For most people, air-conditioning is a means of keeping cool in the heat of summer. But technically, the conditioning of air means more than just cooling it. If done properly, it also keeps the air clean. Good filtering and proper maintenance of air-conditioning equipment will not only keep your customers, cool it will also reduce dust accumulation on display areas and display cases. (That means those boxed dinners won’t have to get dusted quite so often!)
Of course, if the air-conditioner isn’t filtering the air, other things will collect dust and dirt, such as self-contained spot display cases, ice machines, electronic equipment like registers and computers and open display cases (those with out doors). They can and will accumulate dirt in places that will shorten their operation lives and efficiency.
So remember to condition the air for your customers and your equipment.
All of your refrigerated equipment was designed to work properly in conditioned spaces (that is, with average temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity of no more than 50). If you air conditioning equipment doesn’t properly control both air temperature and humidity, some of the following can occur.
- Your refrigeration equipment will assume the job of not only keeping product cold, but will also do something it isn’t designed to do: It will cool your store. Although it may seem as if everything is okay, the compressors used to cool your equipment will take a beating because of the added load of cooling your store. Your electric bill will normally be higher in the summer, but if your display cases are cooling your store, the increase will be even greater.
- Moisture in the air accumulates on low-temperature coils in the form of frost. Frost on a cooling coil is almost the same as having dirt on it…it decreased the equipment’s ability to exchange heat from the air to the coil, which means longer or added defrost. While defrosting is a normal part of most refrigeration equipment maintenance, every defrost cycle means using extra energy to warm up the cooling coil and then more energy to cool it back down. The fewer the defrost procedures, the better (for the equipment and the owner). Uncontrolled humidity can show up, as a frost and sweat on product and other cold surfaces, like freezer door openings. Using the properly designed and maintained equipment makes good sense.
To ensure proper operation, some of the simple things that should be checked on your air-conditioning equipment are belts, filters, evaporator (the cooling coil should be cleaned, if dirty), condenser (outdoor coil should be cleaned, if dirty), both indoor and outdoor blower motors, refrigerant charge and control settings.
Remember there may be replacement filters and materials that are different than the original or currently installed ones that will be better and more efficient. Ask your professional service provider about this.
If you have any refrigeration, cooling or heating questions you’d like to see answered here, write to me in care of this web site. Or call us at Thermal-Stor Refrigeration, Inc. at 1-800-696-3360 or 603-641-6000.
By: Don Herod