5 Steps To Conserve Energy & Extend Life Of Refrigeration Equipment In Chicago

The following is a short, but extremely important, list of things end-users can do on their own to reduce power usage and extend the life of their commercial refrigeration units including coolers, freezers, and ice machines.

 

This list is easy to check, and  critical in maintaining proper product temperature. If, after reading this, you should have any questions please feel free to contact us!

1: KEEP CONDENSER COILS CLEAN:

This includes condensers on coolers, freezers, and ice machines! The condenser coil is the heat exchanger on refrigeration units. It’s the coil located on the outside of unit and expels the heat from refrigerant by passing it through a coil with the aid of a fan. It is ESSENTIAL TO KEEP THIS COIL CLEAN for proper operation of the unit. Failure to do so will result in expensive repairs including, but not limited to, compressor failure, fan motor failure, capillary tubing restrictions, burnt wiring and thermostat failure.

We recommend that the condenser coil be pressure cleaned by a service company at least every six months. In between professional maintenance users can clean the coil with a brush. The brush method does not clean within the coil though, and should not be considered a substitute for regular maintenance. On a kitchen line these coils may need to be degreased and cleaned more frequently. Self contained coolers and freezers usually have the condenser coil located at the base or on top of the unit. It can usually be accessed by removing 4 Phillips type screws at the corners of a cover. Ice machines generally have condenser coil located at rear of machine. It may have an air filter covering it, that should be washed. Routine inspection should be done frequently. A clean condenser coil is one way to GO GREEN by saving on power consumption and greatly prolonging the life of  the equipment. The following picture is a condenser coil long overdue for cleaning. We see this on a daily basis.

Refrigeration Condenser Coil

2: UNIT CLEARANCES:

In order to maintain proper air flow around the condenser coil it is important to keep minimum clearances around units. Most factories recommend 2 to 4 inches of clearance around sides & back of self contained units. Our recommendation is the more clearance the better!  We would like to see 5 to 8 inches of clearance around sides and the  back of unit. We understand that space is limited in commercial kitchens. We also know that the more air that can freely move through the condenser section of a unit, the less power will be consumed and the longer vital components will last. Jamming coolers against one another and directly against a wall is a sure way to expend the most amount of energy and guarantee many problems. We do not recommend boxing coolers in under bars or any enclosure. Not only will this create airflow issues, but units that are built-in are extremely difficult and time-consuming to service.

3: GASKETS:

Your refrigeration has worked hard to achieve proper product temperature, why let the cold seep out? Routinely inspect the door gaskets (seals) on all coolers and freezers.  Make sure all four sides of gaskets are making good solid contact with door frame. Check for tears, rips, or missing magnetic strips in gaskets. If gaskets are found to be worn out and not sealing well they should be replaced. The key to maintaining temperature and reducing run times, as well as power consumption is a good door seal. This is especially true in a hot kitchen!

4: DOOR HINGES & CLOSERS:

To ensure that doors on refrigeration units close properly most hinges have spring cartridges that assist in closing the doors. On larger coolers and freezers, especially walk-in equipment there may be a hydraulic door closer located at the top of the door on exterior section. Most cooks, and kitchen employees, are much too busy rushing orders out to be worried about ensuring doors are properly closed. This is why automatic door closers are so vital. If automatic door closers are not working properly then there is a good chance the doors are ajar. Doors that are not closed all the way will lead to excessive run time, inefficient use  of energy, and shorten the life of the equipment. It will also cause the evaporator coils to ice up. Check your door closure operation by opening the door all the way and then gently pushing it closed. If closer is working correctly it should do the rest of the work and pull door closed. If door does not close on its own we recommend new hinges or closer hardware.

