Regular Cleaning of Condensor Coil in Refrigeration and Freezer Appliances Results in Maximum Efficiency
By Richard P. Fennelly
It’s a well-known industry fact that refrigeration and freezer appliances, which are no longer exclusive to supermarkets, are major electricity “hogs” in retail stores.
Unfortunately, many store owners/operators are not following an important maintenance task that is uniformly recommended by the manufacturers of these appliances: monthly or bimonthly cleaning of the condenser coil unit that is contained in the appliances. It is a topic that needs to be front and center for any organization interested in maximum efficiency for these appliances.
The need for such a cleaning protocol largely goes unrecognized because the visually non-appealing condenser coil unit lies hidden behind a panel or grille blocking view of its deteriorating condition over time.
The problem festers until a service technician discovers it on an expensive unscheduled service call when the unit begins to malfunction. With the projected market in refrigerated display cases alone slated to grow from about $8.8 billion dollars in 2012 to about $16.3 billion dollars in 2019, this issue is likely to grow exponentially, especially for plug-in units which might account for almost 68% of this growth.
Since the condenser coils are responsible for dumping the warm air extracted from the enclosed cooling chamber into the outside air, the build-up of dirt or debris on the coils will compromises their heat transfer ability and the cooling efficiency of the unit. And over time, such dirt and debris invariably does form on the coils unless a regular maintenance program is followed. The result: close to a 10% higher electricity bill for each refrigeration unit and close to a 20% higher bill for each freezer unit!
Additionally, the non-maintained units work harder, causing premature appliance aging due to longer run times, and have an increased chance of equipment failure because of higher pressures and operating temperatures. Finally, the store environment becomes less “green” as the coils collect dirt and other debris.
The benefits that come with a condenser coil unit cleaning program are reflected with 75% of those issues deemed most important by the attendees of the recent Star Refrigeration 2013 Roadshow, namely, energy savings/run efficiency (26%); operating cost (18%); reliability (14%); maintenance (14%); and performance (3%). (For survey, go to http://www.starrs2013.com/star-refrigeration-roadshow-2013-survey.aspx .)
What is the best way for the maintenance program to be conducted? Since the plug-in appliances containing these condenser units are located inside the store, the traditional cleaning method has been to use either a combination of brushing and vacuum or, even better, a combination of brushing, vacuum, with a supply of compressed air to assist in the dislodging of dirt or debris that is lodged within the coil structure.
Using compressed air (e.g., from a standard wet/dry vac) is problematic since, unless contained, this air steam will pollute the store environment necessitation additional cleanup. The traditional way in which dislodged debris has been captured has been the use of a container, such as a box, lined with a damp cloth to capture and hold the airborne debris. Often, a two person team was needed for the cleaning operation – one to hold the box/cloth capture device, the other to blow compressed air and vacuum during the cleaning operation.
Most recently, however, more scientifically engineered dust containment bags have been developed that allow for a single person to effectively blow out debris from the coils while vacuuming the airborne debris into a vacuum appliance without polluting the surrounding environment. In many cases, it is not even necessary to have this rather non-technical cleaning task performed by a refrigeration service technician — it is definitely within the capability of the do-it-yourselfer.
Preventative maintenance programs are often the first ones to be eliminated when operating budgets are reduced. This is shortsighted since a well-structured preventative maintenance program for these refrigeration and freezer energy “hogs” can more than pay for itself in energy savings while prolonging the life of such equipment and reducing the cost of maintaining it over its lifetime. It is easy to save from $100-$200 per unit in electric costs as a result of a disciplined condenser coil cleaning program. For stores that contain a multiple of such units, the savings can be in the thousands of dollars. These cost savings go directly to the bottom line.
There has been much talk and press attention given to a whole host of energy efficiency steps that the retail industry can take (energy efficient lighting, better insulation, better protocols for heating and cooling schedules, etc.). These all constitute “low hanging” fruit, most of which by this time has been picked. So how might we continue to squeeze out more efficiencies? Certainly, the scant attention that appears to have been paid to a disciplined PM program for the condenser coils in plug-in cooling appliances needs to change.
