Frequently Asked Questions & Fridge Facts

Important Bar Fridge Information & Facts

There are numerous pieces of knowledge that are critical when selecting the appropriate refrigerator that is fit for purpose. This section hopefully answers most of the curly technical questions that you may have. Please also contact us directly for a personal recommendation. 

Q. Can I use these bar fridges outside in my outdoor entertaining area?

We have a range of outdoor bar fridges built and thoroughly tested to ensure they withstand hot temperatures. However, it is vital that the correct installation be followed for the fridge to be able to function effectively (See our ‘Installing Outdoor Fridges’ information flyer). There are many variables that will affect the performance of the fridge, such as the cooling capability and energy consumption.

Direct Sunlight will impede fridge performance, it is recommended that the unit be in a covered area and in no way in contact with sunlight or other variables that will heat up the area in which fridge is to perform. Glass door fridges work much harder than a normal domestic fridge, especially when your desired temperature is quite low for beer chilling, say 2ºC.

Ventilationmost of these fridges require minimal ventilation, the under bench Rhino and Schmick styles have a system where they are vented from the front, so fitting snugly inside a cabinet is what they have been designed for, there is a massive difference between 100% built in and 'semi built in', it's important to make sure you don't purchase a unit in error as a lot of companies don't give this information, or give misleading information in regard to building in. All units, built in or not will work at the start, but within 3-6 months if you have a unit 'built in' that isn't a proper designed fridge you will start to have a lot of problems due to overheating and extended running times, not to mention up to 6 times the energy consumption.

Always allow a minimum of 40mm at the rear of units (the power cord needs this minimum space to flex), approximately 10mm on top, and 10mm at each side to allow doors to open where they hinge.

Non-Front Venting units require air to circulate so that when warm air is vented from the front it can easily rise and clear away from the unit rather than being sucked back into the cool air inlet. Failure to provide adequate ventilation will make a fridge work harder, lower its life expectancy, and increase your energy consumption.

Ambient Temperaturethis is the actual temperature of the surrounding air in the area where the fridge is located. All our units are tested between 32°C >and 43°C ambient, however this is just a test, and the units must work extra hard in this environment. When ambient temperatures exceed 30°C it takes far longer for the units to get to the set temperature. If you were planning to have a party and knew it was going to be an extra hot day, then it would be best to fill the fridge the night before and get as many cold ones happening as possible. Adding warm drinks during the day take longer to CHILL - especially when the door(s) are being opened and closed repeatedly by many people.

Condensation in Humid Areas is quite normal for glass door fridges. The higher the relative humidity (RH) the more likely that condensation will form on the outside of glass doors. Even if the ambient temperature is mild at 25°C, the humidity can be 80%, meaning that doors will still have low levels of condensation. Really hot days in conjunction with high levels of relative humidity bring large levels of condensation to glass doors, like that of windscreens in vehicles. Bar Fridges New Zealand has combatted condensation with two features, and now over 70% of our range now has one or both of the following;

  1. LOW E Glass This reflects heat rays up to 70% better than normal glass and really helps with condensation issues. We get LOW E glass on all our units wherever possible, usually double panes. Testing shows that condensation begins to form when Relative Humidity is over 75% with double LOW E Glass. If no LOW E glass water can form in 50% humidity
  2. Heated GlassThis is where glass is electrically heated. By warming the glass to the appropriate level, we stop condensation in its tracks. This is an expensive part of the fridge design, and therefore it is only available on a few select models.

    Q. Will my bar fridge be noisy?

    All commercial style fridges make noise. The level of noise and what is perceived as 'noisy' will vary with the individual. Most commercial under counter models run at a decibel (DB) of between 45 and 55. A small domestic fridge runs at around 36DB to give a comparison of actual noise.

    The compressor cuts in and out as the fridge goes through the normal operation of running, and it is not unusual for a compressor to turn on/off up to 10 times per hour. Some models are geared with a different cooling set up and therefore make less noise, smaller units (98 litre and less) use 'cold plate' style cooling and fans like a domestic fridge. Larger units (especially full commercial) make use of copper condensers and heavy-duty fans to distribute cool air around the cabinet and get rid of the excess heat all for optimum performance.