5: CALCULATE ACCURATE INTERNAL FOOD TEMPERATURE:

We recommend using a product sensing thermometer versus an air sensing thermometer in refrigeration units due to rapidly changing ambient conditions. Using an air sensing thermometer only tells you how cold the air is in a refrigeration unit at the moment you open it. There are times when it does not give an accurate picture of a product’s actual temperature. For actual average product temperature use  Sure Temp Glycol filled thermometer. This thermometer is encased in liquid and will provide an accurate average temperature reading of the product in a conditioned space. After leaving the Sure Temp thermometer in a conditioned space for a few hours take a look and see what the temperature reading is. On a cooler 34- 40 F degrees is good. If it’s colder you can raise the thermostat to a warmer setting and thereby save energy. A freezer storing ice cream should be around  -10 F. After establishing average temperature with Sure Temp thermometer adjustments to the thermostat can be made.

We hope this information has been useful and IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS about energy conservation, maintenance, or the Sure Temp thermometer in the Chicago area GIVE US A CALL AT: 847-409-3332.

 


Go Green! Everyday Earth Day Tips

Earth Day is here! What steps you can take to live a greener life?

Here are some suggestions to help green-up your life:

Replace old style light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL). These bulbs will save up to $30 during the course of it’s lifetime. They pay for themselves within 6 months.

Use rain barrels to collect water for your garden instead of using your hose. “It’s a simple fact of life that all gardens need water. So, where do you get it? Most people simply turn on the tap and water away. But there is an alternative – rainwater. Consider this: one inch of rain will yield half a gallon of water for every square foot. That means that 100 square feet can capture 50 gallons of water. That’s a lot of water and in the city most of it will go down the sewer drains.” Source Joanne Jones – EzineArticles.com Expert Author

Unplug anything you are not using. Power is consumed even when an appliance is turned off!  “In the average home, 75% of the electricity used to power home electronics and appliances is consumed while the products are turned off. This can be avoided by unplugging the appliance or using a power strip and using the switch on the power strip to cut all power to the appliance.” Source U.S. Department Of Energy

Save gas, stay healthy! Ride a bicycle for short trips instead of using your car. “The first reason to use a bicycle for short distances is that you can cause a decrease of pollution. Because many people use their cars to move short distances, they increase the rates of pollution causing more pollution problems to our environment. That is why the use of a bicycle for short distances is a really good idea to help lower the rates of pollution.” Source Advanced Composition for Non- Native Speakers of English eslbee.com

Recycle as much as possible. Most cities now offer separate cans for recycling. Take advantage of this and reduce the amount of waste going to landfills. “Recycling a stack of newspapers just 3 feet high saves 1 tree.” Source Groot Inc. Here is a fun recycling calculator called the conversionator provided by Groot Inc.

Refrigeration consumes 20% of all energy used in the world. Properly maintaining equipment will reduce the amount of power used. Make sure the door seals are in good shape and making proper contact with the door frame. Keep condenser coils clean & inspect them monthly. Have a qualified service company perform clean and checks on commercial refrigeration at least twice a year.

I’ve covered a lot, but there is more that we can do to save the world! We all need to work together, so let’s share ideas!  How do you go green?

Have a great Earth Day!


CrossFire™ LED lighting system – 85% Savings in Energy Costs

If you are in the commercial refrigeration industry and you have been wanting to chop off a big chunk of your energy cost expenses then the CrossFire™ LED lighting system is the best option for you.  Imagine saving about 85% of your energy cost by using the CrossFire™ LED lighting system – 85% that you could reinvest in other aspects of your refrigeration business.

Money is not the only thing you will save with the CrossFire™ LED lighting system because it will also lessen, if not remove, the heat that is being added to your cold environment. This feature of the CrossFire™ will help increase the life of your compressor as it reduces its run times because of the heat reduction that the CrossFire™ gives.

These positive points will make you save even more money because there will be lesser, if not no maintenance cost at all in your part,  and your initial investment in purchasing the CrossFire™ will be paid back in no time because of the huge savings it will give you in your energy costs. In less than two years, the money you have shelled out in your LED investment will have been paid off already.

The CrossFire™ LED lighting system is a new offering of SCHOTT Gemtron –  the leader in delivering outstanding refrigeration solutions.