Blockages in refrigeration equipment can cost you a fortune – Here’s how you prevent them

Today, both households and large properties, such as grocery stores, contain a wide variety of refrigeration appliances. Different refrigeration units, such as air source heat pumps, freezers and fridges have two different purposes: they either ensure the safe storage of food, or they maintain the desired temperature. The equipment can therefore take care of both food-related necessities and the comfort of the premises – but the refrigeration equipment must be taken care of as well to avoid problems such as EPS. In this article, we explain the most common challenges and present our solutions to ensure the proper operation of refrigeration equipment.

Food cold chain is a crucial part of safe business

Grocery store operators know the importance of the refrigeration equipment to their business. The disruption of the cold chain and the consequent spoilage of food is a major concern, which can pose both security and financial risks. Non-compliance with health requirements can lead to legal problems and reputational damage.

Ensuring the right temperature is also a great expense, consuming a significant amount of energy and requiring constant monitoring. Any measures that help to ensure the operation of refrigeration equipment and maintain its efficiency while saving costs will alleviate several challenges.

What’s not cool about refrigeration appliances

Perhaps surprisingly to some, piping and draining issues exists also in cooling systems. Technically, all refrigeration equipment produces condensed water, which must be considered when installing the equipment to avoid moisture problems.

When the device is used, contaminants, most commonly dust and hair, are absorbed into the condenser systems through the fans and adhere to the surfaces of the system. This requires regular cleaning. Otherwise, the efficiency of the device will decrease, and accumulated contaminants will cause faults and sewer blockages.

EPS is an expensive threat in refrigeration equipment

However, there is a more problematic cause behind drain line blockages – the formation of ‘microbial biofilm’.  The conditions beneath or behind a cooler, together a with supply of nutrients are perfect breeding grounds for some naturally occurring bacteria. First, the biofilm starts to form on solid surfaces. It continues to form in tough, unseen, and often bad smelling gel which blocks drains and causes flooding. This slime-like gel is composed of bacterial Extracellular Polysaccharide, commonly referred to as ‘EPS’.

-It is not uncommon for EPS to entirely fill a condensation water container and completely block a drainage pipe. If condensate continues to form, it will soon leak from under the cooler. You might have stumbled on this when it causes a slip hazard in a store. For the sake of customer safety, aisles might be needed to close partially or completely to take care of the leak. This can lead to economic loss, especially if it happens at busy times, warns Juha Kekäläinen, Technical Field Manager at SmartPipe System Oy.

Once EPS is formed, it seems to be almost impossible to get rid of it. It is insoluble in water and most chemical cleaners or solvents. In some cases, the bacteria inside the biofilm is also known to be up to 500% more resistant to antibacterial treatments. Even if the equipment is thoroughly cleaned, only a few remaining bacterial cells can quickly build new biomass. The problem will reoccur almost instantly.

Our smart solution fights against EPS with ease

We are proud to introduce a new Refrigeration and Cooling system maintenance concept against formation of EPS. It is a simple 3-step approach to clean, treat and maintain all types of refrigeration and cooling equipment– developed for both commercial use and for homes.

-Our root development philosophy at Smartpipe is always to approach Safety First. However, we are happy whenever we are able to provide economical savings to our customers as well, says Mikko Eskola, Director of Business Development at Smartpipe System Oy.

As a result of the concept, the EPS issues are prevented at their source. Just to mention few, the treatment offers the following advantages:

  • Enhanced cleaning and cleaning performance
  • Reduced maintenance costs
  • Reduced cleaning product costs
  • Reduced system downtime and interruption to customers
  • Prevented product spoilage in commercial refrigeration systems
  • Improved customer safety by reduced floods, spillages, and leakages

If you want to learn more about our new Refrigeration and Cooling System Maintenance Concept, we are happy to tell you more about it.
Click here to contact Smartpipe experts.