Let’s cut straight to the chase. Cool rooms don’t just keep flowers fresh, they stop them from blossoming. In effect, the cold acts like a pause button. That means, should a large delivery of floral merchandise arrive at a shop, the staff can create a biological buffer for themselves. Instead of the merchandise opening, according to some biological imperative, a temporary halt is placed on its growth cycle.

Cool Rooms Are Floral Time Machines

Or maybe they should be described as stasis chambers, like the suspended animation devices found in science-fiction movies? Whatever the label, their purpose is clear. By taking a product that has a finite lifespan, by placing that time-sensitive organic inventory in a chilly cool room, a shop owner gains a kind of superpower. They can suspend a flower’s blossoming cycle. Okay, this power is temporary, for the plants are still aging, but they’re now ripening at a very slow pace. Stabilized and locked into the budding stage, flowering petals won’t put in an appearance until a florist is ready to make an arrangement.

Working Without a Cool Room Sure, the room is equipped with a refrigeration unit, but the cool breeze blown from that ceiling-mounted appliance isn’t meant to freeze anything. There goes the suspended animation analogy, but that’s okay. No, there’s a late autumn chill inside the glass-walled room, not a flower-killing winter frost. Without that cold, a truck-full of budding plants would flower after a few days of storage. Even the ambient warmth in a shop office would be enough to trigger the blossoming stage. Imagine the scene, with every single flower showing off its petals over the span of two or three working days. For the shop staff, the colourful display would be magnificent, but no one else would get to enjoy that flowery scent or the richly-hued petals, for that matter. As the floral arrangements came together, they’d wilt and spoil. What’s left to say? Successful flower shops won’t enjoy their profits for long if their arrangements leave the shop looking lifeless and desiccated.

Suffice to say, flower shops need cool rooms. Those sealed little rooms keep flowers rosy fresh and fabulous. Of course, since they’re part of a shop’s overall appearance, metal panels and opaque insulants are out. Instead of those energy-saving wall panels, glass-walled plates and sliding doors are given preference. The polished glass shows off a just-blossomed arrangement while the budding plants remain concealed on a second or third row. Why, there’s even a separate work area in there, where arrangements are stored until they’re ready to be delivered, en masse, to a wedding or large event. Basically, this is a flower shop’s buffer area, and it’s that buffer that gives a shop owner power over a flower’s growth cycle.

Starting with an obvious observation, the team members who are responsible for taking apart a coolroom need to protect themselves. Granted, if this is a newer construct, it’s likely been designed to come apart easily. In other words, it’s modular. That being said, sharp edges will become exposed as the chamber breaks apart. Wear protective gloves and observe the following guidelines.

Electrically Isolate the Equipment

There are live electrical circuits humming quietly inside operational coolrooms. Even when the refrigeration equipment isn’t powered, perhaps because the thermostat isn’t active, there could be a dangerously high electrical charge nearby. Remember, this equipment requires a moderately high amount of power. Moreover, the chamber likely has lots of exposed metal parts. If an electrical shock does occur in here, it could prove fatal. Always safely isolate the circuits. Turn them off at the fuse board, pull the fuses, or lock down the circuit breakers. Even after all of those actions have been taken, a professional refrigeration technician will still want to test the circuits to make sure every live wire is safely depowered.

Relocating the Refrigeration Equipment It’s not hard to relocate the electrical wiring. In point of fact, it might just be cheaper to rewire the whole thing. If the wiring is kept, check the insulation for any abrasive scratching. If the wires are damaged, they can’t be used again. Anyway, even while taking the possibilities of wiring damage into account, this is still a straightforward procedure. For the refrigeration unit, well, things can get a mite more complicated. For starters, there’s the refrigerant to deal with when breaking down the gear. A dismantling or decommissioning process can’t begin by ripping the gear out of its ducting. No, the fluid has to be depressurized and discharged. There are refrigerant recovery protocols to observe, plus the storage/transferring equipment to purchase. Then, if this really is a decommissioning job, there might be an environmentally harmful fluorocarbon load to safely dispose of, as regulated by a nationally accredited ruling body. 

In order of personal and environmental hazards, the electrical dangers come out on top. They’re more immediate, for high electrical currents can kill instantly. Next, an environmental hazard exists as a charged refrigerant load. The fluid needs to be discharged and valves need to be sealed. The recovery procedure clearly requires the services of an expert engineer. This is no job for an amateur. Finally, mechanical dangers are easier to pinpoint. Sharp edges can cut sensitive skin while heavy walls can crush limbs. Incidentally, unforeseen hazards are always lurking. Wear a breathing mask, just in case the wall insulation contains dangerous fibres. That mask will also provide additional protection, should dangerous bacterial spores be concealed in those wall panels.

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