All posts by KES Facilities

What is a Heat Recovery System & How Does it Work?

KES Facilities
Friday, March 27th, 2020

In today’s article, we take a look at heat recovery systems and why they’re well worth your investment. With growing sustainability demands and rising energy costs, installing an effective heat recovery system could be a very wise move. With KES Facilities, it’s simple from start to finish.

What is a Heat Recovery System?

In its purest form, heat recovery refers to any process that reclaims some percentage of waste energy. A heat recovery system is a commercial installation that captures waste energy and recycles it back into the system. These systems also filter the air throughout a building and replenish extracted air with clean, filtered air.

Heat recovery systems consist of a heat recovery ventilation unit and a network of valves installed throughout a building.

The Laws of Thermodynamics mean there will almost always be heat released during any heating, venting, and air conditioning (HVAC) process. Those same laws also mean that many HVAC systems are inefficient, and that no system is 100% efficient.

But that doesn’t matter. If a heat recovery system is capable of recovering any energy lost in the form of heat, then it’s still beneficial. Moreover, many modern heat recovery systems are so efficient that they’re absolutely worth your investment.

Why is it Useful?

You might be debating whether or not heat recovery systems are worth your investment. The answer is that, although there’s an initial up-front cost, the efficiency of these systems almost always makes them worth your while.

The main attraction of a heat recovery system is the reduction in total operating costs. Some systems are so efficient that they can recover up to 95% of the energy lost through HVAC processes in your building. That leads to a huge energy saving, a warmer building, and a significant reduction in your monthly expenses.

Another benefit is the improvement in air quality. Not only do heat recovery systems recycle energy, they also act as a filter for the air in your building. Air quality is improved since pollen, moisture and dust are removed from the system.

Any unpleasant smells, mould, dust, and the build-up of toxic gases can all eventually lead to structural problems for your business and respiratory issues for you. Heat recovery systems purify and clean that air.

Finally, heat recovery systems are super sustainable and improve your carbon footprint. With more and more government regulations being put in place, it’s a challenge being as sustainable as possible. There are strict targets for the UK’s carbon emissions, and installing an efficient heat recovery system means that you’ll be helping to meet those targets instead of contributing to the problem.

How Does a Heat Recovery System Work?

So now you know what a heat recovery system is and why it can be beneficial – how does it work?

The star of the show is the ventilation unit. This is normally installed in the roof or attic of your commercial property. This ventilation unit, with a powerful internal filter, is the link between the atmosphere, and every ventilated room within the building. You decide which rooms will benefit from a heat recovery system by installing air valves on a net of ducts throughout your property.

The combination of valves, ducts, and the ventilation unit creates a cycle of air being pulled in from the atmosphere and released to the atmosphere. Fresh air is pulled in, and undesirable air is removed and released.

Significantly, the ventilation unit captures the heat from the extracted air pipe and feeds that heat into the fresh air pipe. These two pipes are housed within the same unit, but they are not physically connected. Their close proximity allows the new, clean, atmospheric air to benefit from existing heat that would otherwise go to waste.

That new air that is warm and clean is then circulated throughout the building via many different pipes and air ducts spread throughout a commercial property.
KES Facilities and Heat Recovery Systems

At KES Facilities, our talented team have all the training and experience they need to install, service, and repair your heat recovery system.

Our expert technicians will be with you from the beginning until the end of the job. When you begin your enquiry with us, we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have about heat recovery systems, and make sure that you’re getting the most out of your system design. Our technicians know their stuff, and they’ll make sure that the system you install is the right one for you.

But if on the other hand you’re looking to set up a maintenance program or you’re concerned about a repair to your system, we can help there as well. We’re local to your Yorkshire business, and since we carry a large supply of stocks, we can normally even repair your unit on the day.

We’re specialists in the following heat recovery systems:

  • Mitsubishi Heavy
  • Mitsubishi Electric
  • Daikin
  • Vent Axia
  • System Air
  • Fujitsui
  • Toshiba

Get in touch with our team to find out everything you need to know about heat recovery systems and how we can help today.

A Guide To Commercial Kitchen Gas Safety Certificates

KES Facilities
Friday, February 28th, 2020

Owning, managing, and operating a commercial kitchen successfully is no mean feat. There are so many different things you need to keep on top of, all of the time. Staff, menus, facilities, stock, space, equipment, and of course, safety certificates. Forget about them, and you might as well forget about managing a commercial kitchen.

One of the most important safety certificates in any kitchen is the kitchen gas safety certificate. Let’s look at what that certificate involves, and why you might need one. Whether you’re looking for a certificate renewal or an initial inspection, our KES Facilities engineers are here to help.

What is a Commercial Kitchen Gas Safety Certificate?

It sounds like a mouthful, doesn’t it? But commercial kitchen gas safety certificates are extremely important for safe, regulated use of industrial kitchen equipment.

Since many of these essential items can become potentially hazardous when they’re not maintained or used correctly, they need to be regularly inspected. Leaks, faults, and functionality all need to meet strict criteria that has been established by authorities within the industry.

Additionally, these certificates can only be issued by fully registered and qualified commercial gas engineers. Commercial gas engineers have the training, knowledge, and experience to identify where gas is being used safely – and where it isn’t.

The inspections cover all gas installation and appliances in a commercial kitchen, focusing specifically on the facilities and the equipment within it. Essentially, any commercial kitchen will need to obtain the relevant gas safety certificates, including any of the following:

  • Cafes
  • Restaurants
  • Pubs
  • Staff kitchens
  • Takeaway restaurants and food chains
  • Food production factories

Why Do You Need One?

