You wouldn’t buy a top of the range car then never service it so why do the same with equipment which your business relies on?
With the current economic climate still causing concern for most UK businesses, some firms are likely to be tempted to cut corners and avoid regular service and maintenance checks for their air conditioning and refrigeration equipment. Yet this could have catastrophic effects and in the event of serious breakdowns, cost more in the long run with hefty repair bills or even the need to buy new equipment, as well as the potential loss in production.
With more than 60 years’ experience in the design, supply and installation of air conditioning and refrigeration throughout Europe and beyond, we are the specialists for chilled production facilities, cold rooms and ice plant for a range of major players in the food industry as well as temperature controlled rooms for pharmaceutical companies and the NHS.
Our Service & Maintenance Department has dedicated teams of engineers who work together to achieve a service, which is fast, effective and reliable. Our reputation has been built upon our attention to detail and rapid reaction times. To help minimise equipment breakdown and the inevitable disruption to your business, we offer highly competitive maintenance contracts, individually tailored to meet your needs. And we can be contacted 24 hours a day, 365 days a year!
Foster McKenzie, Service Director at ACE, says there has definitely been an increase this year in the number of call outs to repair equipment which hasn’t been properly maintained or serviced regularly.
He states: “A fan coil unit with a filter completely clogged with dust and debris will result in a reduced air flow due to resistance with a consequent loss in performance, or an increase in fan power to overcome the extra resistance, with obvious health consequences.”
“Poor maintenance such as not cleaning the fan coils or filters properly can increase operating costs by between 15-25%, and then when breakdowns do occur, firms end up having to pay far more for repairs or replacement equipment than regular service and maintenance would have initially cost.”
ACE Refrigeration, who offer a variety of service and maintenance packages for air conditioning and refrigeration to customers, insist the benefits of regular service and maintenance pay off in the long term.
“Regular maintenance protects the value of your equipment as well as extending its life cycle. And in addition to the obvious health benefits to users, there are also lower repair costs, lower energy costs and ultimately reduced running costs,” he added. ”Not to mention less disruption to your business if you have say a food production facility which relies on chilled refrigeration or freezer rooms.”
There are also health and safety regulations to be considered too.
F-Gas Regulation’s refrigerant leak checking regime is another process towards realising optimum efficiency.
Any organisation using HFC refrigerants must ensure that they meet with requirements under the EC F-Gas Regulations which came into effect in 2007 or risk a fine of up to £5,000 for non-compliance.
This means that to remain compliant, refrigeration systems must be leak tested regularly. Circuits containing 3kg to 30kg of refrigerant should be leak tested annually. Circuits containing 30kg to 300kg of refrigerant should be tested once every six months and for circuits containing more than 300kg, such as large refrigeration plants, the legal requirement is leak testing once every quarter.
Foster says: ”A 15% loss of refrigerant can equate to a 50% drop in operating efficiency. F-Gas leak checks and the legal requirement for leaks and any consequent repairs to be recorded in a maintenance log will help serve to reduce such efficiency losses.”
“Regular PPM – Planned Preventative Maintenance – is the key to reducing the overall operational cost of your refrigeration and air conditioning equipment. This will also satisfy HSE that you are showing due diligence and complying with Health and Safety legislation. Some insurance companies will also reduce your annual liability insurance if you can prove that you have regular PPM carried out on your equipment too.”
“Many common refrigerants are powerful greenhouse gases. 1kg of the refrigerant R134a has a global warming potential around 1,300 times greater than that of 1kg of CO2. Therefore it’s illegal to knowingly vent refrigerants, so as soon as you know of a leak, you must take immediate action to find and fix it then recharge the system with fresh coolant.”
“A good maintenance contractor can do this for you but shop around, cheapest isn’t necessarily best. Always find out exactly what’s on each company’s service and maintenance checklist so you have peace of mind that your equipment is being properly maintained. ”
ACE Refrigeration is one of a growing number of air conditioning and refrigeration companies to become Real Zero accredited.
The company holds a Real Zero Gold Certificate obtained after embracing the principles of the Institute of Refrigeration Real Zero campaign.
Developed in the UK and now rolled out throughout Europe, Real Zero provides a belief that no refrigerant leakage is acceptable and lays down a strict methodology in how best to achieve this.
Foster adds: “We recognise our staff as one of our biggest assets, that’s why we continually strive to help them improve the service they give to our customers by investing in their training and ensuring every service and maintenance customer is receiving the best possible care from our fully qualified engineers.”
“Ten years ago we were responsible for the air conditioning and refrigeration installations at the West of Scotland Blood Transfusion Centre at Gartnavel Hospital in Glasgow. During those 10 years we have continually serviced and maintained the refrigeration plant, the result being only one compressor failure out of the 33 separate systems installed, proving the cost-effectiveness of regular maintenance. And because they have been well looked after, these installations will most likely last another 10 years. ”
Foster sums up the maintain/repair predicament many firms with tightening budgets face: ”Ultimately the choice can be as simple as this – why spend £450 on replacing a condenser when the cost to maintain is only £50? The main purpose of planned preventative maintenance is to ensure your equipment is maintained to the best possible condition, saving you money in energies and efficiencies, and hopefully preventing failure, and disruption to your business, when you require your equipment the most.”