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.

What To Expect From Your Commercial Refrigeration Supplier

If you work in the hospitality or catering industry (or indeed any industry where food or other products need to be kept cool) then it stands to reason that you are going to want refrigeration systems that are up to the job. When you’re refrigerating items in bulk the fridges that we’re all so used to seeing at home just aren’t enough, even just from the point of view of not having enough space!

So, if you’re someone that needs commercial refrigeration you might want a little guidance on which is the best purchase for you and your needs. What should you be expecting from a commercial refrigeration supplier?

Knowledge and Experience

When you are investing in something like commercial refrigeration you probably want some help on what to buy and why that would be the best purchase for you. Speak to the supplier about your requirements and what they might have to suit your needs. Their experience in this industry should give them a good background as to what would work well for your circumstance and what you might want to avoid.

Make sure that you ask plenty of questions about their products and why they are suitable. If the refrigeration supplier doesn’t seem to know or be willing to share their knowledge then it could be worth moving onto a supplier that will tell you more.

A Range of Products

When it comes to refrigeration everyone will have different needs and ideas of what they feel is perfect. When you contact a refrigeration supplier they should have a range of products on sale, so that there is something for everyone.

Of course, a range of products is all well and good but unless you know about them all it can be hard to choose what is best. Ideally you want the commercial refrigerator supplier you are dealing with to give you advice on their products and recommendations on what is best for you.

Services To Suit You

With anything that you buy you probably look for value added services and making sure you get the most for your money and commercial refrigeration should be no exception. Find out about their delivery services and how they can get your units to you – it could be worth looking at what installation and set-up services they offer. Make sure you speak about any warranties and guarantees that they offer too, because you should expect your products to last a long time and a guarantee can give confidence in this.

A Look At The Different Types Of Air Conditioning Units

Perhaps unsurprisingly air conditioning comes in many different shapes and styles. Some of this is governed by customer taste and making sure there is something to suit everyone but a lot of it is down to the capabilities of different units and making sure that there are different systems to suit the needs of everyone.

This is good news because it means that there is something to suit everyone, including specifications needed and budget.

Small Split System

If you are looking for a small or basic air conditioning unit then a small split system unit could be perfect for you. These are generally used in places where just one room needs to be air conditioned at a time.

This type of system is made up of a small indoor unit which is in charge of cooling and heating the air. This is connected to a small outdoor unit which allows unwanted heat from outside to be kept there. Even once you decide you would like a split system unit there are different brand name and types to look at, so make sure you do a little research to see what is going to suit you and your needs best.

Medium Split System

If when you assess your needs you decide a small split system isn’t going to be up to the job then you might want to step it up a gear and get something slightly larger. A medium split system works in much the same way as the smaller sized air conditioning unit. The main difference is the capability of these larger units, which will be able to air condition more than one room within a home or business premises at a time.

Multi-Split System

If you have a larger premises that you want to air condition then a multi-split system could be the right choice for you. These are suitable for office suites and even larger apartments. They are connected to a bank of outdoor units, which are usually stored either on the roof of a building or in a central room designed to house these units safely.

Industrial Cooling

If you have a large premises and you want to make sure that the whole place is temperature controlled then you might want to look at larger industrial cooling units. These work in much the same way as smaller units, they’re just more tailored towards larger premises where a smaller unit just won’t do the job.

A Look At The Refrigerant Used In Air Conditioners

For an air conditioning unit to work it needs to have a refrigerant added to it. This works within the coils of air conditioning units to cool and dehumidify indoor air – which is exactly what we want air conditioning units to do. As you might expect, the refrigerant we use has changed over the years – after all, technology is always bringing us new options and air conditioning units are certainly no exception.