If you’re reading this article, wondering whether or not you need a commercial kitchen gas safety certificate, then the answer is almost certainly ‘yes’. If you’re responsible for a commercial kitchen which has a gas supply and equipment that operates with it, then you need a gas safety certificate.

If you or any of your staff members operate this equipment without the appropriate gas safety certificate, then you’ll be breaking the law. And, if the worst should happen and there’s an accident, your insurance won’t pay out without seeing your gas safety certificate first.

It’s worth your time to make sure that you complete a gas safety inspection annually.

What Gas Safety Certificates Are Available?

In the United Kingdom, there are only a few common commercial kitchen gas safety certificates that the majority of kitchens will use.

CP42 – Commercial Gas Safety Inspection (Non-Domestic)

The CP42 gas safety certificate is the most common certificate that our engineers will issue after the relevant inspection. As well as inspecting your equipment and any machinery that has a gas supply to it, our engineers complete a thorough examination of your pipework, gas interlock system, and even the extraction in your kitchen.

CP12 – Landlord Gas Safety Certificate

This one’s slightly different to the CP42 certificate, but it’s still one that our engineers have plenty of experience in awarding. The CP12 still focuses on safe gas use within a property, but is instead specific to landlords that are renting out their property, or rooms within their property.

The majority of homes in the United Kingdom will use gas for heating and hot water. But it’s also widely used for cooking. If you rent a hotel, holiday home, B&B, or even an AirBnB, then you may need to commission a CP12 gas inspection to make sure everything’s safe to use.

Other Commercial Gas Safety Certificates

But there are other gas safety certificates to consider as well. In certain circumstances, you may have to organise a CP16 – Gas Testing and Purging gas inspection. Other certificates include CP17 – Gas Installation Safety Report, and CP15 – Gas Commissioning/Servicing Record.

Commercial Kitchen Gas Safety with KES Facilities

No matter what type of commercial kitchen gas safety certificate you need, you can find out everything you need to know about arranging an inspection by getting in touch with our friendly KES Facilities team.

We’re local to you – no matter where you are in Yorkshire – and we can help you get your CP42 and CP12 certificates quickly and efficiently. That means that if your annual inspection is looming and you’re organising it last minute, we’ll still be able to help.

Our Gas Safe registered commercial catering engineers are fully qualified, professional, and safe inspectors. Our team will work with you to make sure that your commercial kitchen is safe, and that you’re up-to-date with all of the current regulations.

What Are the Different Types of Air Conditioning Systems?

KES Facilities
Tuesday, February 4th, 2020

You might scoff at the idea of air conditioning in the United Kingdom when you look outside on a dreary winter’s day. But the reality is that AC (air conditioning) is extremely important on commercial properties. Even in winter, commercial buildings need fresh, high-quality, cool air for cramped and stuffy work spaces. When the heatwaves of summer begin, that air conditioning system needs to be performing perfectly.

That being the case, your business will have already started researching the different types of AC configurations on the market. Where do you begin? There are many different types of AC setups because there’s a huge range of AC requirements. Certain coolants and materials, such as F-Gas, are also now being strictly regulated and you need to carefully control their usage.

In this article, we’ll provide you with an overview of the most common types of air conditioning systems and explain why they vary so much. No matter which AC system your business needs, KES Facilities can help.

The Different Types of Commercial Air Conditioning Systems

There are several different types of AC systems due to the range of commercial AC requirements on properties. Different buildings have different ventilation configurations and climate conditions. Weather demands, varying coolant materials, a range of fuels, and contrasting AC budgets all ensure that no two designs are the same.

That being the case, there are several different AC systems to suit different requirements. Whether you’re upgrading an old AC system or installing a completely new setup, these are three of the most common types of commercial air conditioning systems you should know about.

Single-Split System

This is one of the most popular types of air conditioning systems. That’s mostly because it’s the best option for small commercial properties, but it’s also surprisingly affordable. If your building is a small shop, café, or even a small office, a single-split AC system allows you to individually control the temperature within each room.

They’re also incredibly convenient for maintenance and repairs. When one unit breaks down, the rest of the units will still operate without any negative effects. Unlike central systems, the single-split units aren’t interconnected.

This does mean, however, that each AC unit needs an outdoor unit as well. That can quickly use up a lot of space, and another system may be a better match for your spatial configuration.

Multi-Split System

This air conditioning system works in a very similar way to the single-split system. There are ducts throughout the building, and cool air is circulated among them. Refrigerants and evaporators ensure that the temperature of the air reflects the temperature setting as indicated on the control dial.

However, with a multi-split system, you can connect several indoor units to one individual outdoor unit. This is a significant saving on space, made possible by the inverting technology. It’s also a more efficient AC arrangement. Instead of operating the energy-sapping compressor every time there’s a temperature change, small adjustments are made as and when they’re required to keep the temperature constant.

But, it’s not a completely perfect AC solution. Since there are multiple indoor units attached to one outdoor unit, installation costs are higher, the work is more complicated, and generally takes more time to complete.

VRF/VRV System

There are two names for this AC system, but they describe the same thing. Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) and Variable Refrigerant Volume (VRV) are one and the same, except that VRV is the term patented by the manufacturer Daikin.

