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3 Questions to Ask Before Repairing or Replacing Beverage Coolers

Woman getting bottle of wine from cooler

How are your retail beverage coolers doing? If you need repairs or need to replace your coolers, how will you know which is the best choice? Here are three questions to help you decide on a plan for your retail beverage displays.

1. Is the Problem Easily Fixed?

Refrigerated appliances fail or underperform for many reasons. Some of the problems you may experience with a retail beverage cooler can be easily diagnosed and fixed.

A common problem in a refrigerated system is excessive temperatures in the discharge area of the compressor. Temperatures over 275 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit begin to break down the lubricants in mechanical parts and will eventually damage the appliance.

High compressor temperatures can be caused by:

  • Restricted filters on suction lines

  • Inadequate refrigerant supply

  • Excessive superheat from the evaporator

  • Non-condensable gas in the system

Your commercial refrigeration specialist can evaluate your beverage display cooler - which includes a temperature survey - to determine whether your appliance is worth repairing. In many cases, an older beverage cooler that has sentimental value can be saved with the right new parts.

2. What Kind of Refrigerant Does the Cooler Need?

Has it been a while since you've needed refrigerant charges for your beverage coolers? You should know that old-school refrigerants are considered damaging to human health. Harmful refrigerants are slowly being phased out of use, and some may soon be completely unavailable.

Refrigerants that are considered to be ozone-depleting include:

  • (CFC)-12 - chlorofluorocarbon

  • (HCFC)-22 - hydrochlorofluorocarbon

  • R-502

New, alternative blends and materials are being developed to meet increasing demands for refrigerated appliances. Food service equipment is included in the refrigerant-development planning. Research is ongoing to develop safe and reliable alternative refrigerants for all types of commercial refrigeration equipment, including beverage displays.

As you plan for future refrigerant needs, know the type of appliance you're using or plan to use in the future. You need to consider the three categories of appliances when anticipating refrigerant needs.

The three types of cooling equipment you may use are:

  1. Stand-along cases and coolers

  2. Remote-condensing systems

  3. Multi-plex racks (grocery store coolers)

Each one of these systems leaks at some point. Each type of system requires a set number of refrigerant charges to perform as desired. Factor all of these variables into any decision to upgrade or retain beverage coolers.

Some EPA-approved refrigerants for food service uses include:

  • R-290 - propane

  • R-744, CO2 - carbon dioxide

  • R-717 - ammonia

Your commercial-refrigeration-repair service can advise you on current supplies and availability of acceptable refrigerants. Be aware that laws about refrigerants can change in the future. Choose replacement beverage coolers that can be retrofitted or that use relatively available and abundant refrigerant materials.

3. Do You Have the Power?

Your old beverage coolers may work fine with the electrical system in your store or deli. But what happens if you order a deluxe remote-condensing system with the compressor up on the roof? Can your facility's existing wiring manage the load of all the new equipment?

Before planning for expanded refrigeration in your food-service business, do your research. Ask your refrigeration-repair professionals to advise you about your electrical system's compatibility with a new walk-in or beverage cooler. In some cases, you'll need to upgrade your structure's wiring first.

The good news is that new, high-performance refrigeration systems run more efficiently than older beverage coolers. This bonus can make the investment in power upgrades worth the trouble. Night covers, strip curtains, and smart defrost sensors can lower refrigeration costs even more.

Schedule routine condenser-cleaning and inspections of to keep your coolers running at peak efficiency. Better performance means more energy savings, no matter how old your beverage coolers are.

When your beverage coolers aren't acting right, contact the commercial refrigeration experts at Eagle Refrigeration & Mechanical, LLC. We service refrigeration systems for restaurants, delis, grocery stores, and markets in the Baton Rouge, Prairieville, and Hammond regions of Louisiana.