Richard P. Fennelly is director of product development at Coilpold.com, manufacturer of the Coilpold dust containment bag for use in the condenser coil cleaning of commercial refrigeration and freezer appliances ([email protected]).
Davaco Canada relocates office
Dallas — Davaco, a provider of high-volume programs and implementation services for global brands, announced that the company’s Canadian offices have relocated to a new space in Woodbridge, Ontario.
Effective immediately, Davaco Canada will operate its divisional office at 100 Marycroft Avenue, Unit # 4, Woodbridge, Ontario, L4L 5Y5.
According to founder/CEO Rick Davis, DAVACO’s new office space provides enhancements that further support its clients’ brand initiatives in Canada.
“We now have an on-site training and warehouse facility, which provides supplemental space for staging, assembly, storage of materials and assets, and consolidation capabilities for small programs,” said Davis. “In addition, the building has a centralized, accessible location, a more efficient design and increased capacity for future growth.”
Cabela’s plans three new stores in new markets, 23 total new stores
Sidney, Neb. — Cabela’s Inc. plans to enter three new markets in 2015 and 2016. The retailer will open new stores in Ammon, Idaho; Short Pump, Va.; and Fort Oglethorpe, Ga.
Construction is scheduled to begin later in 2014 on the Ammon store and Cabela’s plans to open the location in spring 2015. The 42,000-sq.-ft. store will be located in the Sandcreek Commons development. It will be Cabela’s third Idaho location, joining the Boise store opened in 2006 and the Post Falls store opened in 2007. Cabela’s expects the store to employ approximately 90 full-time and part-time employees, most of whom will come from Ammon and the surrounding area.
The Ammon store will be designed with a rugged look and feel and offer seasonal product assortments. In addition the store also will feature museum-quality wildlife displays, digital signage, an indoor archery range and archery tech room, gun counter and more.
Customers will have access to all Cabela’s merchandise via online order kiosks, as well as free shipping with an in-store pickup program. In-store pickup allows customers to order Cabela’s gear ahead of time and pick it up at their convenience at the store of their choice.
Construction is scheduled to begin in 2015 on the Short Pump store and Cabela’s anticipates a spring 2016 opening. The 97,500-sq.-ft. store will be located in the Short Pump Station regional shopping center. The store will be built in Cabela’s next-generation layout, designed to surround customers in an outdoor experience. It will feature thousands of quality outdoor products, as well as museum-quality wildlife displays, a mountain with a built-in aquarium, gun library, bargain cave, indoor archery range and archery tech room, boat shop, fudge shop and deli. It also will feature a Wildlife and Land Management department offering a full complement of tractors, attachments, feed and seed and more.
Construction is scheduled to begin later in 2014 on the Fort Oglethorpe store and Cabela’s projects a fall 2015 opening. The 70,000-square-foot store will be located in Catoosa County in a development serving the greater Chattanooga, Tenn., area. It will be Cabela’s third Georgia store, joining the Augusta location scheduled to open in March and the Acworth location scheduled to open this fall. Cabela’s expects the store to employ approximately 140 full-time and part-time employees. Most will come from Catoosa County and the surrounding area.
The store will include a mountain replica featuring North American game animals recreated in their natural habitat, an aquarium, bargain cave, indoor archery range, deli and more. Cabela’s plans to open 23 stores in the next two stores.
Construction is scheduled to begin later this year and Cabela’s projects a fall 2015 opening. The 70,000-square-foot store will be located in Catoosa County near the intersection of Interstate 75 and State Route 146 in a development currently anchored by Costco, serving the greater Chattanooga, Tenn., area.
It will be Cabela’s third Georgia store, joining the Augusta location scheduled to open in March and the Acworth location scheduled to open this fall. Cabela’s expects the store to employ approximately 140 full-time and part-time employees. Most will come from Catoosa County and the surrounding area.
The store will include a mountain replica featuring North American game animals recreated in their natural habitat, an aquarium, bargain cave, indoor archery range, deli and more, in addition to thousands of quality outdoor products.