24-Seven Cooling is urging supermarkets and hospitals which rely on refrigeration to consider installing equipment that can cope with global warming or face costly consequences.
Currently the industry standard for cooling systems is that they operate in a room temperature of up to 32C. If the surrounding air is hotter than this, the refrigerator will stop working.
With many parts of the UK now experiencing exceptionally hot weather spikes, the company’s‘ managing director Ean Jones believes it’s time for a rethink.
When Mr Jones and fellow director Paul Proud first started out in the trade 45 years ago, the industry standard was just 28C. So they have witnessed first-hand the effects of climate change.
“There is quite a movement to making the standard at least 35C now to take account of these hot spike days we’re having,” said Mr Jones whose Great Wyrley-based firm specialises in the fitting and maintenance of refrigeration systems throughout the Midlands.
“As a company we’re already addressing working to that standard. Equipment that stops operating at 32C ambience ultimately falls over altogether because it’s gone past what it was designed to do.
“It’s like a car radiator. It works in this country and Europe but if you took the car to the Sahara Desert it wouldn’t work because the radiator is too small. So you would need a bigger radiator to cope with higher temperatures.
“This is a similar thing. As it gets warmer we are going to need bigger condensers for the cooling process to work.”
The running cost is minimal, he says, because the fans in new freezers are speed-driven and therefore adapt to the surrounding conditions, making them equally as energy-efficient as smaller units.
“It’s only the physical size of it and a little bit more metal you have to pay for. In hot countries their gear is bigger which is why it works over there.”
Mr Jones and service director Richard Nicolls were invited by one of their main customers to address a supplier forum in Birmingham where they raised the issue.
24-Seven Cooling has already installed a new refrigeration unit designed to run at 40C in a hospital mortuary and firmly believes this is the way forward.
Mr Proud said: “If supermarkets don’t take account of the peaks in the British weather, then they need to be aware their refrigeration equipment won’t work and they will lose food. This will cost them and other businesses relying on refrigeration a lot of money, which is bad enough, but in the case of a mortuary if it isn’t operating it can close the whole hospital down. It’s that serious.”