It is recommended that walk-in refrigerators and freezers receive proactive maintenance at least twice a year.

A damp soapy cloth is ideal to clean the entire unit inside and out. Food particles left behind are unsanitary; especially if the unit is turned off nightly. Door gaskets should be kept clean and inspected for wear and tear. A gasket that is failing to seal will allow too much moisture to enter the compartment and either freeze up the evaporator coil or flood the drain pan or floor of the cooler.

To ensure a long service life, don’t pile anything on top of the walk-in. This could damage the ceiling panels. Avoid setting holding temperatures too low for products, as this causes the unit to overwork. On outside condensing units, maintain clear and adequate airflow. Do not allow trash or weeds to accumulate around the walk-in.

The evaporator and condensing coil should be cleaned bi-annually with a self-rinsing cleaner soap and water or stiff-bristled brush. If located outside, the coils should be cleaned more often. Clean the fan blades to reduce drag. Also, wipe down door gaskets with soap and water to prevent bacteria or mold growth. If door gaskets are damaged, cracked or stiff, the magnet will not seal, and gaskets will need to be replaced.

Annually, check for damage or decay in the insulation on suction lines between the condensing unit and evaporator coil. Have a service technician check all electrical connections to make sure these are good and tight and that drain lines are not clogged. Loose wires could trigger high amperage, which will cause the unit to use more energy. Yearly, lubricate hinges to ensure these close properly. This is not required for self-lubricating hinges with nylon cams. Check the door sweep for tears and make sure it is sealing properly against the threshold. In addition, check gaskets between panels to make sure these are not cracked or weathered.

A few things to look for when deciding if a repair is needed are wide temperature fluctuations, slow recovery time, not cooling, doors not closing or sealing properly, constantly icing up, and several other issues that can less commonly occur.

Walk-in refrigerators and freezers are built to last. However, everything has an expiration date. The lifespan of a refrigerated piece of equipment is subject to a multitude of variables. The parts that tend to wear out, such as condensers, fans and motors, are inexpensive to replace compared to the total cost of a new cooler.