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What is the Difference Between Commercial and Residential Freezers?

Are you interested in how things work? Want to know the difference between a commercial and a residential freezer? If these things interest you, then becoming an HVAC/R technician may be the right career path for you. As an HVAC/R technician, you can use your problem-solving and critical thinking skills to install and repair commercial freezers for customers. So, what is a commercial freezer?

What is a Commercial Freezer?

Commercial freezers are used at businesses, such as restaurants, grocery stores, and food processing plants. These freezers are designed to store large quantities of food, medical supplies, and other perishable goods. 

What is a Residential Freezer?

A residential freezer is a household appliance that preserves frozen food at sub-zero temperatures. These freezers allow families to supply perishable goods for an extended period. Modern freezers have shelves, ice makers, and drawers to organize and allow access to stored items. Most freezers are part of a refrigerator, but some families opt for a stand-alone freezer

What is the Difference Between Commercial and Residential Freezers?

Both commercial and residential freezers keep perishable foods cold. A restaurant that wants to save on costs may use a residential chest freezer in their kitchen. Some residential customers may install commercial freezers in their homes. However, there are many differences between commercial and residential freezers. These differences include:


Commercial freezers are built to handle the high demands of a retail setting. They have larger storage capacity and more advanced temperature control systems. Commercial freezers are more durable and reliable than residential freezers. On the other hand, residential freezers are made of lower-grade materials to offer a cost-effective solution. However, they are more prone to wear and tear from frequent use.


While commercial and residential freezers will use refrigerants to keep perishable goods cold, most commercial freezers will have more electronics and complex systems. One of those more complex systems includes self-cleaning capabilities. Commercial freezers require trained HVAC/R technicians to install and maintain their parts properly.


Commercial freezers are much bigger to handle large quantities of food and medical supplies. Some are walk-in freezers at restaurants, and others are warehouses for meat packing or medical supply distribution. Cold storage warehouses can be as big as  150,000 to 400,000 cubic feet. On the other hand, most residential freezers are usually 3 to 17 cubic feet in size. Homes need a smaller-scale solution to store a limited amount of food items.

Temperature Capabilities

Commercial freezers usually stay between -10 and -23 degrees Celsius. Most commercial freezers have variable temperature controls to match the goods stored within the freezer. Food must be kept at a specific temperature to prevent the growth of bacteria. Medical supplies, in particular, must be kept at very low temperatures, something that a residential freezer may be unable to do.

Cold Consistency

Commercial freezers have robust cooling systems and efficient insulation to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the storage space. These cooling systems can help prevent fluctuations or cold spots within the storage space that can compromise the quality of food or medical supplies.

Residential freezers have weaker compressors and insulation, which can cause temperature changes in different parts of the freezer. One section of the freezer may be colder than another. However, this may be fine when storing ice cream and frozen dinners.

Repair and Maintenance

HVAC/R technicians maintain commercial freezers with regular check-ups and parts replacements to ensure they run efficiently and effectively. On the other hand, many residential freezers will run until something is wrong, and then the HVAC/R technician will intervene. This can reduce the lifespan of the residential freezers. 

Energy Consumption

Commercial freezers are large and consume more energy but can be constructed with smart thermostats and proper insulation that can help improve energy efficiency. Residential freezers that are Energy Star certified are at least 10 percent more efficient than the minimum federal standard.

What Do HVAC/R Technicians Do with Commercial Freezers?

HVAC/R technicians are responsible for installing, inspecting, and maintaining commercial freezers. Their primary responsibility is ensuring the freezers operate efficiently while maintaining the desired temperature and preserving the quality of food and medical supplies. 

As an HVAC/R technician, you may repair commercial freezers with compressor failures, refrigerant leaks, or faulty thermostats. You may also maintain the commercial freezer by cleaning coils, checking insulation, and lubricating moving parts. Properly maintaining a commercial freezer makes it less likely to break down, resulting in a longer lifespan and more energy-efficient cold storage.

Final Thoughts

Did reading about commercial freezers interest you in learning more about the HVAC/R program at Interactive College of Technology? If so, Interactive College of Technology is here to help. Let us prepare you for a rewarding career as an HVAC/R technician and start a life-long career fixing residential and commercial freezers.

Want to Learn More?

Our school’s Commercial Refrigeration training program provides a foundation in commercial refrigeration as it relates specifically to the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning industry. We emphasize advanced HVAC concepts such as controls, temperature programming, and computer fundamentals.

An externship is a part of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning residential training program. It assigns you to a partnering company for 135 hours, allowing you to put your new skills to use and gain real-life, career experience. Plus, after you graduate, our Lifetime Career Placement Support program will help you find work whenever needed.

Let’s take the first step together! Contact us now to learn more.  

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