Fridgeland offers tips on refrigeration efficiency

With the hot weather forcing refrigeration kit to work a lot harder than normal, catering supplier Fridgeland has published an end-user guide to keeping energy bills in check.

The Bury-based supplier has 18 years’ experience serving the catering equipment market and offering discounted supplies of commercial refrigeration.

And as the mercury soared yesterday, its online division released its seven top tips for customers wanting to keep their chillers and freezers running efficiently.

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Here they are:

1. It is best to start with an energy efficient fridge in the first place

So choose energy efficient models when buying a new fridges and freezers for your store. ECA approved models are normally better, but the ECA scheme is sometime difficult to understand

2. Replace the lights in your fridges and freezers with LED tubes

These are now available as straight swaps for standard tubes. LED tubes have 3 ways to save money. First they are just more efficient (around 75% lower energy use compared to fluorescent light tubes). Secondly, they last far longer than standard tubes, so you only buy and fit one LED for every 4-5 fluorescent tubes. Finally LED tubes produce virtually no heat, so where a fridge is working harder to compensate for the heat produced by a fluorescent tube it doesn’t have to do with an LED.

3. Avoid overstocking.

Commercial fridges blow cold air into the display / holding area. Once in this area the cold air needs to be able to move around products and shelves in order to reach everywhere. Load fridges sensibly and avoid creating walls of products which may restrict airflow.

4. Avoid poor positioning.

Fridges need to breath, they product cooling, which is directed inside the unit, and heat which is blown out of the unit (usually from the back). Ensure fridges and freezers have an adequate gap to the rear and top and don’t place in direct sunlight, heat sources or draft sources such as air conditioning, fans or open doors/ windows. Glass door units and multidecks are particularly sensitive to the outside conditions so take extra care with these models.

5. Clean the condensor.

This is effectively the air intake of the fridge / freezer. If the condensor becomes blocked, the unit will work extra hard in order to try and achieve temperature and subsequently will use a lot more energy. Blocked condensors also cause component failure including compressor failure.

6. Shut that door!

In commercial uses staff often leave doors open for long periods. Add this to the fact that commercial units are opened much more frequently than domestic fridges and freezers. When a door is opened warm air from outside goes into it and the fridge warms up – spikes in temperature. Once the door is closed, the fridge has to work to bring the temperature inside back down again. The less time the fridge is open, the less it will warm and the less energy required to bring it back from a temperature spike.

7. Give it a manual defrost.

Many commercial fridges have auto-defrosting. But in warm and humid weather the ice build up on the coil can become too heavy for the defrost cycle to remove it all. This can lead to poor circulation and increased running times – more energy. To manually defrost a fridge or freezer, turn it off completely and if it has a door, prop this open and leave it overnight. If there is water on the floor in the morning this was ice which was on the coil.

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