Previous Refrigerant: R-22

In the past air conditioners have used a refrigerant called R-22. Most (if not all) air conditioning units used to use this refrigerant. However, it was discovered just a few years ago that R-22 contains an ozone-depleting chlorine. The fact that it is a hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) means that the government took steps to phase out the use of this type of refrigerant. Now you won’t find any new units with this type of coolant and even older units are having this phased out. Now thanks to the Clean Air Act of 2010 the manufacture of systems that need this has been prohibited. In fact by 2020 the production of R-22 itself will stop, so all of these systems will need to be replaced.

What We Use Now: R-410A.

Since R-22 is no longer seen as a viable option, it makes sense that there needed to be an alternative. Now you’ll see that most cooling systems now use R-410A as their choice of refrigerant. This refrigerant has no chlorine and therefore is seen as ozone-friendly – great news!

Another great thing is that this type of refrigerant used in the right way can actually be much more efficient that previous coolant products so as well as being great for the environment; it can be great for your bank balance too!

Buying a Unit

If you’re looking to buy an air conditioning unit then make sure you buy an R-410A system now. It is not possible to buy R-22 units new but there could be some second-hand systems out there. What you need to remember is that over the next few years R-22 will stop being made altogether and this could mean that you’re left with a system that doesn’t work. Instead it is far better to look ahead and buy a system that you know is going to work in the long term.

A Quick Look At Back Bar Bottle Coolers

If you work in the hospitality industry then it stands to reason you are going to want to make sure that you do everything you can to keep food and drink fresh. Most people are aware of the need for decent commercial fridge and freezer set-ups to ensure that food is kept to the high health and safety standards demanded of food made for public consumption.

However, you also need to give consideration to the rest of the customer experience and make sure that everything is perfect – which includes giving them ice cold drinks. For this reason you need to look at some sort of back bar bottle cooler system, so that drinks are kept cool.

The good news is that if you look into bar coolers and refrigerators you’ll find that there are lots of different choices for you. This means that whatever you are looking for, you can feel confident that there will be something to suit you and match your needs.

Choosing The Right System

First of all you need to think about how much space you have available. Usually bars are quite limited where space is concerned so you obviously don’t want to end up with a set of back bar bottle coolers that are too big. Think about how much space you have available and make sure that whatever you do invest in is going to fit in the space available.

You’ll also need to think about how many bottles you are likely to need to store at any one time. A lot of this will come down to how busy you think your establishment is going to be, after all you’re going to want to make sure that you have enough for everyone.

When you do look into back bar bottle coolers try  to make sure you buy something that is rated as energy efficient. This can really help with running costs, after all these systems are going to be switched on all of the time so you really want to try and avoid something that is too expensive to run!

On top of all of that, you want something that is going to fit in with the style and decor of your premises. The good news is that there are lots of different types available, so finding something that looks exactly how you need it to should not be too much of a hassle at all.

How Long Will A Commercial Freezer Stay Cold For If It Breaks?

No one wants to think about their freezer at home breaking, let alone a commercial system not working as it should. At the end of the day, the chances are you have lots of expensive food stored ready to serve to your customers so when a freezer stops working this is far from ideal.

The good news is that if your freezer breaks, it isn’t going to ruin all of your food completely – because the inside of the unit will stay frozen for at least a little while. It is hard to say exactly how long a freezer will stay cold once it stops working, simply because there are so many conditions that could affect it.

How Long Will My Freezer Stay Cold?

If the weather is very warm then this could have a massive affect on how long the freezer works. When the weather is warm freezers have to work harder in order to freeze food thoroughly, so it stands reason that if this doesn’t work then the food inside could be ruined quicker.

The amount of food you have stored in the freezer will have a massive affect on how quickly it defrosts too. If the freezer is packed solid then foods will keep each other cool and keep everything frozen much longer.

How Can I Keep It Colder For Longer?

The conditions in which you keep your freezer will also affect how quickly it defrosts. You really want to make sure that warm air is not let into the unit wherever possible. Try to avoid opening the freezer door unless you really need to. If you do need to open it then get everything out of it that you need so you don’t need to keep coming back to open it again.