This AC configuration is best suited to medium and large-scale spaces. If your commercial space has tall ceilings and expansive, open-plan areas, then the Heat Pump system will do a good job of heating or cooling it. On the other hand, Heat Recovery will heat and cool the area simultaneously, but this is much more suited to a group of smaller rooms.

Installation is quick, and the technology is extremely reliable. Since air is recycled, it’s also an efficient system and can be adjusted to suit most large commercial properties. As you might expect, it’s the most expensive of the three systems.

The Other Types of AC Systems

There are more types of AC systems, but they’re far less common than the three we’ve discussed. Variable Air Volume (VAV) and Constant Air Volume (CAV) are both single duct air systems you might consider. Ceiling fans and industrial box fans are also an option, but they’re far better suited to warehouse spaces.

Air Conditioning Systems with KES Facilities

You have a lot to think about when installing or upgrading your new AC system, such as:

  • AC system equipment placement and space
  • Ventilation
  • Building configuration
  • Climate
  • Spatial requirement
  • Business demands
  • Humidity
  • Operating cost
  • Maintenance cost
  • AC equipment reliability and flexibility
  • Coolants and fuels

That’s a lot to consider when identifying the requirements of your AC system. Why not leave it to the experts instead?

At KES Facilities, we keep all of this in mind, meaning we don’t miss any critical information. We guarantee to provide your commercial property with the AC system that best meets your spatial requirements, business demand, and budget.

The technology behind air conditioning systems is constantly moving forward. Different systems excel in different spaces, and we know the best product to recommend. Our talented technicians work throughout Yorkshire. They’re highly trained, professional, and able to install, maintain and repair any air condition system.

Get in touch with our friendly Yorkshire team today by calling 0113 347 1234.

What Are the Temperatures for Safe Commercial Refrigeration?

KES Facilities
Thursday, January 9th, 2020

Any business owner or worker in the food and drinks industry knows how critical storage temperature is. It’s crucial for manufacturers and suppliers to the industry too: you need to store particular foods, drinks and products at specific temperatures. Food service industry regulations demand that you do.

Let’s explore some of the temperatures for safe commercial refrigeration. We’ll review a few of the most popular types of refrigerators and freezers, the reasons for industry regulations, and how temperature regulations differ between countries. If you’re unsure about any refrigeration temperatures, KES Facilities are always here to help.

Different Types of Commercial Refrigerators and Freezers

Although there are several different types of commercial refrigerators and freezers, they have a few things in common. First of all, none of them look like the refrigerators in your home! But they’re also designed for meticulous temperature control, bulk storage, and ease of access.

Walk-In Refrigerators

This one’s in the name! These refrigerators are some of the largest ones on the market. It’s a good idea to store boxed goods, juices, and liquids inside walk-in refrigerators. If your business has a quick product turn-around and stock moves fast, then this type of refrigerator is worth the investment.

Reach-In Refrigerators and Freezers

On the other hand, reach-in refrigerators are better suited to back-of-house storage. There can be multiple sections and the doors are normally either glass or solid. These allow you to organise your stock and quickly locate the products you need. Since the door is open for less time, they tend to be more energy efficient as well.

Display Refrigerators

These types of refrigerators are designed with a much more unique intent. When used correctly, they should make fresh produce look much more attractive. They can be either serve-over-counter, or counter-top display. Whether or not they have a glass partition that keeps them protected, customers will be able to see and select exactly what they want.

Why Are There Legal Temperatures for Safe Refrigeration?

The temperature at which you store your food or drink can have a huge influence on the condition of your stock. Moisture level, nutrition level, taste, appearance and, most importantly, hygiene are all determined by the temperature of your refrigerator or freezer.

That temperature is so crucial, in fact, that refrigeration temperatures are regulated. The Food Safety (Temperature Control) Regulations 1995 (or the Food Hygiene Regulations 2006) state that certain foods must be refrigerated below 8°C in the United Kingdom. It’s recommended that most refrigerators operate between 2°C and 5°C.

Freezers are slightly different. There are no defined temperatures, but freezers are expected to have a temperature of -18°C.

The following foods must be stored at a regulated temperature:

  • dairy products
  • cooked products
  • cured fish (which is not shelf-stable)
  • cured meat (which is not shelf-stable)
  • prepared ready-to-eat foods
  • uncooked pastry and dough products

These regulations have been established to reduce the chance of harmful bacteria growing and spreading within food. Food spoilage is a common problem due to poor refrigeration, and food poisoning can be a direct result of refrigeration at the wrong temperature. Other more serious illnesses such as E.coli can also spread as a result.

The general requirement of the Food Hygiene Regulations in the United Kingdom is as follows:

“Raw materials, ingredients, intermediate products and finished products likely to support the reproduction of pathogenic micro-organisms or the formation of toxins are not to be kept at temperatures that might result in a risk to health. The cold chain is not to be interrupted. However, limited periods outside temperature control are permitted, to accommodate the practicalities of handling during preparation, transport, storage, display and service of food, provided that it does not result in a risk to health…”

Do Temperatures Change Depending on the Country?

Everything we’ve mentioned so far applies to food regulations in the United Kingdom. The temperatures for food storage in refrigerators and freezers around the world vary. In certain locations, there are no regulations at all. In the majority of places, however, the refrigeration temperature of food is strictly controlled.

Safe Commercial Refrigeration Tips

Sometimes, the correct storage temperature isn’t obvious. That being said, there are a few handy tips you can follow to ensure that you’re storing food in the safest way possible.

