What Does a Commercial Refrigeration Technician Do? Here’s What You Need to Know

commercial refrigeration technician

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Commercial refrigeration isn’t much different from regular refrigeration. The word “commercial” is placed in front of it when it’s used in small convenience stores, large supermarkets, restaurants and food processing plants.

The invention of commercial refrigeration actually revolutionized the way we live when it was invented a little more than 100 years ago, radically advancing industries like food distribution, medical research and urbanization.

You probably recognize these types of commercial refrigeration units:

  • Service counters
  • Refrigerated multidecks and semi-verticals
  • Wall-sited cases and islands
  • Vertical freezers
  • Plug-in cabinets
  • Refrigeration systems and controls[1]

A commercial refrigeration career puts you on the path to working for businesses, as opposed to individuals in their homes. But it’s more than that.

What Skills do Commercial Refrigeration Technicians Need?

Commercial refrigerant technicians frequently operate on large units and usually interact with many people. You need to be versatile and resilient if you want to excel in this kind of job. Do these skills sound like traits you possess?

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Mechanical Expertise

Commercial refrigeration technicians need to be expert operators of the different types of refrigeration equipment they use, and they must also quickly learn how to work with new and evolving systems. Technicians also ought to be well versed in green refrigeration technology, as many systems nowadays operate on environmentally friendly refrigerants and technology.

A big part of this job is repairing already installed equipment. Techs have to know which tools and equipment they need to make proper repairs.

Customer Service

This job involves talking to a lot of people. Techs need to assess a customer’s needs, provide quality service and evaluate customer satisfaction. You have to not only listen to and understand the customer, but you also have to help them understand what you’re going to do and how it will help them.

Customers also like to work with friendly people, so a positive attitude going into any job helps.


Commercial refrigeration systems cost and arm and a leg, and customers hate having to replace them. Maintenance is vital to a system’s longevity.

If you have the aptitude for performing routine maintenance, your customers will love you.


Commercial refrigeration units may require specific installation specifications, so technicians have to know how to install commercial refrigeration equipment, machines, wiring and programs.

  • Troubleshooting: Troubleshooting is an essential part of the job. Techs have to identify the causes of operating errors and decide on how to proceed.
  • Arm-hand steadiness: Commercial refrigeration installation, maintenance and repair require you to hold your arm and hand steady while moving your arm or holding it in one position.
  • Near Vision: Similarly, you must have near vision in order to see details like wires at close range.[2]

What Are the Duties of a Commercial Refrigeration Technician?

The responsibilities of commercial refrigeration technicians vary depending on whether they work in-house or in the field.

In-house technicians are employed by a business that uses commercial refrigeration systems. They have a routine work schedule, and their duties depend on the business’s needs.

Field technicians, on the other hand, work for contracting companies that specialize in commercial refrigeration. Their work days depend on whatever business calls for their services.

In either case, the job duties are similar:

  • Observing and testing system operation
  • Dismantling malfunctioning systems and testing components
  • Repairing or replacing defective parts
  • Recovering and reclaiming refrigerant
  • Installing wiring to connect components to a power source
  • Brazing or soldering defective joins and leaks
  • Studying blueprints
  • Drilling holes and installing mounting structures
  • Scheduling work
  • Maintaining records or repairs and replacements made
  • Ordering materials and supplies

Commercial refrigeration is a big part of what makes the world go round. There’s a good reason for why so many are in demand. How could food stay fresh and medical care advance without refrigeration?

You become a tech one step at a time. Learn more about the career path for commercial refrigeration technicians.

Additional Sources

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