Energy bills are on the increase and when you are in the business of preparing and serving food, you have got a lot of money tied up in the stock in your commercial freezer. Commercial freezers are vital pieces of kit for both wholesale and retail food businesses, but keeping perishable products cold 24/7 eats up a lot of electricity. When trying to turn a profit margin, you need to think seriously about money and energy saving tips for your commercial freezer. Before looking at six handy tips around saving money and energy it is important to understand how the refrigeration process works. The refrigeration cycle has 5 basic components:
- Evaporator coils (inside of the freezer)
- Condenser coils (outside of the freezer)
- Fluid refrigerant
- Compressor that controls the flow of the fluid
- Expansion device
The compressor raises the pressure of the refrigerant through compression, then pushes the refrigerant vapour into the coils on the outside of the freezer. Hot gas in the coils meet with the colder air in the kitchen or storage area and turns into a liquid. The liquid refrigerant flows into the coils on the inside of the freezer and cools down, then it absorbs any heat in the freezer cooling down the air. Finally, the refrigerant evaporates into a gas, flows into the compressor and the whole cycle starts all over again. Bearing this in mind, let’s look at 6 of the top hints and tips.
1. Get your commercial freezer serviced on a regular basis
You wouldn’t dream of running your car into the ground without having regular services and checks, and the same goes for your freezer. Using a professional and experienced commercial refrigeration service will save money in the long run. The professionals will check the efficiency of the freezing cycle and monitor and maintain the key components both outside and inside the freezer unit.
2. Keep the system clean and free from dust
The coils in particular are a vital part of the heat transfer process, if they are clogged up with dust and other contaminants, the freezing process is not going to be as energy efficient as it used to be, when the unit was first put in place. Dust acts as an insulator, so that the cold air in the kitchen area is not as effective in turning the hot gas into the liquid state it needs, for the next stage of the freezing process.
3. Monitor door closures and seals
If door seals split or bulge, they fail to do their job properly, which is to create a vacuum and seal in the cold air. Every time you open the lid or door to a freezer unit, the longer you keep it open, the harder the unit has to work to maintain the correct temperature. Humid warm air can quickly compromise the integrity of the frozen food which may have to be thrown away, if not meeting strict environmental health standards. All this leads to down time in replacing the stock, and a waste of money as the thawed products have to be thrown away. Regular checks on auto closers and door gaskets, as well as rubber seals, to make sure they are in good working condition, will reduce this wastage.
4. Buy energy efficient units
Investing in good quality commercial freezers from an experienced company who only sources from the best brands is very important. There are energy saving devices that can be incorporated into commercial freezers at point of installation, so that you save money from day one. Switching from an old outdated model to equipment that uses a fraction of the energy of other brands, will see consumption of energy reduce. If using case lighting systems, install motion sensors so that lights are only switched on and off when needed.
5. Revisit the kitchen/storage layout
If you operate a working kitchen then think about the layout – separate the cooling and the heating equipment and put similar units under the same ventilation hoods. In any environment where there are commercial freezers, ensure that there is enough space around the units to allow better airflow around the heat exchange coils. This will ensure that the amount of wasted energy is reduced.
6. Install adaptive controls and fit night curtains
If you have open cases, then to reduce the refrigerated air from escaping once business hours are over, install night curtains. If you have a problem with condensation on display doors due to ambient conditions do not keep the anti-sweat heaters on all the time. Install adaptive controls to these devices so that when needed, they will automatically turn on and off. Some commercial companies are able to install alarms that will text or call your smart phone if the power supply is interrupted outside business hours. This will allow you to get back into the workplace and move frozen stock to another unit before it becomes compromised and has to be thrown away.
Todays, market and technology means there are a number of ways in which you can save money and energy, as well as a few simple housekeeping routines and a professional commercial refrigeration and freezer company will be able to discuss all the options open to you.