Foods that need to be refrigerated should be stored at the earliest opportunity. The “two-hour rule” is usually a good routine to follow. If a food normally requires refrigeration (such as seafood, meat, or poultry), then try not to leave it at room temperature for more than two hours.

The information label on your food will normally let you know the best storage method. When you do store that food, make sure that the air inside your refrigerator has space to circulate: overcrowd it and it won’t stay fresh.

For any food that’s beginning to rot or ‘go-off’, it’s always a good idea to dispose of it immediately. This reduces the likelihood of bacteria growing and spreading. Clean your hands whenever possible, and separate raw foods from cooked foods.

Stick to those tips, and you’ll be in a pretty good position for limiting the growth of harmful bacteria.

If you’re having problems with your current commercial refrigerator, or are looking to install a new system in your commercial kitchen, get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you.

What Are the Differences Between VRV and VRF Air Conditioning Systems?

KES Facilities
Friday, November 22nd, 2019

Variable Refrigerant Volume (VRV) and Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) are becoming increasingly popular in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) industry.

But why are more and more companies deciding to ditch traditional air conditioning configurations in favour of this new technology? And even if you know what the technology involves, then what’s the difference between the two?

So, what’s the difference?

This is about as easy as it gets. VRV and VRF air conditioning systems are exactly the same. They’re 100% and completely identical. The only reason they have different names is because of the legalities and trademarks.

But both VRV and VRF are the same technology. Confusingly, they’re two different names for the exact same thing. This is all down to Daikin. Daikin are one of the most established names in the HVAC industry. In the early 1980s, they developed the technology and registered the Variable Refrigerant Volume phrase. Since it was officially trademarked, the term became their property.

Other companies would go on to develop the same technology. As they began to integrate it into their range of products and services, they had to come up with a new phrase. Variable Refrigerant Flow was born, and has since been used to describe the technology (when Daikin aren’t using it).

Because every company except for Daikin markets VRF technology, it’s the more common term for these systems.

What is VRV/VRF Technology?

VRV/VRF is a very advanced and sophisticated commercial air conditioning system. It’s particularly useful because it’s extremely efficient, reduces costs and requires less material than other conventional air conditioning systems.

The Equipment

VRV/VRF technology includes the following key components:

  • One outdoor unit (either one or several compressors)
  • Several indoor units
  • Refrigerant piping (this circulates between the outdoor units and indoor units)
  • Communication wiring

We won’t get into the nitty-gritty VRV/VRF detail. Instead, this should be an overview to give you a high-level understanding of how the technology works.

How Does it Work?

To begin with, your VRV/VRF system is in the ‘off’ position. Once a remote control is used to power-up the system, the outdoor compressors begin to function. The system will function until it is switched off.

Sensors will take a reading of the indoor and outdoor temperatures. An indoor ‘optimum’ temperature will have already been set for each space, and the system will begin to work to reach that temperature.

Refrigerant flows from the single outdoor unit and is circulated between all of the indoor units (evaporators) as required. The refrigerant flow is variable, meaning that although it may be constantly flowing, it’s increased and reduced as per the demand in each room.

This is what makes a VRV/VRF system unique. With other air conditioning systems, an entire area would be targeted with the same cooling speed, fan speed and temperature demand. This would all be controlled individually by the user. With VRV/VRF, the system flows continuously but importantly, varies between each indoor cooling unit.

This also means that areas with a higher temperature can be cooled without affecting other areas. As the refrigerant is circulated between the outdoor unit and the indoor units, it is cooled and compressed to remove the heat from the surrounding area.

Why Would You Consider Investing in VRV/VRF?

Many companies around the world have already discovered the benefits of this intelligent air conditioning configuration.

One of the biggest advantages of a VRV/VRF system is that it adapts to the outdoor conditions independently. There’s no need for water-cooled systems or chillers and fan coils. Instead, everything takes place within the outdoor and indoor units. There’s also no water, and therefore no water that requires to be cooled by refrigerant. Instead, refrigerant is used throughout.

Since there are fewer materials to purchase and install, costs are reduced. But VRV/VRF systems are also incredibly efficient and keep your working areas at the temperature you need them to be 24/7. Since each room is cooled to the exact room requirements, it means that every indoor unit uses only the energy it needs to use. Operating costs are much lower than with other systems as well: instead of cooling huge ‘cover-all’ areas unnecessarily, only the targeted areas are cooled.

They’re incredibly quiet systems too, since water isn’t being circulated throughout the piping around the building.

All things considered, VRV/VRF systems are incredibly efficient and significantly reduce operating costs for your business. If you have any questions about commercial VRV/VRF configurations or want to know about their benefits, then please get in touch with our Yorkshire-based team. We’ll be able to help with any of your VRV/VRF enquiries.

How Does a Cellar Cooler Work?

KES Facilities
Thursday, October 31st, 2019

At KES Facilities, we install, service, and repair all sorts of cooling appliances. From air conditioning units to cellar coolers, we’ve got you covered. We only work with the highest-quality brands and the names that we know we can trust.

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you’re considering purchasing a cellar cooler for your business. How do they work? What advantages do they bring? And why would you ever need one?

What Are Cellar Coolers Used For?

Yes, we’ll tell you how they work. But just in case you’re not 100% sure what cellar coolers even are, let’s take a look at their typical uses.

