Summer or winter you need to make sure your ice machine, flash coolers for beer, cellar cooling, soft drink dispense machines, freezers and fridges are working to their maximum efficiency. For instance you need to ensure your beer store is maintaining a constant temperature between 10°C and 12°C.
Regular Cleaning and Maintenance
The condenser and evaporator coils take the heat inside any cooling unit and disperse it outside the unit, and if air can’t pass over the coils, then they radiate heat much more slowly. This makes your unit work harder to keep things cool and it consumes more electricity. Clean coils and fins at least once a week, make it part of the cleaning schedule in your bar / cellar/ kitchen.
Remote Coolers and “Python” Systems
Remote coolers are the real workhorses of pub cooling as they take beer down from 10°C to 12°C (cellar temperature) to dispense temperature. Remember to make sure the area around the remote is kept free from stored items such as crisps, nuts and bottled drinks. When a remote cooler is installed it will be sited with plenty of space around it. This space is there for a reason – to enable air to circulate around the unit. Half covering the grills on the side means half the cooling capacity. They are designed to run all the time so make sure they are kept switched on.
Check the remote is topped up with water. There is a top-up point on the top of the cooler with an overflow. The water should just cover the ice bank and coils. If there is a glycol top-up point make sure the unit is topped up with the correct strength of glycol, if you notice this is low then call your cellar service engineer to come and replenish your system. Keep the cooling grills on the side of the unit free from dust and dirt. Above all keep the unit clean just like all your cooling equipment.
Keep The Cold Air In!
Door gaskets form a seal when the unit’s door is closed, preventing cold air from seeping out and warm air from seeping in, if gaskets don’t seal properly, it’ll cost you money. Environmental Health Officers also don’t like torn gaskets because food bits and grime gather in them and create a breeding ground for bacteria.
Strip curtains help drastically reduce the loss of cold air when the door to your walk-in freezer /fridge (if you have them) or when the door to you beer cellar is open, and when it’s closed, the curtain adds an extra layer of insulation. If you have a combined keg and cask ale store you should fit a curtain between the two areas to conserve the cooler air in your keg area.
Make sure the door latches and closers are working properly and actually catching when you close the door and closing the door snugly to the frame. Worn or broken latches or poorly maintained door closers mean door gaskets aren’t fully sealed, and you’re losing cold air.
Other Store Rooms
In my last pub I had a dry store for tinned food, crisps, nuts etc and in that room were two chest freezers, my perennial problem was that staff would close the door to the room. By closing the door insufficient cooler air from the rest of the building was able to circulate round the freezers and consequently they had to work harder to maintain temperature. If you have a room like this then make sure the staff know not to close the door (if necessary and it doesn’t impinge on fire safety remove any door closer or wedge the door open).
Top Tip No.1 – when you take delivery or are cleaning the cellar or are doing the line cleaning (or any time when you are likely to be going in and out of the cellar a lot) turn the blowers off! No point in trying to cool the entire pub and for the time needed to complete most of these tasks the cellar will not warm sufficiently or for long enough to affect the quality of your beers. If you have a well insulated cellar area (especially subterranean beer stores) you may consider turning off the blowers over-night. A well insulated beer store will keep its temperature overnight and you will save money on electricity.
Top Tip No.2 – at the end of the night turn off your ice-making machine – the hopper is well insulated and will keep the ice stored there until the next time you need it. You could reduce running costs by up to a third whilst still having sufficient ice to satisfy your customers’ needs.
Top Tip No.3 – at the end of the night you could turn off the bottle chiller cabinets – if the door seals are fitting snugly you will still have cold beer there in the morning. Even if you don’t try this remember at least to turn off the lights inside the cabinets!
Click this link for more advice on Controlling and Reducing Your Utility Costs.