If you notice that food is left on a shelf  on its own then try to move this so that it is near other food as this will help everything to be kept as cold as possible.

It goes without saying that if your commercial freezer unit stops working then you need to look at getting this repaired or replaced as soon as possible. Make sure you have details of freezer maintenance companies and suppliers on hand, so if you ever need them you know you can call them without having to spend ages hunting out and researching the number.

3 Simple Methods to Troubleshoot Ice Maker Issues

We live in an age of convenience, and have access to amenities that simply make our lives more pleasant.  Ice, for example, is no longer hard to obtain.  Most refrigerators come with an automatic ice maker built-in.  Many people use independent ice machines to distribute ice in large amounts and they provide a convenient and inexpensive way to portably chill beverages and keep items cold that would otherwise spoil.

If there is a malfunction with an ice-maker it can be just as aggravating and troublesome as it is useful.

Follow these tips to efficiently locate and remedy what might be causing your ice maker to fail:

Firstly, it’s a good idea to make sure all the appropriate hoses are connected and the water supply is good.  If that’s not it, there may be frozen build-up in a hose or inside the machine.  This can be fixed easily by defrosting the ice maker (unplugging all connections and hoses) and letting it melt and drain from the hose or interior.

Check the evaporator plate. Depending on the type of machine, this may look like a plastic grid, into which water is distributed from the hose.  Check this for discoloration, such as a copper colour showing through.  If this is detected, it may mean that the lining of the plate has worn off, and the ice can no longer drop off into the reserve after the freezing process.  This piece can build up a frozen layer that will hinder the making of ice.  If that is the case, defrosting may also quickly solve this issue.  If the lining is in fact worn off, it is at the owners’ discretion whether or not to replace this piece.

Finally, there is a heating module underneath the evaporator plate that is built into the under-side of the ice-maker.  The purpose of it is to slightly melt the bottom of the finished cubes so they can be harvested into the reserve.  Without taking the ice maker apart, though, this part cannot be seen, and is located in the bottom of the unit.  Place your hand on the bottom to feel if it is hot or warm.  If you find that it is, this could mean it has over-heated and malfunctioning.  You will likely need to replace the control module that regulates this part.

There are many facets of how the automatic ice maker quickly and efficiently produces ice for our convenience.  This has been an outline of some of the most common and simple problems and fixes, and you should always consult your owner’s manual for model-specific parts and maintenance routines.

What is a split air conditioner?

Cooling and heating a home is taxing on any budget.  The standard way to cool a home is to have a duct based condenser unit installed.  Not only are condensers often inefficient, though, but the duct work is too.  These two parts lose energy very quickly as heat exchanges happen throughout the system that normally spans the entire home.  In order to keep up with air conditioning needs, the unit constantly has to keep air within the ducts at the desired temperature.  It is a constant drag on the compressor unit.

To battle this, the industry came up with a more efficient means to deliver cool air to a home which is called Split air conditioning. The advantage of Split A/C is that it uses far less electricity, and also a lot less materials and construction resources are needed. There is still a unit that sits on the outside of a home, but the units themselves stay within individual rooms.

Split A/C gives ultimate control to the user as they can cool individual rooms or areas. This gives an advantage for the user and allows everyone to be at their comfort level at a fraction of the cost of traditional units.

Typically, there have been two ways to cool a house, the earlier mentioned standard duct unit and the smaller and much less expensive window based A/C units. If you are on a very low budge, then you may consider window units.  Split A/C will be a substantially higher upfront cost, but cannot be compared to the older duct units. The small units simply cool by using a long fan which distributes the coolness from the coil within.  This gives the home owner complete control of his or her environment.

Split level A/C is much less intrusive as it is mainly a few cables and tubes that are run out to the main unit.  The cost of the insulation and installation is far less than that of new duct work or all the materials needed to upgrade an existing unit.  Not only, will it be far more aesthetically pleasing than a window unit, it will of course be a money saving investment that will keep your home cool.

