Whether you’re looking for a compact, standalone unit or a walk-in cold room, it’s essential you do your research before purchasing commercial refrigeration equipment for your food-related or catering business. Buying appliances that aren’t ideally suited to your needs can lead to unnecessary food and energy wastage, as well as costing you more money in the long run. It’s essential you choose the best commercial equipment for your business requirements, and this simple guide should give you a head start.
The Food Standards Agency
has a great deal of information to help you ascertain the temperature and storage requirements of the food and produce you work with, so this is a great place to start if you’re new to the catering industry or are branching out into other areas.
Top- or Bottom-Mount Compressor
The job of the compressor is to keep the refrigerator cool, and it can be at either the top or bottom of the unit. Top-mounted compressor refrigerators often cost more to buy than bottom-mounted units, but generally last longer, off-setting the cost. The main reason for this is that warm air rises, meaning a top-mounted compressor doesn’t have to work as hard to remove it. Top-mounted compressors have the added benefit that they will expel warm air up towards the ceiling and away from the unit. Bottom-mounted models are more affordable but will need replacing sooner. One advantage is that they generally have more storage space and the compressor is more easily accessible if there is a problem with it.
Commercial units are measured in cubic feet, and the size your business will require depends on your storage needs. You also need to check you have enough room to install your desired refrigerator, remembering to allow ventilation space around the unit. Reputable retailers such as Fridge Freezer Direct have a huge selection of units suitable for everything from the smallest start-up to extensive commercial kitchens. It’s a good idea to plan ahead and buy a unit that will be able to cope with expected expansion or seasonal rushes. It’s important not to buy too much refrigeration space, however, as you’ll be paying out for energy to cool an empty unit.
Running several large-scale refrigerators 24 hours a day, 7 days a week can lead to a very hefty electricity bill. In order to save money in the long-term, selecting energy efficient models is the way to go. Industry ratings can help you determine the efficiency of an appliance and can give you some idea of its energy saving credentials. Commercial fridge freezers that are highly rated in terms of energy saving not only help protect the environment, but can cut your bills, too.
While smaller refrigeration units are very affordable, larger refrigeration units like walk-ins or commercial-grade refrigerators can be a hefty financial commitment. If you don’t have enough savings to purchase such refrigerators outright, then you will have to look into financing options. Although most retailers offer financing options, these financing options usually require you to pay off the loan in a short amount of time, and failure to do so will result in a drastic increase in the loan interest rate. A safer alternative to financing through a retailer is obtaining a home equity credit line. The loan professionals at BB&T recommend home equity lines of credit for “major purchases or appliances”, making them the perfect way to finance an expensive refrigeration unit. Obviously, if you don’t own a home, then a home equity credit line will not be available. Regardless, you should make sure you know all of your financing options.
It can be daunting to know how to choose from all the cooling equipment on the market, especially if you’re new to the food industry. Buying from a trusted supplier of commercial refrigeration equipment will put your mind at rest, and experienced staff should be more than happy to answer any queries you have and talk you through your options.