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Repair and disassembly guides for food cooling appliances including refrigerators, freezers and fridge-freezers.

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Fridge temperature rises every two weeks after a gas refill

Hi!

I have a commercial refrigerator in my restaurant, the fridge has no brand. It is a 4 door, stainless steel commercial fridge which runs at around 3 degrees.

For the past 6 months, the fridge has been warming up, it goes from the standard 3 degrees celsius to around 15-20 degrees celsius. When we call the technicians, they say that it could be a gas leak but they are never able to find a gas leak. They then refill the gas fully, but after 2-3 weeks, the same problem occurs and the fridge heats up again. 3 technicians have seen the fridge so far but no one can find a leak or any other problem. Quite strange.

Does anyone have any idea what could be going on? Could there be something with the compressor?

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Hi,

Check for any oily residue under the compressor or on or under the condenser coils.

If there is any this usually indicates a leaking of the refrigerant.

There is a special oil used in with the refrigerant to lubricate the compressor, so while the refrigerant may escape into the atmosphere the oil doesn't.

Does the temperature ever go back down to normal (3 Deg C) say after a couple of hours max) or can't you afford to wait that long to find out?

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@jayeff Thanks for the response! The temperature doesn't go back down to normal, it will gradually rise 1 degree every few minutes or so. We haven't left it on for a couple hours though, maybe half and hour max. I will check for any oily residue.

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Hi @parvezs27 ,

I only suggested about the temperature going back down because in most auto defrost refrigerators the compressor is turned off and the temperature is allowed to rise to 32 Deg F (0 Deg. C) once every 8 - 12 hours (depends on manufacturer) in the evaporator section to allow the ice that is formed on the evaporator to melt and drain away. This prevents ice build up and makes the fridge run more efficiently.

The whole process may take 20-30 minutes then the compressor is turned on again to drive the temp back down to the required setting. This of course takes time.

usually there is a defrost thermostat that should prevent the evaporator unit becoming too warm and possibly being damaged. The temp on the evaporator shouldn't rise to more than 33 Deg F (0 -1 Deg C) as the thermostat should operate and start the compressor again to drive the temp back down.

I don't know about commercial units but am assuming that the principle is the same as in residential refrigerators in that the evaporator unit is colder than the refrigerator needs to be to get an even distribution of the cold air at the correct temp in the fridge section.

Are you sure that there is no model information label somewhere on the unit? It would be unusual not to have one, maybe near the compressor or on the back of the unit perhaps

Have the technicians measured the high and low pressures in the sealed system?

This should tell them if there is a problem with a lack of refrigerant or not and where the problem may be, as you cannot get the correct pressure if the refrigerant amount is wrong or if there is a problem with the compressor, sealed system etc

is the compressor running as the temp goes up?

If not and if the pressures are OK when it is running, I'd be looking at an electrical problem as to why the compressor is not running when it should be.

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The technicians should be able to find a leak if there is one. They should reclaim the refrigerant within the unit. Then vacuum down the sealed system. Recharge the system with nitrogen or use a dye. Then fix the leak or Replace the component. Evaporator coil, condenser coil, compressor, etc.

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