Cellar coolers are generally used to keep drinks at the correct chilled temperature. You’ll find them in almost every pub, club, restaurant or bar you enter. The temperature of the drink served to you is crucial, and when it’s being stored it’s even more important.

So important, in fact, that if the temperature shifts by as little as 1°C, a whole cask can be ruined. Slight temperature changes can have catastrophic effects, so it’s important that the temperature is maintained accurately and consistently.

With beer, in particular, the cask might spoil. Otherwise, keg beer might become more difficult to pour due to fobbing. If it’s too cold, then the flavour of the product is affected as well. Either way, these preventable issues are going to be costing your business money.

In spaces where a cellar isn’t a viable option, many companies turn to cellar coolers. They’ll keep the temperature or your drinks and foods perfect so that you shouldn’t have to worry about spoiled products.

So How Do Cellar Coolers Work?

Now that you know what a cellar cooler is and what it’s used for, let’s take a closer look at how they work. There are two main parts to every cellar cooler: the cooling system and the condensing unit.

The cooling system is the part which cools the air. Think of the cooling system like a radiator inside your home. Instead of thin metal pipes circulating hot water, they instead circulate chilled water. And instead of being on your wall, this piping arrangement is found inside the unit itself. This is important because when warm, external air is pulled in by the fans, and the chilled pipes help to cool the temperature of the air. That chilled air is then circulated throughout the room by fans.

Temperature sensors detect the temperature of the room. If the room temperature begins to creep above optimum levels, the cooling system is turned on again. Too cold? Then it turns off. The fans, however, run continuously.

They do this to help remove the warmer air from the cellar too. As well as bringing in cool air, the system needs to remove warm air that could interfere with the temperature of any cold drinks. The cooling system and the condensing unit work in tandem to make sure that the temperature is kept within the selected range.

How You Can Get the Most Out of Your Cooler

Your cellar cooler involves moving parts. That means that it will need regularly maintained and at times, you’ll even need to repair the parts which break.

For a start, you should be keeping a record of the temperature at various points throughout the room. Are you spotting any unusually warm areas? Or corners where the room is significantly colder? The cooler might not be working as efficiently as it should be.

You should open the door and allow the space to vent for around 10 minutes each day. Apart from that, the door should remain closed. Inspect it each week to make sure there’s no build-up of ice. Dust it regularly and don’t block any fans with stock or boxes.

At KES, our highly-trained team are ready to help with whatever cellar cooling demand you have. Firstly, we’re able to install your cooler safely and efficiently. We also provide regular checks and servicing plans. If any parts are wearing down, we’ll be sure to let you know and give you the option of an early repair. Unfortunately, no matter how well serviced your machine is, sometimes they need an outright repair.

Our Yorkshire-based technicians are able to help with all of your cellar cooler enquiries. Get in touch with our team today and find out how we can help.

A Guide to F-Gas Regulations & The HFC Phase-Down

KES Facilities
Wednesday, October 16th, 2019

The sceptics among us may joke that just about everything we do contributes to global warming in some way or another. While their point may be a somewhat exaggerated way of looking at things, it’s true that there are many ways in which we can cut down on greenhouse gas emissions in just about every industry. Commercial air conditioning installation, servicing and repair is one of them.

The Montreal Protocol, created in 1987, remains one of the most ambitious and important global agreements designed to reduce the production of substances harmful to the Earth’s ozone layers. Today, that means that companies involved with supplying, installing and servicing air conditioning units are committed to reducing the harmful greenhouse gases which some models use.

In today’s article, we’ll discuss what the F-Gas regulations within the air conditioning industry are and how their phase-down affects you.

What is an F-Gas?

Let’s try and keep this simple. In 2016, the Kigali Amendment was added to the Montreal Protocol to “phase down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) worldwide.”

HFCs are one of the most popular gases that make up a large group of greenhouse gases known as fluorinated gases, or F-Gases. These F-Gases, which are the name given to the group of chemicals containing fluorine, are commonly used in air conditioning and refrigeration. Countries all over the world have agreed to significantly reduce the use of these harmful man-made gases.

Why the Regulations?

Many European countries see the EU F-Gas Regulations and the HFC phase-down as a huge priority. First of all, it’s important that EU countries show their commitment to the Kigali Amendment and the Montreal Protocol. This commitment forms part of a greater ambition to reduce the impact of global warming within our atmosphere.

F-gases are capable of trapping heat in our atmosphere and their impact can be devastating. They’re one of many factors contributing to global warming. Some studies have revealed that the effect of F-Gases on global warming is up to 23,000 times greater than the effect of carbon dioxide. We’re all aware of the problems that carbon dioxide causes – continued use of F-Gases could have far graver consequences.

And those consequences have been recognised. The EU F-Gas regulations, which are a part of the Montreal Protocol, state that there should be a 79% reduction in the use of HFCs by 2030. The aim of the phase-down is to significantly reduce the use of these harmful gases and increase the use of suitable alternatives.

What are F-Gases Used For?

F-Gases are used in a surprising number of industrial products. When they were first introduced, they were seen as a suitable alternative to chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). They have now also been deemed too harmful to use.

The main F-Gases which are used are HFCs, and they’re commonly used in refrigeration, air conditioning and heat exchanging equipment. Interestingly, they’re also used in fire extinguishers, solvents and even aerosols.

What Does This Mean for You?

The majority of commercial property owners will never have heard of F-Gases or HFC. So why are we telling you about F-Gases? Well, the HFC phase-down means that air conditioning units using any F-Gases will need to be replaced. In order to adhere to F-Gas regulations, there will also be a servicing ban on existing and out-of-date units.

