Apr 1, 2015

Posted by in Blog, Food & Cooking | 0 Comments

Chilling Out: Keeping Produce Fresh With Ammonia Refrigeration Systems

When you specialize in food service or commercial food distribution, one of the most important aspects of your business is ensuring that you are keeping all of the fresh foods at the proper temperature. Commercial refrigeration systems are the best way to do this, and in many environments, ammonia refrigeration is a popular option. If you’ve never used an ammonia refrigeration system, you may not be familiar with how it works or how to use it safely. Here’s a look at the basics of ammonia refrigeration to help you determine if it is a good fit for your business.

An Overview of Ammonia Refrigeration

Ammonia refrigeration systems are constructed using three separate components to build a vapor compression cycle. The system will include a condenser, an evaporator and a compressor. The ammonia gas passes through the compressor where it becomes a liquid. That liquid is then forced through the condenser, which cools it. From there, it is routed through the evaporator, which converts it back into a gas. That gas will then absorb and disperse any residual heat.

Things to Watch Out For with Ammonia Refrigeration

Any vibration in the system, corrosion of the pipes or mechanical damage in the cooling structure can lead to leaks. An ammonia leak can be a serious concern, because ammonia is a hazardous substance. It can become explosive when mixed with air. As a result, you’ll want to inspect the pipes often for any potential signs of wear or corrosion. You should also monitor the valves, because any debris in the system can become stuck in the valves. This will plug the valve and slow the ammonia flow. Over time, this can not only cause the system to operate inefficiently, but it could cause a pressure buildup that leads to an ammonia leak.

Ensuring Overall Safety of Ammonia Refrigeration

When you decide to install an ammonia refrigeration system, make sure you place all of the core cooling components in an outbuilding so that they are detached from the main structure. This can help protect your main building in the event of an ammonia leak in the compressor or condenser. If the structure of your building makes this impossible, try to place it in a room with an exterior door and several exterior walls. If possible, line the walls with a fire-resistant material.

Add air vents to the roof and into the walls around the room where you install the condenser and other components. Place some exhaust vents near the ceiling to vend the ammonia out of the room. Since ammonia is lighter than air, the ammonia will drift out those vents. Add some fresh air vents near the floor to draw air into the room.

With an understanding of how the system works and the hazards associated with it, you can implement an ammonia refrigeration structure that will help you keep all of your fresh foods cold and safe for use or transport. Talk with a commercial refrigeration specialist to help you determine if it is a good fit for your business.

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