How to

26 October 2016

Common Causes of Temperature Fluctuations in Cold Storage Facilities

Cold storage units are built to highly specific standards, with everything from the materials to the construction method being carefully thought out in order to ensure reliability. After all, for the companies that rely upon them, failures in the refrigeration system can threaten the longevity of the entire business if stock is allowed to perish. Unfortunately, as with anything electrical or mechanical, there is still a chance of one or more components giving in to gradual wear-and-tear, or malfunctioning for other reasons.

There are ways to combat this, reducing such occurrences to a minimum, but you have to know what to look for and how to deal with it. So, let’s get started.

Electrical Issues

In most cases, especially in the case of sudden failures, the route of the problem lies in the power supply itself. Check the thermostat readout to see if power is still flowing and, if so, move on to perform a thorough troubleshoot of the entire electrical system. Due to the high energy consumption of the required parts, specialist high-output circuitry is required just in order to operate cold storage facilities. As such, blown fuses and tripped circuit breakers are among the leading contenders in regards to the cause of your issue.

Build-up of Ice in Refrigeration Units

The refrigeration unit itself is a highly intricate assembly of various mechanical components, bundled together with various chemicals subsystems and electrical circuitry. It is arguably the single most important piece of equipment for any company working in the industry, but it is susceptible to cold in a way you may not expect from a system designed specifically for such environments. The problem lies not in the cold temperatures themselves, but in the ice that can form as a result.

A build-up of ice within the refrigeration unit can cause a number of problems, starting with a fairly major heat transfer imbalance, which will substantially affect the operational efficiency of your facility. Following on from that, the evaporator coils fail and the safety relay trips. Bye-bye power.

Fortunately, the presence of thermal contacts and overpressure switches will protect the equipment within, but you need to work quickly to clear out the icy deposit and reset the switches. Until this is done, your facility will be gaining heat by the minute.

Accidental Damage

Even if your facility has been carefully planned out to provide optimal efficiency and reliability, all staff properly trained and maintenance schedules in place, accidents can and do happen. A heavy knock to the wrong part of the facility can be disastrous, so make sure you and any other staff act with due care and attention. Ensure that all staff are properly trained in not only operational procedures, but also in what to do in case of an accident. Regular maintenance and inspections are vital, as some employees may panic and hide damage rather than report it, out of fear of being penalised for the damage caused. As such, crafting for your staff a comfortable working environment where they feel safe to raise such issues will also help you in the long run, but that should be standard practice for any industry.

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.