With forecasters predicting record summer temperatures of up to 40 degrees Celsius this year, the UK could be looking forward to a glorious summer. However, some businesses are about to enter the season of broken air conditioning units and refrigeration systems and, with this, potentially suffer staff and customer frustration, lower productivity, spoiled stock and profit losses as a result.
As we have recently seen, the mercury can rise rapidly, causing ambient air temperatures to increase beyond comfortable levels. This puts extreme pressure on air conditioning units and refrigeration systems which, if they have not been serviced and maintained, can result in unexpected failures and unpredictable costs. Unfortunately, when this occurs for one business, it often happens to many others simultaneously.
Tod Harrison, chief executive at Flowrite Services, comments: “On 26 July last year, temperatures reached their seasonal peak at 35.5 degrees in the UK. On this day alone, we received 379 emergency call-outs to repair broken air conditioning units and refrigeration systems. This marked an 85 percent increase compared to the same day the week before.”
Flowrite runs a 24/7 help-desk, directing a mobile service team of over 100 engineers across the UK, so help is never far away. Mr Harrison continues: “Despite this, and although our engineers always want to help as soon as possible, the reality is there can be a waiting period during the summer months when demand is incredibly high.”
With air conditioning now regarded more as a necessity than a luxury, and refrigeration systems being crucial to many businesses, any unexpected equipment downtime can cause frustration of staff and customers, loss of productivity and stock and, ultimately, reduced revenue.
Mr Harrison comments: “If they are well maintained, commercial air conditioning units and refrigeration systems rarely fail. The question business owners need to ask themselves is what is the cost to their business when equipment does fail unexpectedly. We are advising our customers to book a ‘Summer Check-Up’ before things really heat up, as the cost of an emergency call-out and resultant repair works – in addition to the potential cost to their business – is always more than any planned maintenance works.”
In addition to preparing for summer, businesses also need to be aware of the F-Gas regulations and how these will affect their organisation. Many acr systems use HFC refrigerants, for example R404A, which have a very high global warming impact if released into the atmosphere.
As of 01 January 2020, the most impact to businesses will be the ban on using these in the servicing of acr systems. During a Summer Check-Up, Flowrite can review existing air conditioning systems and advise on what businesses need to do to be compliant with the F-Gas regulations.
Mr Harrison adds: “Many businesses still have outdated cooling systems in operation, which use gases that are soon to be banned. Come January, servicing older equipment which uses these banned gasses will not be possible. If this is the last summer your outdated air conditioning units and refrigeration systems are going to be operational and legal, it is a sensible business decision to update them now to avoid potential emergency call-outs and repairs over the summer on equipment which will have to be replaced in January regardless. Newer equipment is also far more energy efficient, so will actually save you money on running costs too.”
Flowrite can help businesses prepare for what lies ahead with its Summer Check-Up service. The service ensures that acr systems are in optimum condition and will withstand the increased demands put on them during the peak summer months.