Companies that manufacture and supply equipment which contains F-Gases are re-designing their products and testing the efficiency of alternative chemicals. This also means that the companies installing and servicing these air conditioning units need to keep up-to-date with the regulation deadlines and fully train their staff on alternative equipment.

Significantly, if your commercial property uses equipment which involves F-Gases, you too will be affected by the phase-down. It’s important that your air conditioning units are legal and that if they break down, air conditioning professionals are able to service and repair them.

If you have any questions about the F-Gas Regulations and The HFC Phase-Down then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our KES Facilities team. Our staff will be able to answer any queries you have about your commercial air conditioning units and can help you keep in line with regulations.

Our Guide To Choosing The Best Air Conditioning Unit For Your Requirements

KES Facilities
Friday, August 23rd, 2019

Air conditioning units make a superb addition to any home when the warmer months arrive. They help to maintain a comfortable environment around the home, allowing you to go about your everyday business as usual. What’s more, with so many different makes and models now available on the market, you should be able to find one that’s just right for your needs.

However, with so much variety available, it can be difficult to know for certain which air conditioning unit is best for you. With that in mind, we have created a quick and simple guide of all factors to consider when choosing the right air conditioning unit for you.

Consider the space

The first factor to think about is how large the space is that you’re hoping to invest in air conditioning for, along with how far you want to air conditioning to reach. A small studio apartment will require a completely different unit compared with a large Victorian house, for example, so make a note of how many rooms you will need the air conditioning to reach.

You should also worth noting whether the space is bright or shady, how many people typically use the space and what it is used for, along with any other appliances in the space that could add heat to it.

Together, information on all of these factors will help you whittle down the choice of units on the market, to those which are most suitable for your requirements.

British thermal units (Btu)

The power of an air conditioning is measured in Btu, and the range is quite significant. Use your notes on the space to determine how much Btu is required for your own air conditioning unit. For example, if you’re planning on positioning your air conditioning unit in a kitchen, it’s recommended that you add an extra 4,000 Btu capacity to the average power needed for your size space.

Top tip: Most living rooms or bedrooms require between 5,000 and 8,000 Btu for effective cooling.

Get to grips with each type of unit

There are four different types of air conditioning units on the market – portable, window air conditioners and split ductless air conditioners.

Portable air conditioning units

These units don’t need to be installed and can be moved from room to room, wherever it is required. You will need to place the hose out of a door or window in order for the unit to release heat outside of the space it’s trying to cool.

Pros

  • They can be moved around easily from room to room
  • Have enough power to cool most spaces
  • No need for professional installation

Cons

  • They can be quite unattractive compared to other units
  • You face security issues if you leave them running when you’re out of the house
  • They cannot extend their cooling to other rooms within the house

Window air conditioning units

Window air conditioning units are installed into a window frame, one part sitting within the home and the other part sitting outside on the other side of the wall. They blow hot air outside and cool air inside.

Pros

  • Unit is installed off the floor, leaving plenty of space for other furniture
  • They are semi-portable, in that they can be installed into another window in another room if necessary
  • Cheaper to run than portable air conditioning units

Cons

  • They take up a lot of window space and can block light or look unappealing
  • Similarly to portable units, they can only cool one space at a time in the home

Split ductless air conditioning units

These systems consist of an outdoor system and multiple indoor hubs positioned in different spaces throughout a house.

Pros

  • Ability to cool multiple rooms throughout one home at any given time
  • These models are usually very quiet
  • Aesthetically pleasing, without blocking out any light

Cons

  • Certainly the most expensive type of air conditioning unit available
  • Of the three units available, this is the one that will most likely require expert installation

This is a very brief overview of the different types of air conditioning units available to you, but it should give you some indication as to the best option for you and your own specific needs.

Think about energy efficiency

It’s possible that you may be running your air conditioning unit for long periods of time, particularly during the summer months. That’s why it is so important to consider the energy efficiency of a unit you’re thinking about investing in.

The energy star rating helps consumers to understand just how efficient an air conditioning unit is. Units are rated out of 5 stars and those rated at 5 stars are known to cool a space much more efficiently than other lower rated units.

If you plan to use your air conditioning unit to its full potential, consider looking for a 5 star rated unit to save yourself plenty of money in the long run. For anyone who won’t be using it often, the energy efficiency rating won’t be as big a factor as others, but it is certainly worth considering all the same.

Extra features could prove beneficial

Here are a few additional features that are available with some types of air conditioning units. Have a think about these features and if any are potentially useful to you, you might find it worthwhile investing a little extra money to having these features to hand.

  • Variable fan speeds – allowing you to pick and choose how powerful the unit is at any given time. Some units also provide a fan only option, which simply circulates air around the room without cooling it.
  • Dehumidifier – ideal for anyone looking to make use of the system year round, as opposed to just in the warmer months. A unit with an additional heat mode would also work well for this type of use.
  • Remote control – change the settings with the touch of button from where you’re sat, rather than having to get up and use the buttons on the unit itself.
  • Timer – Choose when you want the unit to start up and when you want it to switch off. This is perfect for anyone who works during the day, or perhaps someone investing in air conditioning for their summer home, for example.
  • Night mode – Designed to lower the fan speed as you sleep and to increase the temperature gradually over time, to prevent you from waking up too cold.

