Your walk-in cooler is an important part of your food service business. It provides a large amount of storage able to fit a wide variety of ingredients and supplies in an easy to access area. However, when it starts to fail, there is no time to lose before deciding to repair or replace it, as constant product loss will obliterate your profits in a very short time.
Food is Spoiling Faster Than it Should
The cooler might feel like the right temperature, but when new produce and meats are discoloring and spoiling much faster than you expected, it's time to take a close look at how your walk-in is working. Check the temperature--it should be between 35F and 38F in a refrigerator and -10F to 0F in a freezer. If it's out of the norm, adjust the setting and contact your repair company. Check the door seals for an excess build-up of moisture or ice, as this allows warm air in. Are the blowers working?
Repairing the Refrigeration Units Costs More than a New Cooler
The most expensive part to replace on any refrigeration unit is the compressor. However, if your walk-in room is still in good repair, it's worth paying to have the compressor replaced over buying an entirely new unit. It's good to check on your capital budget, too. If it's going to cost $2k to fix the twenty-year-old fridge or $9k to replace it and your budget is healthy, it could be time to upgrade.
Holes in Exterior Walls Exposing Mechanics to Weather
Many walk-in coolers are built onto the exterior of the establishment. If the walls have deteriorated and your compressors are shot, there's no reason to think about fixing it one more time. It's definitely time to bite the bullet and protect your inventory and your customers' health by installing a new unit that will keep you in business for years more to come.