A resource dedicated to commercial refrigerators and freezers
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Used Commercial Refrigerators

Used commercial refrigerators can be bought at discount prices from former businesses.

I’ll be honest with you here. Buying used commercial refrigerators is really risky! There are realistic risks that it’ll break down at random in the middle of business hours. That involves two costs for you – the cost of repairing, and the opportunity cost of business lost during that repairing time.

Despite this, sometimes you may face financial limitations and buying a used one seems to be the best way to go after all. That’s where this article comes into play.

I’d like to inform you of the issues you should look into while buying a secondhand commercial refrigerator. Putting it straight, this article tells you how to stay on the safer side (if not the safest side) of things when buying used commercial refrigerators and freezers.

Step 1

Thoroughly evaluate the used commercial cooler. Here is a problem though. There’s no known surefire way for evaluating the inner condition of a compressor. Nevertheless, you can use some key indicators as your yardstick. You may even want to consult an experienced mechanic for this.

Step 2

Add up the cost of repairing. There are many surprisingly cheap models out there in “semi-good” condition, as the sellers would put it. Don’t just jump for these! Figure out what the repairing needs of this used commercial fridge may be. Add up the cost of repairing with the purchasing price. This way, the seemingly lucrative deal might ultimately wind up as an unattractive one. Remember that in the market of used restaurant equipment, you can always move on!

Step 3

Probe the refrigerator cabinets. Do they look good? If they look a bit worn out, move on! And what about the door? Does it close securely and tightly? Do the lights get turned off as you close the doors? Probe the gaskets to detect areas splitting, pulling loose, or drying out. Keep both eyes open for cracks on the walls – especially on the doors inside the compartments and units. Be sure to thoroughly check for ones that might need repair.

If any of the above mentioned checks prove to show faultiness, this might cause the refrigerator to run for excessive times. You might also see the evaporator icing or occasional compressor failures, so watch out!

Step 4

Check the evaporator of any used commercial refrigerators. The evaporator happens to be a box that has a fan inside the unit. See whether each and every part is securely fastened. You shouldn’t buy a product that has bent parts. Pour a little bit of water into the refrigerator’s drain pan (it remains attached beneath the evaporator) for ensuring that the drainage is okay.

Check whether all fans are running. Some units come equipped with door switches cutting them off. In that case, hold the switches in for making them run. See if there is any metallic noise caused by the fan (it’s a really bad sign if this does exist). See whether the blades of the fans are symmetrical and nick-free.

Pay special attention to the aluminum evaporator fins in a used commercial refrigerator. If you have to, carefully take off a panel for checking closely. But be sure to unplug the unit before doing this. See if there is any corrosion/deterioration. Those are sharp fans, so be careful and make sure that the refrigerator is unplugged.

A bad evaporator can cause compressor failure. An evaporator replacement can cost almost as much as a compressor change.

Step 5

Check the condenser of any used commercial refrigerators. It’s basically a part of the compressor. It there is a full sized unit, it should be on top or beneath the unit. If you see a smaller unit, look for it on an end part or at the rear of that unit.

Now put your hands on the compressor (the large black thing that has a tube coming out of it). There might be two tubes in rare instances though. Unplug the unit and try to rock that compressor a little bit. If you are unable to do that, this means the shipping bolts have never been loosened and that might have left the compressor internally damaged.

Check the condenser coils, the fan blade, and the cowl lying around the fan. When you find those dirty, there are strong possibilities that compressor is damaged. Same goes if the fans of the condenser are greasy.

Following these five steps should at least put you on a safer side as you shop for used commercial refrigerators. As always, proceed with caution and be mindful of any and all potential issues.