We hope you find this beginner’s guide to air conditioning units helpful and that it gives you a clearer direction of which units you should consider investing in. For more detailed advice and information on air conditioning units, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our friendly, professional team.

Guide to the different types of commercial refrigeration

KES Facilities
Friday, June 7th, 2019

Running a business requires plenty of careful consideration when it comes to the various appliances you need to invest in. Refrigeration plays a vital role in the successful running of your business, to make sure your food and drinks stay fresh, chilled and good enough to serve to your customers.

That is why we have created a guide to highlight the different types of commercial refrigeration available on the market, along with the various advantages and drawbacks. This guide should prove useful for when the time comes for you to invest in commercial refrigeration for your business, to make sure you choose the right appliance for your requirements.

First things first – assess your refrigeration needs

Before beginning that all important search for commercial refrigeration, it makes sense to think about your business’ needs beforehand, to whittle down the variety on offer to a select few appliances that are most suitable for you.

  • How much refrigerated storage do you need? If you’re running a large busy restaurant, you’ll require much more refrigerated storage than a small country cafe, for example. Investing in a commercial refrigerator that’s excessive for your business needs could result in hefty and unnecessary energy costs.
  • Will your refrigerator be positioned front of house of back of house? Some commercial refrigerators are much better suited to be seen by your customers, so pay close attention to this during your search.
  • Will you require more than one type of refrigerator? It could be that you need large amounts of refrigeration but only certain shapes and sizes of appliance will fit in the space. Have a think about the space and its measurements ahead of your search, to have a better idea of the types of refrigerator to invest in for that space.
  • Get to grips with energy ratings – running commercial refrigeration certainly comes with its costs, so it’s vital that you invest in appliances with a high energy rating to keep costs down.

The most common types of commercial refrigeration

Here you can find an overview of some of the most common types of commercial refrigeration and what benefits they can bring to a business. Use this information to narrow down your search to the right types of refrigeration for your own business.

Reach-In Refrigerators

Reach-in commercial refrigerators are the closest in appearance to your standard domestic refrigerator, but pack a lot more space and power. Comprising of a tall upright design with multiple shelves and sections inside for storage, these commercial refrigerators are a great addition to any back of house set up.

With reach-in refrigerators, you’re able to store away a great amount of food and drink at one time, so it’s a great option for a smaller to medium sized businesses. You’re able to invest in ones with castors if you might need to move it about from time to time, and some even come with dual-zoned features, allowing you to store items at different temperatures in different areas of the appliance.

Walk-In Refrigerators

These are the largest type of commercial refrigeration available on the market, although they vary greatly in size, depending on a business’ specific needs. With that in mind, all kinds of businesses can make use of walk-in refrigerators – you just need to find the right size appliance for your space.

With shelving all around the sides and with enough space to add shelving in the middle to create aisles within the space, your business certainly won’t struggle for cold storage when investing in a walk-in refrigerator.

Undercounter Refrigerators

Undercounter refrigerators consist of cold storage drawers positioned underneath a preparation counter. Most businesses choose to use these drawers to store meat and fish along or close to the cooking line, but they’re also great for cold storage in smaller spaces.

Different sizes of undercounter refrigerators are available on the market, most of which are designed for different food preparation needs.

Display Refrigerators

These purpose-made commercial refrigerators are perfect for front of house visibility. With large glass front doors and built in lighting, display refrigerators are the perfect appliance for any food or drinks you’re trying to promote in their original form. Whether that’s sandwiches, cakes or bottled beer, for example, display refrigerators are a great investment for your front of house set up.

Bar Refrigerators

You will find these types of commercial refrigerators in most bars and restaurants you visit. Some of designed to sit low to the ground and underneath surfaces, whereas others are designed to reach waist-level. The more expensive bar refrigerators come in stainless steel, however they are more likely to dent than their cheaper stainless black vinyl alternatives.

Make the most of your space by combining different refrigerators

The vast majority of commercial refrigerators can be suitable for all kinds of businesses, no matter how large or small. Their versatility makes it very easy to be able to combine a few different styles to create a cold storage set up that’s just right for your business needs.

Take a look at your space and think about where you could fit in commercial refrigeration. Whether that’s making room for a reach-in refrigerator towards the back, a couple of undercounter refrigerators in your cooking space, and a couple of display refrigerators in the front – it’s extremely simple to add a number of different appliances in your workspace.

What maintenance you should expect to have on your commercial refrigeration?

To really make the most of your investment, it pays to keep on top of maintaining your commercial refrigeration. Doing so will prevent any expensive but avoidable faults and repairs, and will keep the appliance running for a good number of years.

Here is what you can do on a daily or weekly basis, to keep your commercial refrigeration in top condition:

  • Optimise the temperature and the defrost frequency
  • Keep the area around the refrigerator clean and clear
  • Remember to turn off the lights in walk-in refrigerators when you leave
  • Clean the interior using recommendations from the user manual
  • Keep an eye on the seal on the doors

Carried out every 3 to 6 months, these additional maintenance checks will help to prolong the lifetime of your refrigeration. We would recommend having a professional come in to perform these checks.

  • Inspect the condensing and evaporating coils – including cleaning them
  • Clean out ice makers
  • Inspect the condition of the fan motor
  • Look over all parts for any signs of wear
  • Clean the fan blades and gaskets
  • Lubricate the hinges
  • Check the electrics
  • Test and calibrate the thermometers

Seek advice and recommendations from experts in the field

If you’re seriously considering investing in commercial refrigeration for your business, taking the time and effort to get it right first time will save you a great deal of hassle further down the line.

