How many system-critical components are there inside a modern commercial freezer? Which key engineering element impacts coolroom efficiency the most? A powerful but energy efficient refrigeration unit is essential, naturally enough. Then there’s the environmentally safe refrigerant to examine, plus a properly sealed door. Just as important as any one of those features, high-thermal insulation materials prevent energy losses.

Consulting a Thermography Expert

Did you know that special services can actually “see” where the heat losses on an insulated coolroom wall are going? They use special thermal imaging cameras to generate infra-red pictures of the heat loss zones. Using this technology, they know substandard wall panels glow red with FLIR (Forward Looking Infra-Red) imaged colour when they’re installed on a commercial freezer. To the touch, the panelling feels ice cold. However, using that special camera, it can tell that there are energy losses taking place all over the sealed enclosure.

Different Types of Insulation Material

If the establishment had access to other types of thermal insulation, what would they install? Well, going back twenty years, they’d use expanded polystyrene. Fibreglass was the other option, but both materials tended to get waterlogged, perhaps due to a defrost cycle. The only way around this issue would be to roll in a massive dehumidifier. What a waste the whole waterlogged debacle must-ve been. Anyway, enough with the history lesson. Contemporary high-thermal materials have crossed off the “expanded” prefix and replaced it with the word extruded. Then, if extruded polystyrene doesn’t quite fit the bill, there’s polyurethane, with its super-efficient thermal insulation feature to appraise.

The High-Thermal Installation Methods

Spray foam insulation offers a higher than average R-value (Heat flow resistance), but spray-on mediums can still trap moisture. Composite panels are next, with their insulating cores blocking water vapour transmission. They also feature an easy-to-install mechanism, plus a rugged exposed outer surface. Last of all, some manufacturers offer poured-in-place materials. Again, this substance is probably going to fill the wall voids as a soft, curable form of urethane. Perhaps most importantly of all, though, this higher R-value rating, which can be twice as high as expanded polystyrene, is offered without broadening the thickness of the insulation. Indeed, high-thermal materials deliver enhanced heat flow resistance without adding clunky waste to a commercial freezer’s wall surfaces.

As an upshot of those thinner design, extruded polystyrene panels and urethane insulants don’t trap water, nor do they promote mould growths. Designed for the present but ready for the future, this small group of high-thermal insulation materials continues to transform the commercial freezer and coolroom sector.

Employees don’t always stop to think about coolroom safety issues, nor do they pause when they’re accessing a freezer door for the millionth time. Maybe they should. Maybe they need to stop, take stock of matters, and read the laminated door safety guide, the one that’s stapled to a wall next to the commercial coolroom they’re accessing. To begin with, is everyone aware of the door access protocols?

Door Opening Protocols

In an office setting, workers close doors out of a sense of politeness. Proprietary aside, there may even be an office memo asking the staff to close the doors. That’s a privacy and energy-conserving strategy, of course. In coolrooms and freezers, the commercial models that are big enough to access, door seals are part of the large appliance’s working mechanism. For this reason, the door cannot be left open or ajar for any length of time. Bottom line, the door should be closed when it’s accessed and closed again when the employee leaves the confines of the coolroom environment.

Maintenance Importance

Yes, proactive checks are incredibly important. There are seal checks and heater element inspections to conduct, which affect the energy efficiency of the refrigeration unit. Less obviously, properly operating door latches and seals keep the temperature predictably low, so the perishable items in that coolroom or freezer stay fresh. Equally importantly, transient stresses are placed on refrigeration equipment when the enclosure isn’t sealed properly. Stressed appliances age fast and fail prematurely.

Door-Specific Maintenance Checks

On watching a refrigeration engineer, he’s bent over the door, concentrating on his work. A lubricating gun is greasing the door hinges and latch mechanism. After the work is done, the oily traces are cleaned up and disposed of in a nearby bin . A clean cooling environment is essential after all, and grease can draw dirt like a magnet. If there’s a transparent plastic curtain behind the door, one made of flexible strips, the tech will also take this opportunity to replace any damaged or abraded strips.

There’s still more to do before the maintenance concludes. There’s maybe a heating element surrounding the door seal. Is that element functioning properly? Moreover, is the seal intact and still entirely flexible? For safety’s sake, the door latch must operate from the inside. Finally, just as a life-saving backup, the engineer moves away from the door. The lock-in alarm is tested, the button checked to make sure it’s fully functional, and the intercom, if one is provided, is used. Simply put, door safety and maintenance procedures should be conducted both inside and outside commercial coolrooms and freezers.

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