Preparing Your Air Conditioning For The Colder Months

If you want your air conditioner to last the usual 15 to 20 year lifespan, it’s vital that you take care of it and maintain it properly. This includes caring for it during the winter months as snow and moisture pile up around the unit and it stays idle for several months. Many homeowners have a mistaken idea about how to maintain their air conditioning unit during the winter, so consider some simple tips in this regard.

1. Keep it clear. As leaves and snow begin to fall during the autumn and winter months, be sure that you keep your air conditioner unit clear by several feet. Allowing snow to pile up even around the base can allow moisture to seep into the unit and in turn, it can begin to rust and parts begin to break down. The motor may need to work harder once you switch it back on during the summer months and you’ll notice higher utility bills and earlier signs of wear and tear. When you go out to rake leaves or shovel snow, be sure you do the same around your air conditioning unit. 2. Don’t cover it completely. Some shops sell air conditioning covers and often show them covering the air conditioning unit completely. However, if you wrap your unit tightly and cover it completely you can actually allow moisture and condensation to build up in the unit and in turn, it can begin to rust. It’s better if you don’t cover the unit completely but leave enough room to let it breathe. It might be recommended that you put a piece of plywood or a thick board over the top of the unit before you cover it so that the cover doesn’t sit right on the unit. This will allow it some air so moisture can escape during winter. 3. Get a tune-up every spring. In the spring, schedule a tune-up for your air conditioner. A professional can come out and inspect your entire unit, clean it, dry it off from any moisture, and check the major parts like the compressor. This will ensure it’s in good working order and that you won’t damage the unit the first time you turn it on. A spring tune-up can extend the life of your unit and keep it working effectively and efficiently all season long. This is one of the best things you can do to protect it during the colder months.

Questions To Ask When Choosing An Air Conditioning Company

When you need to choose a contractor to install an air conditioner for your home or office, you may be surprised at the number of choices you see online. There are not only companies that specialize in air conditioning installation but builders and even roofers can typically install these for you. Before you make a decision on the best choice of contractor for you, consider the following questions to ask. This will ensure you choose the right company that will do the best job.

1. What does their website look like? A professional air conditioning company should have a good website that is easy to navigate and that tells you what you need to know about their services. A good contractor will be able to afford a website that is responsive to a customer’s needs and that answers your basic questions. If a website is difficult to navigate or doesn’t give you the information you need, this can tell you that the company itself may not be responsive to the needs of their customers. 2. Do they include maintenance contracts? Your air conditioning will eventually need maintenance and repairs, and it’s good to have the same company that installs your unit also handle the maintenance contract. They will know what needs to be done for your unit in particular and often a maintenance contract with the same company will be cheaper than if you had an outside company service your unit. Always ask if they offer maintenance and service contracts for all the units they install. 3. Do they offer a variety of units? When you want to have an air conditioning unit installed in your home or office, you may want a few different choices for yourself. For example, if you operate a small office you may want a central unit but then a portable one just for the manager’s office if he or she works after hours. You then won’t need to run the larger unit during the off-hours. In your home you may want the same option, putting a unit in a bedroom window along with a central air unit. The more options a company offers you, the more qualified they are to handle the job. Remember these simple but important questions when you need to install a new air conditioning unit. This will ensure you choose the best company or your home or office.

Top Tips For Keeping Stainless Steel Clean

Stainless steel is robust and hygienic which makes it the ideal material for kitchen work surfaces, commercial refrigeration equipment, and electrical appliances. But stainless steel is also notorious for picking up fingerprints, dirt, and grime, which means it has to be cleaned regularly for it to be hygienic.

If you are struggling to keep your stainless steel  surfaces clean, here’s some top tips for doing so.

Products

You can buy ready-made stainless steel cleaners from any supermarket. These are most usually spray cleaners; Electrolux SteelCare and Cif Stainless Steel Spray are both highly recommended for their cleaning ability. You can also buy stainless steel wipes; Ecotech Surface Sanitiser Wipes and Wieman Stainless Steel Wipes are both top products. When wiping the stainless steel clean, use microfibre.

Product tips:

  • Avoid harsh chemical sprays and avoid anything abrasive

  • Avoid wire wool and any other rough surface cloths

  • NEVER use bleach or vehicle stainless steel cleaner

Application

Spray or apply your cleaner to the most soiled areas of the stainless steel and apply a light layer elsewhere. Leave the cleaner to break down the soiled areas for one minute, before wiping the surface in the direction of the grain, working hard to remove the most soiled spots. This process may take more than one application for dried and stubborn stains. Repeat the process if necessary.

