A Sydney-based store has been working overtime to deal with a serious sludge problem created by blocked condensate pumps.
The store had a problematic history of water leaks on the trading floor, a situation made worse because the business was located above a railway station.
This meant there was no drainage through the concrete slab underneath each refrigerated case like most regular stores.
To deal with the problem condensate pumps had to be installed under each of the refrigerated cases to discharge all the condensate water into common tundishes in the ceiling space. Each of the condensate pumps at the store regularly formed biofilms stemming from their respective refrigerated case.
This was most evident in the dairy section, but was also problematic in the produce, bakery and meat sections.
If the refrigerated case and subsequent condensate pump were not proactively cleaned, this biofilm evolved into thick sludge.
The sludge caused the condensate pumps to block, stop operating and resulted in water leaks. In some instances, the pumps failed completely requiring replacement. Over time the condensate discharge lines between the pumps and tundishes started blocking up, requiring replacement, incurring additional labour costs and downtime.
Store staff were frequently required to mop up water overflow on the shop floor to mitigate slip risks and unload stock from the bottom shelf of each leaking case to enable technician assessment.
For the 24 month period between 2016 and 2018 an average of 11 service/repair calls per month were logged at an average cost of $350.
Finally with support from Kirby, the store made the decision to trial Gel Clear tablets from Sauermann Australasia.
After only three months the store saw big improvements and by the end of the six month trial the Gel Clear product eliminated the majority of issues related to condensation pump failure and leaks. In fact, during the six month trial period, there was a 95% reduction in water leaks as a result of the installation of Gel Clear tablets.
Although this trial was conducted in a problematic store that was fitted with condensate pumps, the tablets are just as effective in reducing biofilms in stores with standard drainage systems not only in commercial refrigeration, but other applications as well.