When To Replace a Walk-In Cooler or Freezer


Walk-in refrigerators and freezers are undoubtedly a huge investment for a business. Given their constant daily use, it’s no surprise that walk-in coolers and freezers can wear out. But how do you know when it’s time to replace such a vital and expensive piece of equipment?

Here are some things to consider if you think it might be time to replace your walk-in cooler or freezer.


Most manufacturers list an expected lifespan of a commercial walk-in cooler or freezer to be about 15 years. However, with proper maintenance, regular cleaning, and quality repair work, they can last much longer.

Warning Signs

problem with your walk-in cooler

There are a lot of warning signs that could signal a serious problem with your walk-in cooler or freezer system. Some of the most common problems that can be indicative of a serious issue include:

Food Spoilage

If you are regularly having problems with food spoiling before its expiration, and you know the problem isn’t with the supply line, then the problem might be that your walk-in cooler or freezer isn’t operating correctly, so it isn’t holding consistent temperatures. This can be a very serious problem because any food stored at improper temperatures can go to waste quicker. Plus, it’s very costly for your business to throw out product that should be sold.

Unexplained Utility Bill Increases

If your business’ utility bills suddenly increased without explanation, then you should check your refrigeration systems for problems. A lot of issues can cause a commercial freezer or refrigerator to run constantly, and constantly trying to hold proper temperatures when there’s a problem with the system will use a lot more energy than normal. A higher utility bill won’t necessarily mean that your walk-in has to be replaced, but it’s a good indicator that you should get the equipment checked out by a professional.

Unexplained Puddles or Excess Frost

Excess water and excess ice in commercial refrigeration equipment can be signs that your equipment isn’t operating at its peak and might need to be repaired or replaced. Both issues are caused by excess moisture inside the equipment and can be related to a variety of both small and large problems, including thermostat issues, broken seals, insulation problems, air leaks, and more. 


cost of walk-In cooler replacement

If you are having ongoing problems with your walk-in cooler or freezer, you’re probably wondering if it’s time to replace the system, rather than continuing to repair it. There’s no doubt that cost is a big factor in that decision. Problems with existing equipment might be costing you more than you think. Ask yourself these questions about costs you might not have considered as you consider whether to repair or replace your commercial refrigeration equipment.

  • Have you lost inventory because of the problems with your existing equipment?
  • Are your utility bills higher now than they would be with a newer, more energy-efficient system?
  • Have you lost business because of the problems with the current system?
  • How much have you already spent on repairs for the existing equipment? 
  • How much are you willing to spend to keep the equipment operational?
  • Have you gotten a second opinion about what the problem is with your current equipment?
  • Would it be cost-effective to refurbish your current equipment, rather than replacing it?
  • Are there any serious safety issues associated with your current equipment?

Deciding whether to keep or replace old walk-in freezers and coolers is a big decision, and should be made by considering all the costs associated with both keeping the old equipment and installing new equipment.

Many companies have started offering an option to refurbish old equipment, rather than replacing it completely. With refurbishment, your system will be fitted with many new parts, which will improve performance and can extend the life of the equipment by many years. Depending on your specific situation, you may find refurbishment to be a great option.

Proper Maintenance

Regular maintenance is one aspect of equipment ownership that often goes by the wayside. However, having your commercial walk-in freezers and coolers regularly checked by an experienced professional is a sound investment in the long-term health of your equipment. Regular maintenance and cleaning will extend the life of your equipment and help you to catch small problems before they become big problems.

Concerned that your walk-in cooler or freezer might need to be replaced? Call 512 Refrigeration Services for any of your Austin, Texas commercial refrigeration problems. Expert technicians are available 24/7 to troubleshoot problems with your ice machine, reach-in cooler, walk-in cooler or freezer, and more.

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