If you’re new to the world of commercial refrigeration, you’ll benefit greatly from the advice and support of professionals in the industry. They’ll be able to look over your business space and find out all about your specific requirements, before recommending the best types of commercial refrigeration for you and where to position it within your space.

This guide should give you a good start into finding the right commercial refrigeration for your business. With enough research and planning, you’ll soon have cold storage space for your business that’s just right for its needs.

How to create a great restaurant environment for both customers and employees

KES Facilities
Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

Anyone who owns a restaurant knows that a comforting and relaxing restaurant ambience plays a key role in the success of the business. However, creating the right atmosphere goes much further than the satisfaction of your guests – your employees need be considered as part of this process too, so how can you make sure the ambience is right for both sides of the business?

Here we’ve detailed some of the steps you can take to provide a suitable restaurant environment that will create the perfect ambience for customers and a comfortable working space for your staff.

Keep the space at a comfortable temperature

Investing in quality furniture and fixtures does play its part in a relaxing restaurant atmosphere, but so too does the temperature throughout the space. Without enough thought and consideration for the temperature in your restaurant, both your customers and employees could be left feeling uncomfortable from too much heat or too little, at that.

Finding the right temperature that’s ideal for customers and team members can be tricky, but with enough research and planning invested, you’ll soon find the optimum temperature for your restaurant. Ask yourself the following questions to make a start:

  • How many guests and staff members do you typically have in the restaurants on an average morning, afternoon and evening? Changing occupancies can determine what temperature needs to be set throughout the day.
  • What’s the average temperature outside at different times throughout the year? This will impact how hot or cold you need the temperature to be within your restaurant.
  • What appliances are being used throughout the space? Chances are your kitchen and bar area will require a different temperature setting to the space where your guests will sit, in order to keep everyone comfortable.
  • Are you planning on making any changes to the space in the future? Could they affect what temperature the space needs to be set at?

Ask yourself these questions and use them to make plans for optimising the temperature within your restaurant. A professional technician will be able to offer advice on where to place temperature control elements throughout the space, as well as what temperatures to set them at.

Top tip: Research found that an uncomfortable restaurant temperature is one of the top ten common customer complaints, so it’s certainly something to think about.

Implement the right levels of lighting in different areas

It goes without saying that soothing lighting levels play an essential part in creating the right environment for guests to dine in at your restaurant, so this is definitely something that needs thinking about.

Play around with the lighting to find the right ambience at different times of the day for you guests – lights that you can dim would prove beneficial in this respect. You could even add additional lighting elements in the evening, such as candles on each table when the evening guests begin to arrive. However, it’s vital that you don’t go too far the other way and make the space too dark for the guests to see their food! A happy medium is where your lighting needs to be.

You will also need to think about lighting for your employees at the same time. Lighting for them is not so much about creating a relaxing environment, but more to provide a safe space for them to carry out their roles. Make sure there’s enough lighting in the dining area for team members to navigate their way around, and provide bright lighting in the back of house space for an efficient working environment.

Control the level of noise from each area

Noise levels are another common complaint brought up by customers, but high level of noise can also impact employees and their ability to carry out their jobs as well. With that in mind, it’s well worth taking the time to consider how to control the noise levels from both the dining area and the back of house space too. Doing so will help to create a relaxing environment for your guests to dine in and for your staff to work in.

There are a number of ways you can look at reducing the noise pollution in your restaurant. Begin by considering each of the appliances you use in your restaurant and whether there could be an alternative that gives out less noise than the one you’re currently using or considering.

Think about having your restaurant soundproofed, to limit the amount of echo that comes from the hard surfaces across the space. You could even install carpets in areas of high traffic levels, as well as having your ceiling insulated to soften the blow of the noise within the space.

You could also think about where certain elements of the restaurant are positioned. Are the cookers too close to the entrance of the back of house space? How about the cleaning area – could that be repositioned to avoid clashing with the noise within the dining area? Sound systems should also be cleverly positioned in a way that doesn’t disrupt the goings on within the cooking area.

Keep odours in check to keep everyone happy

When operating a busy restaurant, there are bound to be plenty of smells emanating from the kitchen area as hundreds of dishes are created and served up. Chances are other odours can present themselves from the cleaning space and even from the toilets too. When all of these odours come together, it’s not always very pleasant.

Odour control is an absolute must in keeping customers and team members happy, and it’s extremely simple to apply. You will find a variety of odour control units available on the market, which work to neutralise the air within your restaurants and in a way that doesn’t pollute the air outside either.

Make sure to spend some time researching these odour control units, to find the best appliance for your restaurant. Professional technicians should be able to offer sound advice as to how many units your restaurant needs and where to position them throughout the space.

Other elements to think about

The four main elements for keeping customers and staff happy in your restaurant environment have been discussed above, but there are a few other things you can think about, to perfect your restaurant ambience and to improve the success of your business.

  • Busy restaurants need an ample waiting area, to keep guests comfortable whilst they wait for their table to be ready, and to provide enough space for staff to carry out their role without crowds.
  • Avoid cramming tables into the space, to give your guests a comfortable and personal experience at your restaurant and to provide plenty of room for your team to work their hospitality magic.

If you have any tried and tested words of wisdom for creating the perfect restaurant environment for guests and employees alike, please do share them with us and our other readers.