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How to Check a Compressor on a Refrigerator of Walk-In Cooler or Freezer

How to Check a Compressor on a Refrigerator

When the Houston heat has you reaching for a nice cold drink, the reliability of your refrigeration system suddenly becomes the most valuable commodity. We get it — in this city, nothing beats a tall glass of iced tea or a frosty beer. But here’s the scoop of frozen delight, straight from the icebox: if your walk-in cooler or freezer isn’t keeping things chilly, a malfunctioning compressor might just be the cold culprit. And as familiar as you are with the Texas-sized DIY spirit, some things are best left to the pros. But, what if you could do some of the groundwork yourself before that service call? We’ve got you covered with a how-to that breaks down compressor checks like a proper Texas two-step. Whether you’re a seasoned HVAC technician or a restaurant owner taking this on, get ready to swing into action with these check-it-yourself compressor insights.

Understanding the Sweet Music of Compressors

compressor not working on refrigerator

The compressor is the heart of your refrigeration system, the metallic maestro orchestrating the refrigeration cycle. It’s all about pressurizing refrigerant to cool as cold can be and cycle back through the system, keeping things frosty. But when this essential engine starts playing the blues — or skimps on that deep, resonating hum that signifies business as usual — it’s time to tune in and troubleshoot.[1][2]

You’ll find different types of compressors out there, from reciprocating and scroll models to the trusty hermetic and semi-hermetic ones. They all share the same mission, but their melody may change slightly. How might you know when the tune shifts from ‘refreshingly cool’ to ‘we’ve got a problem here’? Look out for these signs: if your cooler takes longer to reach desired temperatures, isn’t as cold as it should be, or if the compressor begins to sound like a one-man band without rhythm, the issue might be compressor-related.[3]

Step One: Prepping for the Showdown

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Safety first – always. A malfunctioning compressor can lead to some potentially shocking situations, so gripe those power cables tight and disconnect the juice. Once the system’s powerless, ensure you’re donning protective gear that suits the task at hand. Your toolkit should include the trusty multimeter, your eyes (for the human touch), and a keen sense of observation. We’re going to be looking for signs of wear and tear, electrical gremlins, and the compressor’s overall condition.

Step Two: The Visual Grind

How to Check a Compressor on a Refrigerator

Now we’re going to inspect that compressor with good old-fashioned sight. Pop open the walk-in cooler and give that compressor a gander. Any visible damage, like worn wires, or signs of oil, which might indicate a problem. If frost’s building up like it’s the next Ice Age in Texas, your compressor might be on the fritz. Unusual noises its new jam? Might be time to troubleshoot that congestion. And cleanliness, folks, is next to coolness — make sure there’s no unwanted dust or debris strumming away like sandpaper on ice.

Step Three: It’s Electrical, My Dear Watson

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With the power off and your eyes cautious, whip out the multimeter like it’s the star of the instrument talent contest. We’re checking the soul of the compressor here — the electrical connections. Is there continuity where there should be? Are the resistance values in sync with what R2-D2 screams out? The electrical test is the Texas Two-Step where you don’t miss a beat. Any readings hollerin’ something suspicious, and we might be looking at a bad compressor, partner.

Step Four: The Chill Zone — Testing Refrigerant Levels

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The refrigerant in your walk-in cooler is like gold in them there hills — when levels run low, cooling lags. Again, with great refrigerants come great responsibility, so checking their levels isn’t exactly twiddling your thumbs. This part of the dance usually requires professional hands.

Step Five: Extras on the Setlist

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While you’re rehearsing for that compressor showdown, a few extra rehearsals of the surrounding band won’t hurt. Check the capacitor and relay for any hints at a setup gone sour. A grumpy thermostat can throw off the whole rhythm, too. And don’t forget about the defrost setting — it’s got to harmonize with the rest of the system.

The Jig Is Nearly Up

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Almost curtain call, y’all. Here’s the rundown of your Texas reel in the compressor’s world. Take stock of what you’ve checked, keep a record, and remember that this is just the beginning. Regular maintenance is the encore you want to keep scheduling — preventive care can spot blues before they even pick up their sore thumb to sing.

