What Type of Commercial Refrigeration System Do You Need?

Commercial HVAC /
What Type of Commercial Refrigeration System Do You Need?

Selecting the right commercial refrigerator types for your business is essential, but it can be overwhelming. For example, do you need an overcounter or undercounter refrigerator? Walk-in or reach-in? And who has time to research them all?

When managing a large business or overseeing multiple locations, you don’t have time to collect and manage quotes from different companies. Today we’ll review the different commercial refrigeration system types available, so you can determine which is best for your particular use case.

Table of Contents

  • What Kind of Refrigeration Do You Need?
  • Maintenance Tips for Optimal Performance
  • Troubleshooting Common Issues
  • Implementing Sustainable Practices

What Kind of Refrigeration Do You Need?

Let’s break down the most common types of commercial refrigeration systems and how to determine which is right for your business.

There are three main types of commercial refrigeration equipment:

  • Chillers
  • Freezers
  • Combo chillers and freezers

Chillers are designed to maintain food and beverages at temperatures ranging from room temperature to just above freezing, ensuring drinks and perishables remain cool but not frozen.

Freezers, on the other hand, are intended to keep items solidly frozen, prolonging their shelf life and preventing spoilage.

Combo chillers and freezers offer the versatility of both chilling and freezing capabilities within a single unit, providing a multifunctional solution for diverse needs.

So, let’s say you need a refrigerator for the complimentary drinks you serve customers at your auto repair shop. In that case, a chiller would be fine, as you need to keep the drinks just cold enough for customers to enjoy.

However, if you’re also looking for a break room refrigerator, a combo chiller and freezer would likely be the right choice. That way, your employees can keep their lunches either chilled or frozen, depending on the type of food they bring.

Once you’ve determined the commercial refrigerator type you require, you can choose which one is best for you.

Reach-In Freezers and Refrigerators

Reach-in refrigerators and freezers come in various sizes and styles, making them a “jack-of-all-trades” option that many business owners select. They are good for storing perishable products such as dairy, meat, and fish.

Walk-In Refrigerators

Walk-in refrigerators are a good solution if you need a large amount of storage and have enough space. For instance, if you manage a commercial kitchen that requires a supply of steaks is always available, a walk-in refrigerator makes sense. Just be sure to choose high-quality insulation to save on energy bills.

If you’re deciding between a reach-in or walk-in style, you may choose a reach-in version to save on space and costs.

Undercounter Refrigerators

What under-counter refrigerators lack in size, they make up for in convenience! Undercounter refrigerators are a great option when you need just a little extra cooling space. However, they probably shouldn’t be your sole refrigerator purchase.

Serve-Over-Counter Refrigerators

Serve-over-counter refrigerators are an excellent option for restaurants that let customers pick the items they want (think delis, pastry shops, and sandwich shops). However, for customer convenience, you may prefer a countertop display refrigerator instead.

Open-Air/Grab & Go Coolers

Open-air and grab-and-go coolers allow cool air to circulate, keeping chilled beverages convenient for impulse purchases. They’re ideal for easy grab-and-go options — think pre-made salads and sandwiches or bottled beverages.

Refrigerated Prep Tables

Refrigerated prep tables are perfect for restaurants that keep often used ingredients handy during food prep. Not only does this help streamline preparation, but it also gives your customers confidence that their selection is cool and fresh.

Back Bar/Draft Beer Refrigeration

Back bar and draft beer refrigerators are generally designed with a black or stainless steel exterior to streamline the look of your bar. These refrigerators are also small and convenient, so your staff can quickly grab beverages for customers.

Merchandising Refrigeration

Glass door merchandising refrigerators are the top choice of convenience stores, grocery stores, and other destinations that sell beverages and snacks. If you’re in a retail business, this might be where your customers grab a soda or energy drink on their way out of the store. They’re available with sliding or swing doors, making them a versatile option for your point-of-sale purchases.

Maintenance Tips for Optimal Performance

An efficient commercial refrigeration system is more than just a quality purchase; it's about ongoing, proactive maintenance. Regularly scheduled cleaning of coils and fan blades can prevent overheating and maintain efficiency. Plus, ensuring door seals are intact prevents cold air from escaping, which can save on energy bills.

It’s crucial to also regularly monitor and adjust the thermostat to ensure it aligns with your refrigeration needs without overworking the system. By incorporating these straightforward maintenance steps, you can significantly extend the life of your refrigeration systems.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Even with meticulous maintenance, refrigeration systems can still run into issues. It’s important to be aware of common problems and understand their potential fixes.

For example, if a refrigerator isn’t cooling properly, the issue might be as simple as a blocked air vent or as significant as a failing compressor. Strange noises can indicate worn-out motors or loose components. Being able to troubleshoot these common problems or knowing when to call a professional can save time and prevent food spoilage or loss of stock.

Implementing Sustainable Practices

Sustainability is no longer just a buzzword but a business imperative, especially in energy-intensive operations like commercial refrigeration. Modernizing systems with energy-efficient models not only aligns with global sustainability goals but also translates to cost savings. To further reduce your energy consumption and build on your cost savings, consider implementing smart systems that adapt cooling intensity based on real-time needs.

Choose FASTECH For Your Commercial Refrigeration Services

Commercial refrigeration is a vital component of any food service business. To keep your stores running smoothly and efficiently, it’s helpful to work with service providers that deliver consistent, quality service, whether it’s region-wide upgrades or immediate emergency maintenance.

Are you ready to start your next project? FASTECH is a leading provider of end-to-end energy solutions, specializing in commercial HVAC, refrigeration, appliance repair, and conventional and alternative fueling infrastructure. We innovate new products and solutions to make the energy industry safer, greener, and more efficient.

Contact us to start your project today.

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