Application tips:

  • Always try to wipe or scrub with the grain rather than in circular motions

  • Leave solution for up to two minutes to break down tougher stains

  • Ensure that all cleaning solutions are thoroughly dried after cleaning

Regular cleaning

If your stainless steel surfaces have extremely stubborn stains, then chances are they’re not being cleaned often enough. The best way to keep stainless steel clean is to give it a wipe down every time you use it, to prevent a build up of stains. This process MUST be done in restaurant kitchens and for other commercial stainless steel surfaces to ensure proper hygiene and safety.

Regular cleaning tips:

  • Use an anti-bacterial cleaner to ensure surface cleanliness

  • Avoid using the same cloth too often to prevent the spreading of germs

  • Mop up spillages as soon as they happen to avoid permanent marks

Do you have your own stainless steel cleaning tips? Perhaps you work with commercial stainless steel appliances and have some tricks of the trade? Be sure to share your comments with us below.

How Much Food Is Wasted Due To A Lack Of Commercial Refrigeration Servicing?

In 2010 it was reported by The Independent that UK restaurants waste 600,000 tons of food a year. At the time, this wastage was blamed on the growing popularity of ‘US-style portions’ as it was found that one-third of that 600,000 tons of waste was left on customers’ plates.

But what about the other 400,000 tons?

It’s fair to assume that at least 50,000 tons of food is wasted every year due to commercial refrigeration break downs and failures – break downs and failures that may arise from a lack of commercial refrigeration servicing and maintenance. This food, if thawed or heated to room temperature, would have to be thrown out by restaurants as the risk of serving it to customers is too great.

A lack of commercial refrigeration servicing and maintenance may not lead to one large appliance failure though – as components age and breakdown, an appliance – for example a cold room – becomes less efficient. The ability for that appliance to keep food at a consistent temperature is compromised which may lead to partial thawing, partial cooling, and dodgy food. Again, this food would have to be thrown away, which over a year would cost a restaurant a considerable amount of money.

Restaurants can avoid this by simply getting their appliances properly serviced.

So when should I have commercial refrigeration servicing carried out?

Commercial refrigeration, like all refrigeration applications, needs maintenance and servicing. How often your commercial refrigeration needs servicing will depend on the make and model of the appliances you have, as well as the level of use that those appliances experience. But in general, at ACL Refrigeration we tend to recommend that companies with commercial refrigeration have their appliances serviced every 12 months. This ensures that an appliance runs efficiently throughout the year and minimises the risk of down-time, which could prove extremely costly, as we discussed above.

Contact ACL for commercial refrigeration servicing

At ACL Refrigeration & Air Conditioning, we’re proud to work with some of the largest manufacturers of commercial refrigeration equipment in the UK. As such, we have a huge level of experience servicing and maintaining commercial refrigeration units through general breakdown and maintenance callouts, service contracts, and maintenance contracts. Call ACL on 0113 350 2989 to find out more about our flexible and friendly commercial refrigeration servicing and maintenance solutions.

Is Commercial Refrigeration In Schools Different To Other Industries?

This is the first article in a new Q&A series by ACL Refrigeration & Air Conditioning, which aims to answer clearly the many questions that our customers have about the refrigeration and air conditioning industry. Today’s question, ” Is commercial refrigeration in schools different to other industries?”, is commonly asked by our education-based clients seeking bespoke commercial refrigeration solutions.

Q: Is commercial refrigeration in schools different to other industries? A: Not really, commercial refrigeration in schools is usually very similar to other industries: Schools are a unique proposal for us as decision-makers tend to be extremely conscious of concerns surrounding health and safety and hygiene – this usually translates to the customer being educated in the latest commercial refrigeration equipment and any best practices that need to be implemented. In schools, the types of equipment are however the same as many other industries, such as the hotel and leisure industry, hospitality industry, catering industry, and distribution industries. Catering fridges, commercial freezers, display fridges, and under counter fridges are common in schools, colleges, and universities, from brands such as Porkka, Sadia, Williams, Foster, Gram, and Caravell – these types of equipment and brands are the same as in any other industry, favoured by organisations who wish to have the latest refrigeration equipment and technologies such as cold rooms and commercial freezers. Interestingly, the education sector tends to be much more vigilant with regard to commercial refrigeration servicing and maintenance. This is due to the fact that serving off food to children, or experiencing a breakdown in a school and thus being unable to cater for thousands of children and teenagers, is a far more daunting and embarrassing prospect than a similar case in a restaurant. Schools also tend to hold onto equipment and installations longer than other industries due to having a very limited budget, but because of their vigilance with regard to servicing and maintenance, older commercial refrigeration equipment in schools tends to last a long time. Get in touch with ACL Refrigeration & Air Conditioning for commercial refrigeration in schools ACL Refrigeration & Air Conditioning offers the fastest turnaround time for cold room installation, air conditioning installation, and the installation of all other commercial refrigeration equipment. Get in touch with us on 0113 350 2989 to find out more about our commercial refrigeration solutions for schools, colleges, and universities, as well as our servicing and maintenance solutions.

