Grocery Refrigeration Talk #LIVE

HVAC School

In this live podcast episode, we have a fun conversation talking with Nathan Orr and Kevin Compass about grocery refrigeration.

The most common types of calls are those where the machine is “not making temp.” Usually, the cases can't maintain temperature due to frozen evaporator coils or backed-up drains. On low-temperature/freezer applications, we must rely on electrical or hot gas defrost to mitigate frozen coils.

Hot gas defrost is a complicated but quintessential part of low-temperature grocery refrigeration because the coils easily freeze. The discharge gas has to go to the evaporator coil and merge back into the liquid line; that gas CANNOT make its way to the suction line without causing damage, so the liquid line pressure needs to remain lower than the discharge line pressure. Kevin sometimes recommends running the fans all the time in open cases because the fans aid in the defrosting process, especially when it comes to warming the drain pan.

Another common issue that refrigeration techs encounter is starved coils. Clogged TXV screens often cause starved coils, but we don't usually replace the entire TXV in grocery refrigeration. Instead, we only replace the part that needs replacing (the screen). The same practice applies to other TXV components; we replace only the powerhead if the powerhead has an issue.

Most grocery refrigeration systems use refrigerants that are quite different from residential HVAC refrigerants. Some of the most common refrigerants are propane and carbon dioxide. However, propane is flammable, and CO2 doesn't work very well in hot climates.

Nathan, Kevin, and Bryan also discuss:

  • Electric vs. hot gas defrost
  • Walk-in boxes
  • Bunker cases/coffin cases
  • Hoarfrost
  • Water heaters
  • Defrost termination
  • Offsets and thermistors
  • Underground line sets
  • Charging refrigeration systems for a wide range of ambient conditions
  • Ammonia refrigerant

Learn more about Refrigeration Technologies HERE.

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