salad bar

Heat the silent killer of Commercial Refrigeration Equipment

Catherine bought a well-known gourmet sandwich outlet in the City. It was a good decision for Catherine’s family for financial and lifestyle reasons. The while the hours were long shop opened Monday through Friday leaving the weekend for family time. As the spring turned into summer the outside temperature increased to the mid-twenties Celsius. Because the shop was small and packed with integral commercial fridges the temperature inside was often ten degrees warmer than outside. Catherine, being the astute business owner refrained from using the shop air conditioning during opening hours to save power costs.

Certainly, she would never consider leaving the air conditioning operating overnight. By Christmas, the holding temperatures of the refrigeration equipment were increasing. The equipment was struggling to cope with the shop ambient temperatures. Eventually, the compressor failed on the salad bar, the focal point of the shop. Catherine called in Thermo Tech to diagnose and repair the issue. The compressor is the ‘heart’ of the refrigeration system and an expensive component to replace. We found that the compressor had failed because of the high shop temperatures. This commercial fridge was made in the USA and rated up to an ambient temperature of 30⁰C. The shop was above that temperature in the day with the doors open. At night with the doors closed the internal shop temperature was in the mid to high thirties. Refrigeration equipment works by exchanging heat energy from the refrigerated space to the outside air.

Integral equipment has all the refrigeration equipment inside the cabinet, so the heat energy is being released into space where the equipment is located. Often equipment is located in a shop, restaurant, café, commercial kitchen etc. Here is some advice on managing your commercial refrigeration equipment in high ambient temperature situations for the best results. Commercial refrigeration maintenance is a fraction of the cost of repairing when equipment fails. Is more convenient and extends the service life of the equipment. During maintenance the Technician will clean the heat exchange coil to ensure effective performance.

Commercial refrigeration purchasing and selection, it is important to know what ambient temperature your equipment is rated for. Do not select on price alone, make sure you buy equipment that will serve you reliably for the longest life cycle. Manage the ambient temperature within your facility, for every degree you reduce the temperature there will be an increase in the equipment life cycle and a reduction in power consumed. If there is air conditioning use it, especially at night when all the doors are closed. If you can open doors on either side of the facility and get a cross-flow to do that.

Make sure the equipment has clear air space around it, do not block off the condenser intake with boxes or other dry stock. Do not locate refrigeration equipment close to heat sources such as ovens or boilers. Do not locate refrigeration equipment in direct sunlight. Know what normal operation for your equipment is, keep a temperature log for each refrigerator so you can see trends and catch a problem before it is critical. Log equipment temperatures at least once a day should be the first action before the equipment is used and the doors have been opened. The more logs you take the more you will observe trends.

We have a range of WiFi data loggers that can do this automatically and can be interrogated remotely. Consider removing the refrigeration condensing units outside, or to a cooler location. Remote refrigeration equipment is more robust and economical because the heat is being transferred to a cooler environment. If you need any more information regarding this subject contact the team at Thermo Tech.

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