Ensuring Peak Performance: Diagnosing Compressor Issues in Walk-In Coolers

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If you’re lookin’ to keep your walk-in coolers and freezers runnin’ smooth, knowin’ the ins and outs of your compressor is pretty darn important. Let’s take a little trip through a scenario that shows just how vital a workin’ compressor is for your operations.

Picture this: You’re at the helm of “Sweet Sensations,” a happenin’ bakery right here in Houston, getting ready for a big weekend rush. It’s Friday afternoon, and you notice your walk-in cooler isn’t stayin’ as cold as it should, putting your fresh bakes in jeopardy because the compressor ain’t kickin’ in. Here’s a quick guide on what to do next:

  1. Power Check for the Compressor: First off, make sure your compressor‘s actually getting juice. Grab a multimeter and check the voltage right at the compressor terminals. No power? Could be something simple like a tripped breaker or a wonky circuit board.
  2. Listen for That Compressor Hum: Normally, there’s a distinct hum when the compressor starts up. Silence might mean trouble with the starter or the motor itself.
  3. Give the Start Relay a Once-over: This little guy helps get the compressor goin’. If it’s on the fritz, the compressor won’t start. Test it with an ohm meter for continuity. If it’s shorting out, you’ll need to swap it.
  4. Check Out the Condenser Coils: If these coils are dirty or blocked, your compressor might overheat and shut down. Make sure they’re clean and clear. A good cleaning could just do the trick.
  5. Test the Compressor Motor: With a compressor tester or test cord, you can check the motor’s windings and capacitance to make sure it’s up to snuff. Failing these tests usually means it’s time for a new compressor.
  6. Is the Refrigerator Making Ice?: Got an ice maker in there? If it’s not churning out ice, that’s a sign the compressor isn’t coolin’ like it should.

As y’all go through these steps, jot down what you’re doin’ – those notes can be real handy down the line for troubleshooting or if you gotta call in a pro. Each step, from listening out for that compressor to checkin’ the condenser fan, is key to figuring out what’s up. And if it looks like you might need a new compressor or fridge, think about the perks of upgrading to something with the latest tech and energy efficiency.

By gettin’ to know these parts and what they do, you can quickly pinpoint problems and get ‘em fixed. That way, your gear stays reliable, and “Sweet Sensations” stays ready for any rush, keeping y’all cool and collected.

Practical Lessons from Houston’s Unity Cooling Systems Inc.

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Here at Unity Cooling Systems, we’ve danced this dance with many a cooling cowboy and cowgirl in Houston’s heat. With the science of refrigeration and the art of reliable service at our fingertips (and in our installed systems), we’re all about the education. That’s why we’ve crafted our products with Carrier and Turbo Air, backed by brands that understand the Houston hustle and reliable refrigeration. We’re your partners in stayin’ chill, offering equipment that stays cooler than the other side of the pillow and local assistance hotter than a Texas summer.

Checking a compressor is a balance of taking charge of the situation and knowing when to shout for backup. Our advice? Do what you can safely, do it smartly, and when the steps get too fancy, call in the professionals. We’re never more than a whoop and holler away.[4]

This wasn’t just another rehearsal; it was a technical tune-up for your refrigerator’s grand performance. Lasso those skills and reflect on the steps you’ve mastered. Share the wisdom, and remember — when it comes to refrigeration know-how, we’re the folks to keep you in the loop (aka walk-in cooler/freezer). Don’t sweat the heat; the Unity Cooling Systems lasso is always ready to guide you through the twists and turns of appliance thermodynamics. Keep the cool, Houston.

FAQ of “How to Check a Compressor on a Refrigerator”

Walk In Cooler Repair - FAQ's

How can I tell if my refrigerator compressor is bad?

Y’all, if your fridge’s lost its cool and the compressor‘s quieter than a Houston night, it might be time to check. Listen for strange noises, feel for excessive heat, or notice if your fridge seems to be working overtime without keeping things cold. An unhappy compressor might stop singing altogether or hit notes that sound more distressing than country blues.

What does it mean if my fridge is not making ice?