A Look At The Different Manufacturers Of Air Conditioning

Air conditioning is one of the most useful inventions for the office. Not only does air conditioning keep a room temperature low, but by doing so it creates a more sterile environment for workers and a greater level of comfort during the hotter months. Modern air conditioning units can even cool or heat air in an environmentally-friendly way, which can reduce a company’s overall energy bills.

Let’s take a look at the different manufacturers of air conditioning.

Wall air conditioners

The following manufacturers have wall air conditioners on the market:

EcoAir

EcoAir are manufacturers of some of the best performing and most energy efficient air conditioners on the market. The ECO2416SD 24000 BTU is a prime example offering power and the latest technology.

Fujitsu

Fujitsu have manufactured air conditioning units for a number of years catering for homes and industrial applications alike. The Fujitsu ASYG09LMCA air con system is a reliable and cost-effective example.

Hitachi

Hitachi are manufacturers of the latest ElectriQ wall-mounted air conditioners. These air con units are reasonably cost-effective high-performance machines designed for complete temperature control.

LG

Although better known for TVs and smartphones, LG have a number of reliable and powerful air con units on the market today, such as the P09RK.NSB/UA3 which has a 9,000btu output at a great price.

Midea

Midea’s air conditioning units are found in retail stores up and down the country. The Midea SSRFC24 24000 BTU air conditioning unit is a prime example of the commercial air con units made by Midea.

Prem-I-Air

Prem-I-Air are manufacturers of stylish, high-performance air conditioning units that are much cheaper than you might think. Their Air9000 is a cost-effective air conditioner for year round climate control.

Portable air conditioning units

The following manufacturers have portable air conditioners on the market:

Beldray

Beldray manufacture cost-effective portable air conditioners in 4-litre and 5-litre guises. Designed for hot, stuffy and poorly ventilated rooms, Beldray conditioners are a cheaper solution to air conditioning.

Challenge

Challenge has one portable air conditioner on the market. It costs more than the Beldray options but it’s a more advanced machine with 2 speed settings, a 24-hour timer, and A energy efficiency class.

Electrolux

Much-loved by British consumers, Electrolux have launched the Air Comfort EXP09HN1WI that cools and purifies air. This product has the potential to decrease room temperature by 2 to 3 degrees.

Olimpia

Olimpia portable air conditioning units are well-known for their reliability and performance. The Olimpia Splendid Eco 9500 BTU portable air conditioner is a great little unit for year-round climate control.

Air Conditioning Can Lead To a Happy Workforce

As an employer it is important to consider the needs of your workforce and how you can keep them happy. I think most of us can come to grips with the fact that going out to work isn’t a favourite pastime but that doesn’t mean that you can’t try and make things a bit better for the people who work for you.

Of course, the happiness of your workforce is important but not just because it is nice to take their thoughts into account. As an employer you want to make sure that your employees are as motivated and productive as possible and the best way to ensure this is to make sure that they are happy in the work place.

Ensuring Their Happiness

It stands to reason that if someone is working in good working conditions then they are much happier. Most of us spend a great deal of our day at work and so we want to be comfortable while we are there.  This means providing good facilities, the right safety equipment and comfortable seating.

On top of that you want to make sure that the work place itself is not too hot or too warm. Unlike being at home that isn’t always as easy as just putting on the heating or opening a window because you have a much larger space to contend with.

Instead what you should do is look at installing air conditioning into your work premises. When you look into air conditioning you’ll find that there are lots of different types for you to choose from. This helps to ensure that whatever your working conditions are and how big (or small) your work premises are, you’ll be able to find something that keeps everyone happy.

Why Air Conditioning?

Air conditioning can change the temperature of the air in a room quickly and without hassle. There are different machines out there which means that there is always something to suit your needs. On top of that it is possible to set them on timers and even have them as temperature controlled.

You want your employees to be as happy as possible in the work place and a big part of this is making sure that they have comfortable working conditions which aren’t too warm or too cold. Air conditioning units are a reliable way to make sure that this happens.

How Technology Has Enhanced Commercial Refrigeration

Most of us are used to the fact that technology has changed and enhanced our lives in some way. Internet on the move, smart phones and 3D TV’s are just some of the entertaining ways that technology has changed our lives over recent years.

What we don’t usually consider is how much every day gadgets around our home now perform better thanks to advances in technology. Many households now have kitchens packed full of gadgets that have been changed in some way thanks to technology – including refrigerators.

