EPA Helps Businesses Transition to GREEN Practices with GreenChill!

GreenChill Advanced Refrigeration Partnership is a program recently introduced by the EPA to assist  those in the hospitality industry by alleviating the guesswork in making the transition to more environmentally friendly refrigerants in the upcoming years. The EPA describes GreenChill as an “EPA Partnership with food retailers to reduce refrigerant emissions and decrease their impact on the ozone layer and climate change.”  The ultimate goal of this partnership it to help improve air quality through the reduction of emissions that contribute to ozone depletion.

This team effort was brought about by The Montreal Protocol, which began in 1987 as means to reduce and eliminate the use of CFCs and HCFCs.  This includes a globally mandated ban on Freon, and other CFC and HCFC gases, set to be at 99.5 percent below the determined baseline by the year 2020. We are currently at 75 percent below the determined baseline. These numbers alone can prove confusing, as well as the acceptable options for complying with The Montreal Protocol, so the EPA initiated GreenChill.

To date several well known corporate giants have climbed on board to help promote cleaner air through the use of less harmful refrigerants. Local retailers that participate and are corporate partners include: Jewel, Target, Whole Foods, and Albertsons.

To become GreenChill Certified a business must follow specific guidelines and submit an application to the EPA. Any business may apply and  “GreenChill’s Store Certification Program for Food Retail Stores recognizes individual stores for using environmentally friendlier commercial refrigeration systems.”  Retailers can gain various levels of  GreenChill certification (platinum, gold, or silver) dependent upon their refrigeration practices and policies.

To gain the highest level of GreenChill certification a retalier must adhere to the following EPA mandated guidelines:

Platinum-Level Store Certification:

To qualify for GreenChill’s Platinum-Level Store Certification, a store must meet the requirements under either A or B:

A. HFC-Based Refrigeration Systems

• The store must only use refrigerants with zero ozone-depleting potential;

• The store must only use refrigerants that have been found acceptable by EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy Program (SNAP) for use in retail food refrigeration end-uses;

• The store must achieve an average HFC refrigerant charge equal to or less than 0.5 lbs. of HFC refrigerant per MBTU/hr. total evaporator heat load;

• The store must achieve a store-wide annual HFC refrigerant emissions rate of 5% or less; and

• All newly constructed stores must be leak tested at installation according to the standards in GreenChill’s Installation Leak Tightness Testing Guidelines

B. Refrigeration Systems using Low-GWP Refrigerants

• The store must only use refrigerants with zero ozone-depleting potential;

• The store must only use refrigerants that have been found acceptable by EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy Program (SNAP) for use in retail food refrigeration end-uses; and

• All refrigerants used in the store’s commercial refrigeration system must have global warming potentials (GWP) lower than 150.


  • Please support you local GreenChill retailers as they strive to make changes to improve and sustain the quality of our environment! Be sure to look for the GreenChill logo on the refrigeration equipment at your favorite retailer!
  • GreenChill now has a LinkedIn group called GreenChill Partnership. You can follow updates and engage in conversation about the latest GreeChill updates and practices.



Greenchill Platinum Award

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Think Your Commercial Ice Machine Is Clean? Think Again!

They look innocuous enough.  Just sitting there waiting to quench our thirst and cool our beverages any time we need them.

We grab the provided cup, put it under the ice dispenser, then fill up with our desired beverage. Simple. Easy. No worries. Right? We all take soda machines, and commercial ice machines in general, for granted. Maybe we should think twice.

We use them every day as business owners and consumers.  They are reliable and a staple of the hospitality industry, yet it’s easy to forget that the quiet workhorse of the industry needs just as much TLC as its fancy espresso-making counterparts. Commercial ice machines, whether the kind found attached to fountain drink dispensers, or stand-alone units, are prone to scale build-up, as well as mold growth, on the water lines. These undesirables can come in contact with the lines and DIRECTLY with the ice that goes into your beverages! This can create taste issues, health concerns, and equipment failure!

The idea that we can come in contact with mold or lime scale overgrowth as we enjoy our icy cold beverage is reason enough to take care to clean these machines, but beyond cleanliness there is the issue of proper maintenance. Many machines, even leading brands, such as Manitowoc, Scotsman, and Hoshizaki are as sensitive to lime scale build-up as the lesser known brands.  ALL commercial ice machines need regular professional cleaning to maintain the integrity of the unit. If commercial ice machines aren’t cleaned properly their parts may fail to operate, and eventually become irreparable.  When lines become overgrown with lime scale or mold they may cause other parts, such as sensors, water pumps, and water distributors to fail, rendering your equipment useless. This can cause huge problems, especially in summer months!

Don’t think it’s enough to pour some stinky chemicals into your machine and walk away. This isn’t proper cleaning and benefits no one, least of all your machine. You need to have the machine professionally disassembled and thoroughly cleaned. There is intense soaking and scrubbing involved that is best left to professionals. You can maintain your unit on your own between service calls by investing in replacing water filters every six months, using antimicrobials, and sanitizing your machine regularly.

