Heatwaves and Their Impact On Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Coldrooms

Estimated reading time 6 minutes

Over the last few days the weather in the UK has been warm and getting warmer to the extent that a “heat-health alert” has been issued by the UK Health Security Agency as the Met Office forecasts high temperatures. The South East and London are on a level 3 amber alert, the second highest level alert for the UK, with highs of 32°C (89°F) currently forecast. [Additional note - 15 July 2022: The Met Office has upgraded its weather warning for parts of the UK to a RED weather warning. This is the first time an extreme heat red weather warning has been issued in the UK.] According to Sky News “one computer model has shown temperatures in Britain could even reach 40°C by mid-July”. Of course, it’s not the first time UK temperatures have soared. In 2021 the UK suffered a heat wave with recorded temperatures of 30.2°C in Cardiff and 31.6°C at Heathrow. The highest ever temperature was recorded in Cambridge on 25 July 2019 at 38.7°C, beating the previous August 2003 record of 38.5°C in Faversham, Kent. Temperatures are clearly increasing year on year with the ten hottest years occurring since 2002. So, what have heatwaves got to do with air conditioning, refrigeration and coldrooms?

How Does Temperature Affect Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Coldrooms?

High outside temperatures can cause air conditioning, refrigeration and coldrooms to breakdown. When the outside temperature is soaring your air conditioning, refrigeration and coldroom has to work harder to maintain air quality and temperature. In normal circumstances your systems would continue to work well whether the outside temperature is higher than normal or not, but some factors can result in system breakdown. They are:

  • where air conditioning maintenance or refrigeration maintenance hasn’t been carried out regularly, the stresses and strains on an overworked system can cause the system to fail.
  • the location of external equipment has not been taken into consideration and where there isn’t enough air flow around the system it can over heat and breakdown.
  • commercial refrigeration and coldrooms can breakdown if they are overstocked resulting in a lack of space for air to circulate or the blocking of air vents forcing the equipment to have to work harder. This can often happen when staff aren’t trained or don’t understand the need to maintain the air flow within the coldroom.
  • not closing coldrooms doors correctly can also lead to breakdowns.

Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Maintenance

The above list can all be responsible for air conditioning, refrigeration and coldroom breakdown however the majority of issues are caused by a lack of regular maintenance.

Synecore explains “Commercial kitchens are hot at the best of times, but during the heatwave the outside temperatures can be too much for some air conditioning and refrigeration systems.

“The extreme temperatures mean that many of the cooling plants are overworked, and the route of the problem is either lack of maintenance and care, or the original installation by another contractor.

“The majority of the restaurants that call us for emergency AC and coldroom repairs have not had their system serviced and cleaned regularly or according to the manufacturers guidelines. Instantly, this causes an issue, even without record outside temperature.

“Filters, coils and drains should be regularly checked and cleaned. When faced with a heatwave, the system is forced to work harder and can overheat. If the correct level of maintenance has not been carried out, it could lead to a total breakdown.

“Some restaurants, even the major chains are looking to cut costs where they can, unfortunately cutting air conditioning and refrigeration maintenance could ultimately cost more in the long run. It’s also a legal F-gas requirement to ensure your system is regularly checked for faults.

“If refrigeration and air conditioning systems are properly maintained they can cope with extreme changes in climate. That also includes when temperatures plummet and AC systems are changed from cooling to heating mode.

“As a result of the heatwave, Synecore has been educating business owners and restaurant managers on the importance of maintaining an air conditioning, refrigeration or coldroom system.”

Keeping Your Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Coldrooms Running Efficiently

In order to keep your air conditioning, refrigeration and coldrooms running efficiently it’s important to have them serviced by a professional electrical contractor/air conditioning engineer on a regular (planned) basis.

Air Conditioning

Synecore offer air conditioning PPM contracts to suit your business. Your contract includes scheduled visits throughout the year to maintain your system, keep it efficient, F-gas compliant and TM44 certified.

A small AC system may need to be looked at once or twice a year, while larger VRF systems for hotels and big office developments will need to be fitted with a leak detection system under F-gas regulations. These systems may require maintenance once a month, bimonthly, or even every six months. Each system is different, but if you are unsure, check out our air conditioning and refrigeration maintenance page, or call the experts at Synecore.

Refrigeration and Coldrooms

Synecore also have commercial refrigeration maintenance and service packages which are tailored to meet your business needs and which cover all commercial refrigeration equipment within your premises.

Following a thorough site survey to assess your refrigeration equipment, Synecore will make a recommendation on the frequency of your commercial refrigeration maintenance visits from our qualified refrigeration engineer. Depending on your refrigeration equipment, you may need a visit once a year or a every couple of months to meet F-gas regulations and to keep your commercial refrigeration working efficiently all-year-round.

Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM)

All of our air conditioning, refrigeration and coldroom maintenance is overseen by an experienced project manager. Should your air conditioning or refrigeration suffer a system breakdown Synecore’s PPM package customers benefit from a priority emergency call out service should your system need repair between scheduled visits. We ensure an engineer will be on site within hours and your equipment will be back up and running as quickly as possible, minimising any downtime.

We partner with Mitsubishi Electric, Toshiba and Daikin, which allows us to offer a seven-year warranty on air conditioning installation, when maintained by Synecore’s engineers.

Based in Detling, just outside Maidstone in Kent, we operate throughout Kent, London and the UK, providing commercial and industrial clients with the very best in air conditioning maintenance. Call us on 01795 509509 and speak to one of our friendly and experienced experts to arrange your visit today or contact us via our contact form.

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