Refrigeration Systems Working Better

One way that refrigeration systems have improved since they were first started is in just how well they work.  When you consider that cars work better than they did when they were first introduced it stands to reason that something as basic as a refrigerator will have seen the same improvements thanks to technology. This means that now you’ll often find that refrigerator systems have to work less hard in order for items that have been stored to be kept cool.

Energy Efficient

This advancement in technology has led to machines becoming much more energy efficient. These days we all need to be more aware of the environment and how our actions have an impact on it. Most of us are aware of the fact we should be recycling goods where we can – using energy efficient goods is just another way to do your bit.

Of course you also have the added bonus that energy efficient goods mean that they cost less to run which can help to bring down the running cost of your business, which is always a good thing. These days you’ll find that most commercial refrigeration systems come with an energy efficiency rating so buying the most energy efficient system should not be a problem.

Making Life Easier

Technology has brought us a number of gadgets and gizmos over the years too, some of which have proved to be more useful than others. When you’re looking for new commercial refrigeration you should look for the latest innovations that can help make life easier – doors with better seals, better ways to stack items, temperature controls and much more!

We might not realise that simple items such as refrigerators have been enhanced by technology but when you look at how much they have changed over recent years, you’ll see just how much technology advancements have made a difference.

How To Improve the Air Quality in Your Home

Most of us are used to the fact that the air outside our homes is smoggy and full of dirt from passing vehicles, people smoking etc. however what we don’t often consider is the quality of air inside our homes. In actual fact if we don’t take care of the air inside our homes then it could be better to step outside and get some air rather than stay indoors.

However no one wants to live inside a home where the air is dirty and possibly doing our health some damage. The good news is that you don’t have to put up with this because with a few subtle changes you could really improve the quality of the air in your home.

Keep Up With Your Housework

No one wants to live in a dusty home, but actually it could be doing more damage than just looking unsightly. Try to get into the habit of using a damp cloth for all of your dusting needs because this will prevent dust from settling again too soon. If you are really concerned about having air that is as fresh as possible try to buy nontoxic cleaning products and use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.

A Bit Of Fresh Air

If the weather is cool enough then try to have the windows open as much as you can, especially if you are cleaning or cooking where smells can affect the air quality. Even on colder days if you can bear to have the window open for a small amount of time, you’ll really notice the difference with the quality of the air in your home – after all, air in your rooms will soon become stale with all of the windows and doors shut.

Avoid Pollutants

It is easy to be drawn into buy candles or installing a wood-burning fireplace but these let pollutants into the air which really decreases air quality. In fact these have the same affect on the air as smoking cigarettes does. Try to avoid these, use nontoxic candles and keep windows open where you can.

Air Conditioning Units

Air conditioning units are a great way of keeping the air in a room circulating and as fresh as possible. You can buy these units in all shapes and sizes which means that whatever you are looking for there will be something to suit you. It is also possible to get air purifiers to work alongside these to help keep the air in your home in an even better condition.

Building A Cold Room The Right Way

First things first, if you are thinking about building an A/C unit cold room, it’s time to do some planning.

There are many reasons to build a cold room for your home, farm or office.  Think about the future when you sit down to plan it out.  Many people find that after a certain time they need more space, or they did not need so much.  Next, think about budget.  If you are not prepared to do the job right the first time, it may be best to consider professional help in this project.  Building a cool house is a meticulous process that when complete will last years and decades with little maintenance.

The two biggest issues to deal with are sealing and R-Value.  With proper sealing and a good amount of R-value insulating, your project can be a money saving investment for your needs.  Doing a poor job, or going cheap on insulation will be more costly in the future, so allow your budget the most bang for your buck.   How you build the room is largely dependent on your climate.  Where you live, how much sunlight, and what weather you expect your room to endure are key elements to your planning.

Consider this, it’s not always how thick the insulation is that counts, it is also the quality.  For instance it is a complete waste of time to ever consider building a cold room with blown fibreglass or cellulous. These materials are simply not designed to withstand riggers of a well-built room.   Wall, roof and floor, all need special consideration. Some 4 inch walls will be fine, but sometimes you will need to consider a 6 inch wall.  For many applications the floor is not as important.  The best process of flooring is a layer of foam or stiff insulation, under the final layer of plywood that is painted with deck paint.

Again, sealing is key to doing it right, and the outside is just as important as the inside.  Tape, caulking and foam insulation are generally the best, each being used at specific areas.  The R-value goal should be at or above R-30 on all your application.  You will have to determine the thickness or material desired.  Some choose a Styrofoam insulation, or blown in professional foam insulation works nicely.

Be sure to choose an A/C unit that matches the space you are designing and be sure that it has the needed “breathing” room.  By planning well, and out of direct sun, your room can be safe, inexpensive, wise investment.