As summer approaches consider having your commercial ice machines checked and properly serviced. We, at Northeast Cooling are happy to help accommodate your needs! Give us a call! We certainly don’t want to see you lacking ice when the summer heat and vacation crowds descend upon us!

Check out our Website and Facebook page for Special Offers on service!

Commercial Refrigeration Going “Green” – R744 & Retrofit Viable Options Over R22

Refrigeration Goes Green

Even in the recesses of your local grocery store or corner pub, the initiative to provide cleaner air and a more stable environment is alive and well. We don’t often think about grocery stores, restaurants, bars, and other businesses as being Green, but in reality these types of businesses are being charged by The Montreal Protocol to clean up their act completely by 2030. Commercial refrigeration currently relies heavily on R22 as a refrigerant; however, this kind of refrigerant is known to deplete the ozone layer.

With the worldwide phase-out of ozone depleting HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons) including R-22, we need to start thinking of other alternatives, especially Green alternatives.

Under the terms of the Montreal Protocol, the U.S. agreed to meet certain obligations by specific dates:

  • January 1, 2004: U.S. is required to reduce its consumption of HCFCs by 35% below U.S. baseline cap.
  • January 1, 2010: U.S. is required to reduce its consumption of HCFCs by 75% below U.S. baseline cap.
  • January 1, 2015: U.S. is required to reduce its consumption of HCFCs by 90% below U.S. baseline cap.
  • January 1, 2020: U.S. is required to reduce its consumption of HCFCs by 99.5% below U.S. baseline cap.
  • January 1, 2030 U.S. is required to reduce its consumption by 100% below U.S. baseline cap.

What this means is that within the next four years the U.S. needs to be 90% below its previously allowed usage cap of R22. R22 has been the most commonly used refrigerant for decades. Both commercial and residential consumers need to find alternatives to R22 for their cooling needs.

R744: A Natural Alternative

One such option is provided by Linde, a leading supplier of refrigerants for over 40 years. Linde has operations in 40 countries on five continents. They are currently offering a more eco-friendly option to R22. A carbon dioxide called R744 is a refrigerant grade CO2. R744 can be used for a variety of refrigeration needs, such as, air conditioning, commercial refrigeration, process chilling, or heat extraction. Linde believes R722 will help meet the world-wide environmental regulations.

Carbon dioxide has been used as a refrigerant since the 19th century. When fluorocarbons were introduced the 1930s, CO2 fell out of favor, and was all but cast aside by the 1950s. Today, with its low environmental impact, CO2 is now seeing a resurgence in popularity from refrigeration system designers and users.

Advantages of R744

According to Linde, R744 is now regaining popularity due to a number of advantages:

  • Low toxicity
  • Non-flammability
  • Zero ozone depletion potential
  • Very low global warming potential (GWP=1)
  • Excellent thermodynamic properties and low energy requirement

RETROFIT: Another Option

Another option is to start thinking retrofit. There are numerous commercial refrigeration systems that still use R22 gas. Although it is currently still possible to use R22, because it is being phased out, the cost is going up drastically. We recommend replacing the compressor unit and TXV expansion valve on coolers or freezers and then retrofitting to a new style of gas. This is especially valuable when an old R22 system compressor fails. The failure of the system becomes an opportunity to retrofit it to run on a gas that produces less ozone depletion during the repair process.

Honeywell Has a Retrofit Option for Current R22 Users

“Supermarket customers are looking for an R-22 replacement that can work in both retrofits and new equipment installations,” said Paul Sanders, Commercial Director for Honeywell Fluorine Products in Europe, Middle East, Africa and India. Genetron Performax LT offers a significant reduction in total greenhouse gas emission with the added benefit of lower operating costs.” Genetron Performax LT is an A1- rated refrigerant, indicating it has low toxicity and is non flammable. Honeywell advises against retrofitting too soon. The company suggests considering all aspects including the energy consumption of the refrigeration equipment throughout its remaining life. Retrofitting could prove to be more harmful to the environment when you add global warming potential into the equation. Sound service and maintenance schedules are vital to keeping any cooling system healthy and environmentally sound.

Whichever option you choose to use should be a carefully considered decision.  Give us a call at Northeast Cooling to discuss what refrigeration option is best for you and your business. We strive to meet your needs in the Greenest way possible.


Spring Cleaning for Commercial Refrigeration Equipment – Comprehensive Maintenance Checklist

Spring has Sprung!

Thoughts turn to blue skies and flowers. (Shh! Yes, it is snowing right this very minute in Chicagoland!)

Have you given thought to your commercial refrigeration needs? Probably not. When everything is chugging along in perfect working order, preventative maintenance often slips our minds. So, we’d like to give you a gentle reminder that preventative maintenance is always better than trying to find a cure for something that has already met its demise.

