, if it is, the damage started in another area of the system and spread to the compressor because a problem was not resolved quickly enough. Liquid slugging is one example of an issue that can rapidly destroy an otherwise sound commercial compressor.

Unless the underlying problem is diagnosed and resolved, it can easily return in the future.

Damaged Compressor? Make the Right Move to Get Your Commercial Refrigeration System Back Online

Under some extreme circumstances, damage to a compressor – even a relatively new one – can and does happen. At that point, it’s time to evaluate the system and determine whether the refrigerator itself needs to be replaced. If there’s one bright spot in this scenario, it’s that full replacement is rarely necessary.

If an electrical fire or weather event completely destroys a refrigerator, replacing it is inevitable. But if the insulated box is fully intact and the refrigeration components other than the compressor are working, you are in luck: You may be able to restore the refrigerator to service just by replacing the compressor.

The best way to do this is by ordering a remanufactured commercial compressor from a trusted vendor.

You Can Save Thousands of Dollars by Replacing Only the Refrigeration Component You Need

Refrigerator brands might find all kinds of reasons why you “should” replace your refrigerator. Given a second look, however, most of these don’t stand up to scrutiny. Refrigeration performance depends on more than anything else on the compressor. When damage is limited to the compressor, it can be replaced.

A remanufactured commercial compressor delivers excellent performance without the expense or wait time of an all-new unit. A true remanufactured unit is painstakingly restored through a comprehensive process that includes disassembly, cleaning, testing, and replacement of key components.

Businesses find that remanufactured compressors operate like new and provide longevity comparable to that “fresh off the assembly line” alternative—without all the waste and delay of such a pricey purchase.


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