8 tips to improve the efficiency of your cold storage

Cold storages are no different than your vehicle. When taking a long trip, most people check over their vehicle to make sure it is operating properly and any problems are addressed. The same goes for your cold storage. Most cold storages sit idle between seasons and are fired up just in advance of the storage season.  It is always a good idea to perform a regular inspection and complete needed maintenance to ensure your cold storage is structurally fit and operating properly.  Your cold storage contractor can assist with preparing an inspection and maintenance schedule. Here are a few simple items storage owners can complete on their own.

1. Examine the condition of your building. Start from the roof down looking for faulty roofing and openings caused by age, wind or animals. Eaves and roof vents should be unobstructed. Outside walls and foundations should be straight and look in new condition. 

2. Clear debris from your fan and condenser.  Your cooling equipment will usually have a condenser unit on the outside of the building which removes heat from the building using a fan blowing air through what looks like a vehicle radiator (condenser).  This fan and condensor need to be kept clear of debris and obstructions to ensure maximum air flow.  Restricted air flow will reduce cooling efficiency, decrease equipment life and drive up power consumption. 

3. Check doors for good gaskets that seal. Any broken or cracked seals should be replaced. Air infiltration is the second highest cooling load for a cold storage. 

4. Check ceilings and walls on the inside for discolouration or signs of mold or rot.  If any of these symptoms are present, they should be addressed.   Concrete floors should be dry and in new condition.  Floors with cracking and shifting may indicate a structural problem and a building contractor should be consulted. 

5. Examine and clean the evaporator coils.  Your cooling system will usually have evaporator coils which look like a vehicle radiator with a fan hanging from the ceiling. As with the outside component of the cooling system, the evaporator coils need to examined closely and be cleaned with no air flow restrictions.

6. Contact your refrigeration contractor for updates. Before starting up your cooling system and giving it a test run, it is a good idea to contact your refrigeration contractor for any special procedures to follow. 

7. Monitor the inside temperature.  Once your cooling system is operating, the inside temperature should be monitored and any changes from design temperatures or previous years should be noted.  Your refrigeration contractor should be consulted for possible cooling system issues. 

8. Prevent the spread of decay-causing organisms. Prior to using your cold storage, it is always a good idea to ensure proper sanitation to reduce the spread of decay-causing organisms. Take a look around for any safety issues or hazards waiting to happen. With increasing electricity rates, it may be beneficial to have your refrigeration contractor inspect your cooling system annually to ensure it is operating at peak efficiency.

For more information, pick up the following factsheets at your local OMAFRA office or online: Troubleshooting Cold Storage Problems (94-083) and Forced-Air Cooling Systems for Fresh Ontario Fruits and Vegetables (14-039).

John Warbick is an engineer with OMAFRA, horticulture crop systems, based at Vineland Station, Ontario. 

If latest news: 
Check if it is latest news (for "Latest News" page)
Publish date: 
Thursday, May 26, 2016
Home page latest news order: 

Click to leave a comment

For security purposes, please confirm you are not a robot!


The future of IPM: something old, something new

Dr. Mary Ruth McDonald has mentored dozens of students as professor of plant agriculture, University of Guelph. Equally at home in the field, she’s working with Master’s student Alexandra Dacey, documenting carrot weevil found in carrot trials at the Muck Crops Research Station in Bradford, Ontario. 

How to tell and sell the origin story

Seedless watermelon is only one of the specialties carried at Howe Family Farm Market near Aylmer, Ontario. Kevin Howe says ground cherries and canary melons also pique the interest of consumers. The on-farm market has been so successful that the family has opened another location south of London Ontario. 

Showing face in the midst of trade wars

Bill George Jr. and his son Will have tasted the promise of Icewine exports to China. With geopolitical tensions in 2019, the risks of diversifying into markets abroad have been amplified. It’s too early to know if the recent U.S-China deal will help or hinder.    

Soil fitness – just do it!

Fourth-generation grower Kyle Horlings is questioning the way things have always been done. Since 2015, he’s taken about 10 acres of carrots and onions out of production every year for restorative cover plantings. His experiments near King, Ontario garnered him the Healthy Soil Award from the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority in November. 

Frequent flyer earns bonus points for good taste

Oleen Smethurst is known for her quest for flavour. As assistant vice-president, general merchandise manager for produce, Costco Canada, she jets all over the world from Berlin to Bogotá, meeting with growers and seed suppliers. While touring southern Ontario in late August 2019, she visited Martin’s Family Fruit Farm near Waterloo, Ontario.