The best way to stay on top of your preventative maintenance needs is to keep a to-do list. Sounds like one more thing to add to your already full schedule, but it can be very simple. No need to complicate things. All you need is a straightforward checklist with the following:

  • Task
  • Department
  • Person
  • Date Checked

To make things easy for you, we’ve put together a list of items you should check on a regular basis.

Commercial Refrigeration Maintenance Checklist

Basic Refrigeration Maintenance Check List:

  • pressure clean / degrease condenser coils
  • clear condensate drain lines
  • check condition of  door gaskets
  • monitor thermostat operation and adjust as needed
  • monitor temperature and cycling
  • check compressor operation and control wiring
  • check refrigerant level
  • oil motors if oil ports exist
  • check unit thermometer
  • check suction line insulation
  • inspect door hinges & door closers
  • check and adjust defrost timers

Ice Machine Maintenance Check List:

  • all removable parts should be taken out and cleaned
  • bin drain should be pressure cleaned
  • an acid wash should be done on evaporator
  • bin should be scrubbed and sanitized
  • after cleaning ice level sense probe will need to be adjusted

Maintenance Check List for A/C:

  • pressure clean condenser coil
  • replace air filters
  • replace blower belt
  • clear condensate drain
  • check thermostat operation and settings

Did you know it can be dangerous to have a dirty ice machine?  It is very important to keep your ice machine clean!

Important Ice Machine Maintenance Tips

  • Clean Ice Cooler: Do this every other week and you’ll have ice cubes that are uniform in shape and don’t harbor an unpleasant odor. You risk your machine shutting down if you don’t clean regularly.
  • Check for Brown Slime: Ice machines can develop a brown slime.  This brown slime develops from specific types of yeast such as: airborne yeast, beer, brewing yeast, and baking yeast. We recommend that you consult your ice machine manufacturer’s manual.
  • Check Ice Machine Temperature: It’s important to keep your ice machine in a cool location. It will expend less energy and make better cubes.
  • Replace Ice Machine’s Water Filters Regularly: Every six (6) months. Ice quality will increase, and the speed in which ice is produced also increases.
  • Clean Your Condenser Coils: Condenser coils are often ignored by restaurants. Dirty condenser coils have an adverse effect on your ice cooler’s temperature, resulting in slow ice production. If your condenser coils are weighed down by gunk and grease, you should give us a call or Tweet us!
  • Maintain a Regular Professional Cleaning Schedule: Ice machine cleaning should be on your list of highly important kitchen jobs.  We recommend you hire a certified technician, like Northeast Cooling, to clean your ice maker every 6 months.

It’s easy to take your commercial refrigeration, especially your ice machine, for granted. It’s always there: churning out perfect cubes for your every need. To keep those cubes perfect, you need regular preventative maintenance.

Benefits of Regular Preventative Maintenance

  • Reduce power consumption. It’s easy to be GREEN with a little preventative care.
  • Extend life of equipment, especially critical components like the compressor, capillary tube, and condenser fan motor.
  • Avoid costly EMERGENCY service caused by lack of maintenance.
  • Avoid mold growth and contaminated “spotted” ice. (To combat this, have ice machines taken apart and cleaned at least twice per year.)
  • Properly maintained line coolers won’t cause system oil and capillary tube breakdown and/or compressor failure.
  • Proper door seal reduces power consumption and extends life of equipment.

Find more helpful information on how you can save energy, and money, by following @Refrigeration on Twitter and Northeast Cooling on Facebook.

Avoid Refrigeration Break Downs During Chicago Blizzard Weather

A large storm system is approaching Chicago.  Word on the street is that this could be the biggest Chicago blizzard in a long long time.  While this type of weather can be fun for kids who are looking for a few days off of school, it can be a nightmare for Chicago restaurants.

Here are a few reasons why.

These winters are often typical to Chicago, and they can lead to big problems with commercial refrigeration equipment.  Extremely cold weather can cause coolers and commercial freezers to run warm.  Large amounts of snow fall can also cause equipment to break down and lead to costly repairs.

This is especially true when the compressor units of your commercial refrigeration are located outside where drifting snow can get drawn into cooling condensers.  When this happens the compressors can shut off due to an internal safety switch.  During times of snow accumulation and or drifting snow, care should be taken to insure outdoor compressor units don’t get buried in snow.  This will result in warm product temperature in the conditioned space.

We recommend that after a snow storm, you and your restaurant should have an inspection of outdoor compressor units.  This inspection will help to ensure that they are not buried in snow.  If they are on a roof, a service company should be called out to perform the inspection for safety reasons.

Be sure to keep an eye on cooler and freezer temperatures during and after heavy snow fall.  You should also call for service if there is a rise in cooler or ice box temperature.

Northeast Cooling would be happy to help keep your valuable and important equipment running smoothly during this Chicago harsh winter weather.

For other tips on how your restaurant can save energy and money, be sure to follow Refrigeration on Twitter, and Fan Northeast Cooling on Facebook.