This year, we will continue to see shifts occurring in our industry due to the drive to become more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. As manufacturers begin producing equipment that meets the new regulations, equipment owners will be forced to decide between making increasingly costly repairs to old equipment, retrofitting their equipment, or investing in new equipment entirely.
Walk-in coolers, refrigerators, freezers, and other pieces of equipment that run on CFC’s are among first pieces of equipment to undergo this change. As we move further away from equipment with environmentally unfriendly refrigerants, manufacturers are supplying fewer replacement parts for that equipment. Because of this, we have experienced increasing difficulty in not only finding parts for older machines, but a steep rise in the price of those parts. This is driving restaurant, convenience store, gas station, and other business owners to decide rather quickly – do they continue to repair the same piece of equipment every eight months as the prices of parts increases, or do they retrofit their current equipment or purchase new?
While spending less and repairing your current equipment may seem like a better financial decision, it may not be so in the future. Not only are repair parts going to become more expensive as product availability dwindles, but your machines will not operate as efficiently as they could, costing more in utilities as well. New and retrofitted equipment will operate at a higher efficiency and cost less in repairs, and new equipment will often include manufacturer warranty that cover parts and labor.
Take for example ice machines. Before equipment started to become heavily regulated, a lot of water was used in ice makers. Particulates in water do not freeze, and due to this, ice machines build up a lot of calcium and lime during the freezing process. Equipment would then have a purge cycles that would flush all those particulates out of the ice machine’s water reservoir. To properly flush and purge, machines used a lot of water! In addition, as demands on our electrical grid continues to increase, the Department of Energy (DOE) has been encouraging regulations to increase equipment efficiency. So, in December 2018, new guidelines were released and now manufacturers must begin developing and producing equipment to meet them.
These increased efficiency regulations are only impacting the manufacturers currently and not equipment owners. The DOE is going to continue recommending tighter Energy Star compliant equipment, so manufacturers will continue to develop new technologies to meet the regulations, increasing the price of new equipment overall.
If purchasing new equipment this year is not on your list of resolutions, we recommend our customers to take care of their current equipment the best they can. One way is by regularly cleaning and caring for your equipment (like reach-in refrigeration equipment, for example), and the other is to sign up for an affordable Preventative Maintenance Program through Chill Commercial Refrigeration. Contact our team for more information about the programs that are designed to prolong the life of your equipment and save money on costly equipment repairs and maintenance.