Global warming shop chiller failures

Retailers have been warned about the increasing likelihood of faulty remote chillers due to the impact of global warming.

This month, parts of the UK experienced a heatwave during which temperatures exceeded 30°C, leading to increased reports of chiller failures from retailers. Simon Robinson, managing director of chiller supplier PastorFrigor GB, advised retailers to be aware of the potential damage the heat could cause to remote chillers.

Compared to plug-in chillers, which have all components stored in a single unit, the motor of a remote chiller is typically installed separately, for instance on a shop’s wall or roof. Robinson said: “Every summer, there are instances of remote chillers overheating and failing.

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“They aren’t built to deal with heatwaves and every year it gets hotter for longer. In previous years you might have been lucky to get two days where it’s 35 degrees in the summer. Now, it’s two weeks and that’s potentially going to get longer as global warming takes hold.

“A remote chiller has a box containing the motor stored outdoors. This might be able to handle 35-degree heat at the most, but then you’ve got the sun reflecting directly onto it. Heat reflects from the surrounding walls. The temperature can exceed 42 degrees and cause a failure.”

Hitesh Modi, of Londis BWS in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, said he was aware of several retailers who had experienced chiller failures during the August heatwave.

Paul Jordon, managing director of shopfitting firm The Jordon Group, told betterRetailing increased sales during the Covid-19 pandemic have led to retailers investing in additional chiller equipment to meet the demand.

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“We’re just as busy as we would expect to be this year, if not busier. I speak to retailers who tell me their footfall has increased because of the pandemic and they’re using the opportunity to invest more. One customer wanted to get his chiller replaced because he wants to stay on top of the demand, while others are after a one-off 2.5-metre fridge to bolster their chilled section. That’s the mentality now.”

Jordon added that he had received new queries from retailers about purchasing top-end chillers. “I’ve had one retailer from a symbol group that we’d class at the lower end of the market. He wants one of the top-of-the-range fridges and you would have never seen that six months ago. Retailers have more disposable cash because they’ve been so busy.”

Steve Collinson, of Fridge Freezer Direct, advised around 70% of failures were caused by stores not following manufacturer terms, such as inadequate air conditioning inside shops or poor maintenance schedules.

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