Well, partner, it could mean a couple of things. Your freezer might not be cold enough due to issues with the compressor or the condenser coils might need cleaning. Sometimes, a quick look at the water line or a test for power surges can shine a light on the problem. Ice-making is a team effort inside your fridge – everything’s gotta be in harmony.

Why is my Maytag/Whirlpool dryer not working?

Dryers can be as fickle as Texas weather. If your Maytag or Whirlpool ain’t tumbling or heating, check your power source first for a potential surge. Then, mosey on over to inspect the heating element and thermostat. Sometimes, a dryer just needs a little encouragement (or repair) to get back to its glory days.

My dishwasher isn’t cleaning well — is it time for a new one?

Not necessarily! Before you reckon it’s time to upgrade, give those filters and spray arms a good once-over. Dishwashers from KitchenAid to Samsung sometimes suffer from clogged paths. If you’ve had a power surge or if it’s older than a prized pair of cowboy boots, then, partner, it might just be time.

How do I prevent my fridge coils from overheating?

Keep those condenser coils cleaner than a well-attended church on Sunday. Dust and pet hair can force your fridge to work harder than it needs to, leading to potential overheating. Regularly cleaning the coils is like giving your fridge a breath of fresh air.

What should I do if my LG or Frigidaire microwave stops heating?

Microwaves can be as temperamental as a bull at a rodeo. If it stops heating, check for simple fixes like door closure issues or a tripped circuit breaker. Sometimes, the magnetron or power supply needs a professional’s touch, especially after a power surge.

How can I tell if my Amana or GE appliance is unsafe?

If your appliance smells hotter than a Texas barbecue or makes more noise than a honky-tonk on Saturday night, it’s time to unplug and call for backup. Unusual sounds, smells, or sparks are your cue that something’s not right. Safety first – don’t try to be the hero.

Why won’t my Maytag washer spin?

A washer that won’t spin is as useful as a screen door on a submarine. Check for overloaded or unbalanced loads first. If that don’t fix it, you might have a problem with the motor, the belt, or the lid switch. Sometimes, the washer just needs a little nudge (or repair) to get back to doing its Texas Two-Step.

Remember, y’all, whether it’s a rogue refrigerator or a sulky microwave, we’re here to help you keep your cool and heat things up in the right way – Houston style. When DIY turns into “Don’t I Yell,” give Unity Cooling Systems a holler. Our local assistance is hotter than a Texas summer and cooler than the other side of the pillow!

Y’all Come See Us Now, Ya Hear? 🌟

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Hey partner! If you’re scratching your head on how to check a compressor on a refrigerator or just wanna chat about keeping cool in the Texas heat, we’re here for ya. Don’t be a stranger — reach out to us and we’ll take care of you like family. 🤝

And hey, don’t stop there! Join our little community on LinkedIn to stay in the loop with all things cooling, or catch up on our latest do-it-yourself guides and tricks over on YouTube. You never know when you’ll need a little extra know-how to keep your place as chill as a Houston evening.

Got an urgent question or just itching for a chat? Give us a ring at +1 (281) 818-5959. We’re always here to lend an ear or a helping hand.

Remember, whether it’s your fridge that’s acting up or your AC giving you the cold shoulder, Unity Cooling Systems is your go-to team. We’re just a holler away, ready to keep ya cool, Houston style. 📞💙


[1] A.K. Sleiti, M. Al-Khawaja, and W.A. Al-Ammari, “A combined thermo-mechanical refrigeration system with isobaric expander-compressor unit powered by low grade heat–Design and analysis,” International Journal of Refrigeration, vol. 111, pp. 103-115, 2020, Elsevier. [HTML]

[2] P. N. Babu, D. Mohankumar, P. M. Kumar, et al., “Energy efficient refrigeration system with simultaneous heating and cooling,” Materials Today: Proceedings, Elsevier, 2021. [HTML]

[3] S. Çelik, S. Z. Dicle, and E. Gönenlioğlu, “Experimental Investigation of Compressor Impact on Electrical and Cooling Performance in Refrigerator Design,” in Science, Engineering and …, 2023, [Online]. Available:


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