For a further incentive, these types of units are huge helpers of the environment compared to their predecessors.  Their carbon footprint is a fraction of other products.

A Look At Cool Rooms Throughout History

Civilisation has depended on ways to store their goods throughout history.  Before refrigeration there were few methods to keep foods fresh for a long time. Often meats would be salted or dried in order to save them.  Most consumables had to be used almost immediately or they would spoil.  Refrigeration has been a mainstream technology for the past years, but there were many attempts to do so before the age of compressed gasses.

Before freezers and refrigeration people found ways to keep food wares cool by using the earth’s natural thermal properties, but this process was only cool and not cold. Food could be kept in the 40’s and 50’s Fahrenheit.  If a group lived in the right region, then often ice was packed in from the mountains and packed into rooms or small storage areas to keep it frozen.  This process was time consuming and costly and often ineffective.

In the 18th century research began on the process of compressing gasses, which suck heat from the surrounding air causing it cool and freeze. Some work was even done by Ben Franklin himself.  Strangely enough, the thing that drove the industry was beer and breweries around the world.  Simply put, the brewers of beer needed an effective way to brew and store their product.  One of the first rooms ever to be continuously refrigerated was in fact on the merchant sailing ship, The Dunlin in 1881.

In 1911 General Electric came out with the first refrigerator which was powered by gas, but it was large and expensive.  In the 1930’s Frigidaire came up with the system that used Freon, a dangerous gas which depletes the Ozone layer. Until this time the main way to keep things frozen was still the archaic and not very sanitary ice box.  Issues with iceboxes included problems with health concerns as they would become mouldy and tainted easily.

In the 1950’s it became relatively common and easy to create and make ice, and in this path, it became common to be able to make refrigerated areas or cool rooms.  Freon (made by the DuPont company) gave rise to these wonders of the modern age.  Due to this great achievement, we can live anywhere, ship frozen foods anywhere and have the ability to have a variety of foods at a fraction of the cost it would have been to ship them using old methods.

As technology and wisdom grows, cool storage rooms get better and more efficient.

How Often Should A Restaurant Change Their Refrigeration Equipment?

Most refrigeration units found in restaurants are either for short term food storage or for longer term storage, and most refrigeration units will give many years of trouble-free service with only a need for minimal maintenance. Nevertheless, there are a few things to look out for that could mean that the refrigeration equipment in your restaurant needs maintenance or replacement.

Most refrigeration and freezing units work along the same lines, and there are 3 important parts that when they go wrong could leave you looking for new equipment.

The Compressor

The compressor is basically an electrically powered motor which is encased in a metal container, and can usually be found outside of the unit at the back. This is one of the most vital elements to any refrigeration unit, and you need to think of it as the heart of your appliance, and if it breaks down you may well have to consider whether it is more cost-effective to replace it or just buy a new refrigerator. Due to the fact that the unit is sealed, there is little to no chance of a faulty compressor being repaired.

The Condenser Coil

Located near to the compressor, the condenser coil is a 12 by 12 inch square and often black coloured unit, which will be placed in front of a fan. The fan has two roles here, and that is to remove heat from the condenser coil, but also to help keep the compressor cool too. This area needs to be kept free from any items that may affect the flow of air, and the condenser coil should be cleaned every 3 months or so.

The Evaporator Coil

Also known as the cold coil, this is to be found inside the compartment that is refrigerated, and in most cases you will not be able to see this coil without removing a cover or two. The purpose of this coil is to distribute the cold air inside the unit, and it is another vital part of the appliance, as well as being one that can require you to replace the whole unit when it malfunctions.

In Conclusion

So, what is the answer to the question of how often should a restaurant replace their refrigeration equipment? Well, there is no definitive answer, and most commercial refrigeration units should give a number of years reliable service. However, depending on how heavy the usage is, and whether you undertake maintenance, 5 to 10 years would seem to be about the right lifespan.