Kevin Eaton - Jul 9, 2019

The Importance of Commercial Refrigeration Redundancy

The Importance of Commercial Refrigeration Redundancy

Each year, over 48 million people become ill from foodborn illnesses. When food spends too much time in the Danger Zone between 40ºF and 140ºF, dangerous bacteria can rapidly multiply on our food sources and ingredients. This is why commercial refrigeration is so important and why it's so critical for foodservice operations to maintain working refrigeration systems at all times.

In hotter climates like ours here in Florida, this is even more important, and this is where back-up capabilities and redundancy come into play. But food safety isn't the only reason refrigeration redundancy is important. Let's take a look at a few more.

Financial Hazards of Refrigeration Loss 

Spoiled food isn't only dangerous—it's also a financial liability. A sudden failure of refrigeration equipment can lead to thousands of dollars of loss in a fully stocked system. Most restaurants, schools, and hospitals would suffer a significant financial hit, not to mention a loss of trust from customers and clients who depend on the availability of food.

The value of refrigeration redundancy cannot be overstated, especially when you're a food service director or restaurant owner operating within a budget -- which, the last time we checked, everyone is.

Service calls can also take time, as most of the time a response does not arrive immediately. Weekends, holidays, or night hours can interrupt the availability of service, meaning the wait for service to arrive can take longer than 24 hours

Building Redundancy into the System

A backup compressor system for a commercial refrigeration unit will take away the worry of a wait. The compressor system will allow employees to execute a changeover.  Or in the case of an automatic system, the secondary compressor will kick into gear following the failure of the primary unit.

There are various types of refrigeration redundancy; each type can be tailored for the size and needs of the foodservice operation. Let's explore the options and their applications:

75% Redundancy

This system features dual evaporators and compressors, each checking in with 75% capacity on its own. Together, both compressors can run at 150%, so the system will cool with greater speed. If one compressor loses service, the other can maintain the temperature of the refrigerator.

100% Redundancy on a Digital Scroll Compressor 

A digital scroll compressor will compress air or refrigerant, using a mechanical design to match the output of the compressor. For refrigeration redundancy, there are various setups which utilize digital scroll compressors:

  • Backup - Standard Scroll: There is an energy savings with this setup, and the changeover can be automatic or manual. The manual version will use valves for any changeover that takes place. The automatic version is a bit fancier, with a strobe alarm and even a buzzer to alert employees of the sudden switch of the system.
  • Backup - Digital Scroll: Again, a failure of this system will be heard loud and clear, with a strident buzzer and strobe light alarm to make employees aware of the situation. In this setup, however, there will be a digital backup for each suction group.
  • Backup - Extended Medium Temperature "Swing" Compressor: Each suction group, medium and low, will receive its own digital scroll compressor in this setup. In case of the sudden need for a changeover, the non-digital "standard" compressor can pipe out to the medium and low suction groups. 

Get more information on how to create refrigeration redundancy in your Florida foodservice operation. Check out this award-winning video from RDT.

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Written by Kevin Eaton

Kevin Eaton is the President of Eaton Marketing & Associates and a seasoned Manufacturer Rep in Florida.