Choosing a commercial refrigeration system isn’t easy. If your firm needs one, then it will be best to speak to experts in the industry rather than thinking you can get away with making use of fridges and freezers that are designed as domestic appliances. Many smaller enterprises, especially those which are run from residential addresses, make do with standard appliances but they are not ideal. Typically, they are just not sufficiently spacious or reliable enough.
Instead, commercial laboratories, storage centres, professional kitchens, cold stores and warehouses should all be using a true commercial refrigeration system. Rather than being made up of stand-alone units, commercial refrigeration equipment is more likely to be installed as a system. This makes them more energy efficient to run because each of the units can be integrated with the others in the system. Of course, different businesses have very different requirements from their systems which is why getting professional help or even a bespoke design is preferable.
What are the main options to weigh up when choosing a commercial refrigeration system in the UK today?
Types of Commercial Refrigeration Units
To begin with, there are several different types of commercial refrigeration units that are available on the market these days. Your firm may only need one type but most companies have a variety of needs so you should know about all the different uses and models. This way, your system can consist of a single type or several different ones, depending on your intended usage.
Perhaps the most common type of commercial refrigeration device in use today is a stand-alone fridge. These are common in professional kitchens and within catering firms and food product manufacturers. They tend to differ from domestic appliances considerably, though. Typically, they offer greater flexibility with their internal configuration arrangements, allowing you to store more of the things you need. They will also be dedicated to refrigerated goods only and not contain a freezer compartment as is common with domestic fridges.
The next type of unit is an under-counter fridge or freezer. Designed to be kept discreetly in bars and smaller commercial kitchens, these units are lightweight and designed to be easy to move around. There again, you might want to make use of refrigerated counters. Typically made from stainless steel, these refrigeration systems are ideal in food preparation areas, affording a great deal of flexibility. At the other end of the scale is a cold room, an entire walk-in space that is designed to handle large amounts of produce. These are the least flexible option, ideal for warehousing applications and larger commercial kitchens, alike.
Whichever type(s) of refrigeration unit you go for, the next thing to think about carefully is the amount of energy it will use. In some cases, you might not want to use your system at capacity. If so, a design that allows you to switch off one or more units while the others are in operation would be handy. Overall, however, you need to look at the average energy consumption of each part of the system.
Simply put, some commercial refrigeration equipment uses much more energy than others. Of course, better insulation certainly helps to lower running costs but there is more to it than that. According to TJ Refrigeration, commercial refrigeration equipment installers in Rochdale, all commercial designs should be bespoke to help keep energy consumption at a minimum. If not, the system may not be cost-effective in a world with soaring energy prices.
Current and Future Needs
The size and shape of your commercial refrigeration system must be able to cope with the sort of items you will place into it. Cold stores that handle whole beef carcasses will necessarily need to be larger than those handling pharmaceuticals and other medical products, for example. However, not over-sizing your system will be important, too, if the running costs are to be kept low.
Of course, to be able to cope with the demands it will be placed under today is one thing but what about the future? Although some commercial refrigeration systems can be added to with additional modules, it is often better to plan for your future requirements at the initial design stage. This way, your installation should be able to meet all of your current needs and be future-proofed to cope with business growth down the line, too. Remember that overall volumetric capacity is only one consideration in this regard. You need to think about the size and shape of items you’ll need to handle in the future, as well.