Have you disconnected your refrigeration equipment during quarantine?
Check the measures to protect your equipment when turning it back on
During these times of coronavirus pandemic, quarantine and lockdown procedures, many food service businesses have had to shut down for a while or had their demand strongly reduced. In result, some may have chosen to disconnect their equipment to save energy. In this case, there are some easy measures that can be taken to protect your investment.
Tips for restarting disconnected equipment
- If the equipment will not be used for many days, disconnecting it ends up being the proper choice. Here are some recommendations by Application engineers David Ramirez and John Prall, both from Nidec Global Appliance, holder of the Embraco brand, a global reference in technology for the complete domestic and commercial cold chain. Both have many years of experience working with Embraco’s compressors and refrigeration solutions.
- Types of equipment. Stand alone equipment – such as an upright freezer, undercounter or prep table – are very easy to shut down and power back on. It’s part of it’s normal daily cycle to have the system shut down throughout the day. Of course, it generally occurs only for a few minutes at a time and not days. Whereas remote systems almost never are off and require a technician to decommission and recommission them if they are to be shut down.
- If possible, after shutting down, take the opportunity to make any maintenance needed in the equipment.
- Before restarting, it is recommended to clean the condenser and evaporator, because the accumulated dust affects the equipment’s normal operation and can elevate energy consumption.
- When restarting it after a long period of time, there are two things that may occasionally happen: a longer time to reach the design temperature and an elevated energy consumption, which is normal in this situation.
- It’s a good idea to allow the cabinet to achieve design temperature before stocking the product so as not to overload the equipment and increase pull down time unnecessarily. The compressor works hardest during a hot pull down and typically will remain at full load amperage until reaching the correct temperature.
- If you must restart the equipment with a big stock of product, then, after doing so, don’t turn it off again for at least 24 hours. It is also recommendable to allow the equipment to reach a stable condition of temperature before putting more product inside it again.
- The most important thing to consider when restocking equipment that has been off is that the product going into the cabinet is at temperature and not too warm or it will take very long to reach the appropriate temperature.
To conclude, David Ramirez explains that disconnecting equipment to save energy is not always the best choice if it is only for short periods of time. “Normally, you imagine that will improve the energy consumption of your equipment by shutting it off in moments of lower demand, such as during the night. But in this case, we have to take in consideration that when we disconnect an equipment, the internal temperature tends to get higher and when turning it on again, it will require a lot more energy to pull down the temperature”, he explains. “The temperature variation also accelerates the decomposition of food and beverages, so the recommendation, in short period situations, would be to put the equipment in economy mode and not to turn it off”, completes the engineer.