If you are in one of these industries—food and beverage, agriculture, education, hospitality/entertainment, commercial office, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, manufacturing or distribution—then refrigeration is mission critical to your business. You need the assurance of knowing that support is just a call away. Without prompt service, an equipment malfunction or failure can result in costly downtime, inventory spoilage, water damage, unsafe conditions for your employees and, ultimately, customer dissatisfaction. Unfortunately, the number of technicians in the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration sector is waning, and with fewer technicians to go around, it may be more difficult to get the service you need.

The shortage of HVAC/R technicians is part of a broader U.S. trend; service technicians are becoming less accessible across many industries. But the HVAC/R industry has its own unique set of challenges as well. Specifically:

  • More service technicians are retiring than entering the HVAC/R industry each year. While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment opportunities for technicians will grow 6% (faster than the average for all occupations) over the decade ending in 2032, it’s unlikely that all of the approximately 37,700 openings each year will be filled.
  • Demand for refrigeration service continues to climb as companies expand to accommodate growing demand for food, beverages, pharmaceutical and other perishable goods, and upgrade to the latest energy-efficient, regulation-compliant systems and smart technologies.
  • The evolving nature of HVAC/R systems requires technicians to possess a higher level of technical training and expertise, yet current educational and training programs are struggling to keep up with emerging technological advances. The result is a widening skills gap that makes it more difficult for businesses to find truly qualified technicians.

In summary, more businesses will be competing for fewer qualified technicians in the years to come. The good news is that you can take action today to reduce your reliance on service technicians tomorrow.

3 Key Solutions for Safeguarding Your Refrigeration System

Fortunately, you can put measures into place to strengthen your refrigeration system so it’s less vulnerable. Taking this proactive stance entails incorporating three key solutions:

1. Commercial Refrigeration System Design Redundancy

Design redundancy in commercial and industrial refrigeration systems is the integration of additional components—compressors, cooling units and controls, for example—into your system to ensure it can continue to operate effectively in the event a primary component fails. This crucial fail-safe can be built into a system with automatic changeover capabilities, meaning the system automatically switches to a secondary system or component when the primary system stops working properly.

Building design redundancy into your refrigeration system can help you minimize downtime and service disruptions, increase the reliability and efficiency of your system, and decrease your reliance on service support personnel. Redundancy can also help extend the life of your refrigeration components and bolster the overall resilience of your refrigeration system.

Determining how much redundancy your system needs, and in which areas, requires careful thought and planning. Consult with your commercial refrigeration partner. Their knowledge of your business and its cold storage needs should equip them to recommend solutions that reduce the risk of costly downtime, prevent product spoilage, ensure compliance with safety regulations, and give you and your team more peace of mind.

2. Planned Maintenance

There are many reasons to have a proactive maintenance and service plan in place for your commercial or industrial refrigeration system: Regularly scheduled inspections and maintenance can help you identify potential issues before they escalate into major problems, optimize system performance and lifespan, and ensure ongoing energy efficiency and compliance.

For your bottom line, this means cost savings in several areas:

  • Reduction in emergency repair expenses and downtime
  • Lower utility bills resulting from efficiency improvements
  • Less product spoilage
  • Avoidance of penalties related to noncompliance

The ARI+ planned maintenance program gives you the option of scheduling regular maintenance and service at the frequency you prefer—monthly, quarterly, semiannually, etc. —to ensure the reliability and longevity of your refrigeration system. An ARI+ membership also entitles you to priority dispatching for emergency service requests. Feel free to contact us to discuss your needs.

3. Remote Temperature Monitoring and Alarms

Your team should be able to monitor your entire refrigeration system, anytime and anywhere, to ensure it is maintaining ideal temperatures and humidity. Remote temperature monitoring and alarm systems empower them to do just that, providing continuous surveillance capabilities as well as alarm notifications (by text or email) when something is off. Alerts can be sent in the event of temperature and humidity deviations, open doors, excessive energy consumption, etc., to enable swift action to prevent spoilage and loss.

In addition to accelerating response times, remote monitoring reduces the time that needs to be spent on manual checks. This technology can also track data that’s essential for compliance reporting and optimizing system performance.

Taking advantage of all that technology has to offer, and setting yourself up with a maintenance and service plan that ensures you access to service when you need it, can help you protect your business from the growing technician shortage. Let us know how ARI can help. We’re here to help you succeed through every challenge.