For a business that deals in perishable items, a functional and efficient commercial refrigeration system is paramount. Getting the best out of your commercial refrigeration system can be quite challenging. If inadequately maintained, a commercial refrigerator will be lacking both functionality and efficiency and this can have a number of detrimental effects ranging from high running costs to spoilt products. This has the capacity to significantly undermine a business’s productivity and to avoid such a situation; it is prudent to ensure that your commercial refrigeration system is operating to its fullest possible extent. This guide serves to outline the basic principles in accordance with which refrigeration systems work and in doing so, offers a number of suggestions as to how you might ensure that your commercial fridge is in optimum condition.
A typical fridge achieves such low temperatures through its exploitation of thermodynamic principles. Specifically, a refrigeration system uses a series of coils – amongst a number of other components – to transfer heat out of the fridge and cool its interior. These coils are referred to as evaporator coils and condenser coils. The purpose of these coils is briefly summarised below
#1 Evaporator coils
As their name would suggest, evaporator coils serve to subject the coolant fluid to low pressure and cause its evaporation. Coolant 2is forced into these coils by the motor and compressor of the fridge and in encountering the low pressure; the coolant boils and becomes a gas. The properties of this gas are such that it absorbs a considerable amount of heat from the surrounding air; namely the air inside the fridge
#2 Condenser coils
The condenser coils receive the gaseous coolant and pressurise it. Upon being pressurised, the coolant returns to its liquid state. In doing so, the coolant loses the heat that it absorbed from within the refrigerator at a relatively rapid rate. This heat is expelled from the unit by a series of exhaust fans and subsequently dissipates into the surrounding air. The coolant then returns to the compressor and the process repeats.
There may be some disparities in the precise mechanisms and workings of various refrigerators, although the principles underpinning refrigeration remain the same – the compressing and evaporation of gases and liquids. In order to get the best out of your commercial fridge unit, you ought to ensure that these components remain as clean and dust free as possible. Any maintenance beyond the cleaning of these coils ought to be undertaken only by an accredited professional, as the pressurised coolant is harmful to people and must be disposed of in an environmentally conscious manner as stipulated by the relevant regulations.
As with all refrigeration and air conditioning units, commercial refrigeration systems have one or more air filters. These filters serve to restrict dust particles and other such debris from entering the refrigeration unit. These particles can be of considerable detriment to the internal components of a refrigerator – commercial or otherwise – and this includes the above mentioned coils. There are a number of issues that might arise as a result of blocked or unclean air filters and two of the more pertinent of these are listed below.
There is an inherent degree of energy consumption that is consequent of a refrigerator unit consuming air through an air filter. Should the air filter be blocked or excessively dirty, the refrigerator unit will have to work considerably harder to maintain an adequate airflow. The result of this will inevitably be an increase in energy consumption and for large, commercial refrigeration systems this can mean a significant increase in running costs and energy bills.
Another potential consequence of an ill-maintained air filter is internal damage. When an air filter is excessively dusty or blocked, dust particles might bypass the filtration system altogether or, in some instances, pass through it forcibly. The result of this is an abundance of dust and debris within the refrigeration system. This can coat important components such as the coils and inhibit their productivity considerably.
Fortunately air filters can quite often be cleaned by the refrigerators owners, although the complex and extensive nature of some commercial systems is such that you ought to consult a professional refrigeration mechanic. By contacting a professional, you can ensure that your expensive and important commercial refrigeration system receives the right attention at no expense to your health and safety or that of those around you.