    We are constantly looking for ways to lessen noise by considering the fans used, design and development of sound diversion techniques. We now have quiet fan 'upgrades' available for applications where noise is considered a factor, we have a range of special virtually 'silent' fans we have sourced that can be fitted to most of our models. As these fans don't move as much air volume it means that generally we only do this upgrade to units that will be indoors or outside fully enclosed areas.

    Our range of wine and beer models use 12V fans and are designed to reduce noise for domestic, office, and indoor applications whilst still delivering semi-commercial performance. You will still hear the fridges running, but nowhere near the noise levels of our full commercial units that are generally utilised in hotels, clubs, and pubs. Wherever tranquillity and performance is desired we recommend the use of fridges from the Schmick range.

    See our 'Noise Levels' flyer for more information.

    Q. How much will my bar fridge cost to run?

    One of the most asked questions is how much it is going to cost me. There are many variables such as, set temperature, ambient room temperature, and frequency of the door being opened. A glass door fridge will cost you more than most domestic solid door fridges.

    There are many ways to help save power with most of our fridges, from adjusting parameters on controller, to fitting a timer for periods of non-usage when on holidays. We have spent a lot of time and money looking at ways to lessen power consumption and we have implemented all of these with some new ideas to follow. The main things that help are:

    • LOW E Glass
    • LED Lighting
    • Smart controllers like USA CAREL and the Intelligenza range from Rhino saves over 35%)
    • Compressors that use 25% less energy and deliver better performance
    • EBM (German) fans with exceptionally low power requirements, 70% less than similar

     Q. What type of cooling mechanism does my fridge use?

    There are two types of fridges on the New Zealand market, compressor driven and 'Peltier' which is also known as Thermo Electric Cooling. Both cooling systems are completely different, and both have certain advantages over the other.

    Naturally, compressor cooling is more expensive as this is a proper refrigerated style that can be set to any temperature, and then hold at that temperature no matter what ambient temperature is. With the 'Peltier' style it works on what temperature the ambient is around the unit, and it has a maximum decrease of usually between 14 and 18°C from the room temperature depending on the setting. So, if ambient was 30°C and your unit was set on 12°C, the max might be 15 under ambient, so best it can do in 30°C is 15°C, and this goes up with each degree above 30°C.


    Did you know

    ...That a fridge works and chills much better when it is full of product. The reason is that the fridge must only chill about 25% of the air volume of what it would have to chill if the fridge was empty. When first starting a new fridge, it's best to load it up and let it run flat out for 24 hours. This effectively runs it in, and it will settle into its normal operation. All fridges should NOT BE TURNED ON for a minimum of two hours after relocation, transport, or moving. Oil in the compressor will be relocated to the walls of narrow ducts and needs to find its way back before operation. Failure to let a fridge "settle" can result in compressor failure and an expensive repair which is not covered under warranty.

    ...That all our units have the whole chilling system in-built within the fridge, fully portable. Whereas most pubs and clubs have previously ran fridges with giant remote compressors, running numerous units with one system. The problem is if these compressors fail it means that all the fridges at that venue are vulnerable, whereas with these units being self-contained it limits a problem to that single unit. It also makes placement so much easier with no piping that needs to be ran to the remote compressor.

    ...That a thermostat control in most commercial fridges has a variance of 5°C, this means that if you set unit to be 2°C, it will turn OFF at 2°C, but will need to get to 7°C before it starts up again. Now if you have an electronic display and see 7°C naturally you will panic, but it's perfectly normal as the temperature probe is measuring the air temperature, and not the temperature of your drinks. In a nutshell without being too scientific, the air temp may get to 9, but the drinks will only have raised 1-2°C from when fridge turned off, so they will only need a little tickle up to be back to 2°C.



    6 thoughts on “Frequently Asked Questions & Fridge Facts


    Frequently Asked Questions & Fridge Facts – Bar Fridges New Zealand

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